Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Kyrgyzstan Shockwaves

The democracy movement in Kyrgyzstan heralds a second break-up of the Soviet Union, according to one expert quoted in the Christian Science Monitor article linked in the title to this post. Why? Because now the former Soviet republics that have been saddled with Kremlin-backed rulers for the past 14 years are following the trend started in Georgia and Ukraine.

Two Russian ethnic republics, Ingushetia and Bashkortostan, have seen mass street demonstrations this week directed against Kremlin-installed leaders. Even in remote Mongolia, the former USSR's Asian satellite, hundreds of protesters gathered last week to "congratulate our Kyrgyz brothers" and demand a rerun of last June's disputed parliamentary polls.

Some experts see a common thread among these upheavals that began 17 months ago when Georgians overthrew Eduard Shevardnadze in a peaceful revolt and continued with Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" late last year.

"Every situation is different, but a single process is unfolding," says Valentin Bogatyrov, a former Akayev adviser and director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in Bishkek. "Kyrgyzstan is a kind of trigger that will spread this unrest to our neighbors, and beyond. We are witnessing the second breakup of the Soviet Union."

Better yet, more revolutions may be in store:

Allegedly fraudulent elections sparked the uprisings in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. Among the post-Soviet states that face elections in the next two years are Azerbaijan later this year, plus Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan in 2006. Common features of the regimes potentially under siege include systemic corruption, nepotism, and political appointments based on personal fealty rather than professionalism.

HT: Instapundit.

Apologies to all Kyrgyz for mis-spelling Kyrgyzstan (without "z") previously.

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