Bringing Down the Family
Author: Muzaffar Suleymanov
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on 04/14/2005
ARTICLE AVAILABLE IN PDF HERE
As I was about to write the second part of the article on the implications of the Ukrainian orange revolution on Central Asia, anti-government protests started to unfold in Kyrgyzstan.
Dissatisfied with the parliamentary elections results, unhappy with the way the two rounds of elections were conducted, and trying to prevent the continuing downfall of the state into authoritarianism, members of the Kyrgyz opposition started a wave of public protests. Although they were small in the aftermath of the February 27 round of elections, in less than a month the protests had grown into massive rallies involving thousands of people. Covering Kyrgyz events, international media outlets have been reporting on protesters seizing key government buildings, demobilizing police, taking down President Akaev s portraits from the streets, and establishing popular rule in the biggest cities of the Kyrgyz south. Although the government made an attempt to recapture its offices, this has failed, and opposition leaders were reportedly claiming their control expanded not only to the southern but also in the northern regions. From my personal contacts, I learn that smaller scale
protests had been taking place in the capital and that the opposition youth movements had been distributing leaflets covering events in the south. Amidst the informational war waged by the Kyrgyz government and pro-governmental mass media, which hardly covered the protests and their scale,
leaflets became the only source of information.
All this had been taking place prior to March 24, 2005 the day when masses of protestors stormed and took over President Akaev s office, ousting him and his regime from power. Although what followed next looting, pillaging, and arson does not quite follow either Georgian or Ukrainian scenarios, the link between current and preceding events nevertheless exists. The fact that opposition leaders have been heavily relying on the protesting masses and trying to immobilize the government in the outlying regions shows that Kyrgyz opposition had been learning lessons from the two preceding revolutions. Hence, there is no need to argue on the effects of Georgian and Ukrainian events on other states run by authoritarian leaders. Rather, one should realize that these similar revolutions are no coincidence and they have shown time and again that authoritarian regimes collapse under popular pressure like dominoes. Although in the case of Kyrgyzstan the opposition did not expect the events to unfold the way they did, the general ousting scenario has seen success in all three cases and has certain implications. In the paragraphs to follow I will summarize how the events unfolded and present my opinion on their implication for Central Asia.
 Finn, Peter, Kyrgyz Protesters Seize Sites in South, Washington Post Foreign Service, (March 22, 2005) also available on-line at www.washingtonpost.com (accessed on March 23, 2005); see also Eurasia Insight, Revolutionary Momentum Builds in Southern Kyrgyzstan, also available on-line at www.eurasianet.org (accessed on March 23, 2005)
radio stations, hacker attacks on oppositional media outlets, etc. This has been accompanied by the fierce attack against representatives of opposition in the
 Peuch, Jean-Christophe, Kyrgyzstan: Eyewitness To The Revolution, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, available on-lien at www.rferl.org (accessed on March 25, 2005); see also AkiPress news agency, Nyneshnyaya Vlast Priznala, Chto 24 Marta Sluchaino Zakhvatila Doma Pravitelstva, March 26, 2005 report available on-line at http://www.akipress.kg/_ru_news.php?id=18242&AKI=2f0a76d2de6442c53ea310e6308847da
Bio: Muzaffar Suleymanov is a graduate student at the University for Peace, studying International Peace Studies. He is from Uzbekistan.