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D. II.2.g. Kyrgyzstan 2005

The protests in March 2005 (the ‘Tulip Revolution’) were (as in Georgia) at least partially a response to rigged parliamentary elections. But the demonstrations, which erupted in the southern city of Osh before spreading to capital Bishek, also appeared to be a protest against presidential nepotism and economic hardship. The protesters were more violent than in Georgia and the Ukraine, looting and rioting as they attacked the presidential and parliamentary buildings. Some observers have queried how far the uprising was spontaneous or was organized by opposition leaders seeking power. The immediate outcome was that President Akayev fled to Russia and an opposition leader, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, became interim president and prime minister, but agreed to work with the newly elected parliament. He won a landslide victory in the presidential election in July 2005, in an election approved by OSCE monitors. In Spring 2006 there were protests demanding further reforms and in early November 2006 mass demonstrations called on the President to sign a new constitution limiting his power. He did so, but tension between pro- and anti-government demonstrators indicated continuing instability.

President Bakiyev was faced by another unarmed uprising in April 2010, sparked by economic hardship and anger at presidential corruption. Like his predecessor he fled the country as protests turned into rioting, but has been accused by the new government (and UN observers) of fomenting serious ethnic violence against Uzbeks in the south (2,000 were killed).

Fuhrmann, Matthew, A Tale of Two Social Capitals: Revolutionary Collective Action in Kyrgyzstan, Problems of Post-Communism, Vol. 53, issue 6, 2007, pp. 16-29

Kulikova, Svetlana V. ; Perlmutter, David D., Blogging Down the Dictator? The Kyrgyz Revolution and Samizdat Websites, International Communication Gazette, Vol. 69, issue February, 2007, pp. 29-50

Marat, Erica, The Tulip Revolution: Kyrgyzstan One Year After, Washington DC, The Jamestown Foundation, 2006, pp. 151

Chronological collection of articles from Jamestown’s Eurasia Daily Monitor.

Radnitz, Scott, What really happened in Kyrgyzstan?, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 17, issue April, 2006, pp. 132-146

Stresses that the ‘Tulip Revolution’ was very different from other ‘colour revolutions’ and notes the importance of localism. See also: Radnitz, Scott , A Horse of a Different Color: Revolution and Regression’ in Bunce In Bunce; McFaul; Stoner-Weiss, Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World (D. II.1. Comparative Assessments)New York, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 300-324 , arguing that the events of 2005 better seen as a ‘coup’.

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