Archive for the 'Central Asia' Category

17
Feb
11

Musing on Geography

Glancing through the statistics for Guns, Germs, and Blogs, I noticed something strange. We got a visitor from St. Petersburg, Russia (здравствуйте!) recently, and this locational information was included in the logs:

Location
Continent : Asia
Country : Russian Federation
State/Region : Saint Petersburg City
City : Saint Petersburg
Lat/Long : 59.8944, 30.2642

What struck me was the entry on the “continent” line: Asia.

Continue reading ‘Musing on Geography’

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07
Apr
10

Revolution in Kyrgyzstan? [updated 04/08]

Lots of reports today of a possible overthrow of the government of Kurmanbek Bakiyev in Kyrgyzstan, though details are still somewhat sketchy:

Tensions have been growing in the mountainous impoverished country of 5 million people over what activists say are the repressive policies of President Bakiyev.

Mr. Bakiyev first took office in 2005 after a similar opposition uprising called the Tulip Revolution.  But since then, he has consolidated power, cracking down on the opposition and independent media.

The latest violence started Tuesday in the northwest town of Talas, when opposition members stormed provincial government offices.

Neweurasia has pictures. Panic has erupted at the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border.

While the Bakiyev regime is one that few people will probably miss — its human rights record and democratic credentials leave something to be desired — I would say that it is prudent to adopt a “wait and see” attitude to whoever it is who ends up replacing him (if anyone… it’s still far from clear that Bakiyev is totally down for the count).

The post-Soviet world is notorious for replacing bad leaders with more bad leaders, and the memory of the now collapsed “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine should serve as ample enough proof that even legitimate, democratically elected leaders promising progress and reform all too often fall into the trap of corruption and end up following through on few, if any, of their promises.

My intuition tells me that this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing of Kyrgyzstan in the near future, and I’m reasonably certain that what we do hear won’t be particularly heartening.

[update]

Watch some dramatic footage of what’s happening in Kyrgyzstan here. These aren’t just run-of-the-mill protests. This is big.

Rolling updates below the fold.

Continue reading ‘Revolution in Kyrgyzstan? [updated 04/08]’