After his election as Kyrgyzstan’s president in October 2017, Sooronbai Jeenbekov inherited an economically uncertain state, which has failed to address more than twenty years of misrule despite emerging from two episodes of upheaval. Central Asia’s only nominal parliamentary democracy, Kyrgyzstan is divided along ethnic and regional lines, deeply corrupt and facing religious radicalisation in absence of a strong state. Crisis Group monitors ethnic and political tensions as well as wider regional relations.

CrisisWatch Kyrgyzstan

Unchanged Situation

Activists detained for protesting border delimitation agreement with Uzbekistan went on hunger strike; U.S. and EU raised concerns with govt about circumvention of sanctions on Russia.

Jailed activists launched hunger strike. Six activists detained late Oct for protesting border demarcation agreement that handed Kempir-Abad water reservoir to Uzbekistan 22 Aug launched hunger strike amid ongoing court hearings.

Western powers urged govt to tackle efforts to circumvent sanctions. U.S. Senator and Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez 8 Aug sent letter to President Japarov condemning govt’s “complicit facilitation of trade with Russia in products that implicate sanctions” and urging it to “establish more reliable processes to prevent the illicit flow of goods” to Russia. Delegation from EU’s Foreign Affairs Committee 21-25 Aug visited Kyrgyzstan as well as Kazakhstan, where “issues of the circumvention of sanctions featured prominently” during exchanges with politicians and other stakeholders. Following visit, EU Foreign Affairs Committee Chair David McAllister said “allowing sanction circumvention feeds the Russian war machine” and praised govt’s “readiness… to work with the EU on this issue”.

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