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

Lawmakers adopted contentious foreign agent’s law amid widespread concern about threat to civil society; Tajik-Kyrgyz border talks continued to progress.

Parliament adopted controversial “foreign representatives” legislation. Lawmakers 14 March voted in favour of controversial “foreign agents” draft law in its third and final reading. Move sparked condemnation; in joint letter to President Japarov, over 30 domestic and foreign civil society organisations 20 March warned proposed amendments risk dealing “devastating blow” to Kyrgyzstan’s “vibrant civil society” and could endanger “international development and economic assistance programmes”. Meanwhile, court in capital Bishkek 12 March placed eight of eleven reporters from Temirov Line media outlet, detained in Jan for allegedly calling for “mass riots”, in pre-trial detention until 13 May; court ordered transfer of three others to house arrest.

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan agreed on over 10km of border. Kyrgyz-Tajik talks on border delimitation and demarcation 12-17 March took place in Tajikistan’s Sughd region. Kyrgyz officials 17 March announced sides had agreed on just under 11km of border and signed protocols; parties agreed to hold next meeting in Kyrgyzstan.

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