Kyrgyzstan is a country located in Central Asia defined
by Digopaul. Protests against the authoritarian regime
turned bloody in April between bloody riots between
opposition protesters and riot police in the capital
Bishkek. Over 80 people were killed and many hundreds
injured. President Kurmanbek Bakijev fled to his home
districts in the south where he had strong support, and the
opposition took power in Bishkek. Former Foreign Minister
Roza Otunbajeva declared Parliament dissolved and headed a
newly formed government that promised new elections to the
presidential post and a new democratic constitution.
Kyrgyzstan has a population of 6.316 million (2018). In exchange for security guarantees for himself and his
family, Bakijev agreed to leave the country. In exile he
first declared that he resigned as president but then swore
to regain power. He accused the Russian federation of being
behind the uprising in Kyrgyzstan. Bakijev was later charged
with mass murder in his home country and requested
extradition from Belarus. The deposed defense minister was
arrested and charged with ordering firearms against unarmed
Continued violence followed the shift in power. Outside
Bishkek, Kyrgyz took over villages inhabited by ethnic
Russians and the Turkish people the meshkets, whose homes
were burned and looted. Obituaries were required. In the
south, government buildings were stormed by supporters of
the deposed Bakijev, which led to the shooting of the
The unrest in the south in May turned into ethnic
violence between Kyrgyz and the Uzbek, who feel
discriminated against. Many people were killed. An emergency
permit and a nightly curfew were issued, but the violence
was fueled by mafia circles that controlled drug smuggling
in the region. The violence worsened in June, when many
hundreds of people were killed in the city of Osh in the
poor Fergana Valley, and thousands were injured in riots,
assassinations and gunfire. The interim government, led by
Rosa Otunbajeva, ordered the security forces to shoot to
kill in order to stop the violence.
In a report this fall, the human rights organization
Human Rights Watch claimed that the military has facilitated
armed Kyrgyz gangs to attack and kill ethnic Uzbeks in the
cities of Osh and Dzjalal-Abad. The military must have torn
down barricades that people have set up to keep the violence
away from their housing areas.
The violence led to large streams of refugees. According
to the UN, hundreds of thousands of people escaped inland
and about 100,000 crossed the border into Uzbekistan before
it was closed. When the violence subsided, interim
government leader Roza Otunbajeva stated that the death toll
was probably around 2,000.
The deposed President Kurmanbek Bakijev was charged in
his absence for mass murder in the riots in Bishkek. Deputy
Prime Minister Danijar Usenov was also prosecuted, as was
Bakijev's brother, who was the head of the security service.
At the end of June, the authorities were able to conduct
a referendum on the proposal for a new constitution. More
than 90 percent of the voters approved the new law, but the
opposition believed that electoral fraud occurred. According
to the new constitution, Kyrgyzstan is supposed to be a
parliamentary democracy, where a part of the president's
power is transferred to the government. Ethnic or
religiously based parties are prohibited. In July, Roza
Otunbajeva was sworn in as interim president.
It was mainly the uz cup that was the victim of the
violence in June, but in September five uz cup were
sentenced to prison for their part in the violence. The
judgments were criticized by human rights organizations.
Defense attorneys stated that the convicted and their
relatives were subjected to violence.
Despite the violence that has transpired across the
country, Kyrgyzstan's and Central Asia's first democratic
parliamentary elections could be held in October under the
new Kyrgyz constitution. 29 parties participated, the
turnout was 57 percent and the OSCE described the election
as free. However, the election was recalculated following
protests from a party that ended up outside Parliament.
The result was a setback for the new leadership in the
country. The Socialist and Government-friendly Party of
Fosterlands (Ata-Meken) became the least of the five parties
that entered Parliament. The party received only 18 out of
120 seats. Deputy President Kurmanbek Bakijev's Nationalist
Party of the Fatherland (Ata-Zjurt) became the largest and
took 28 seats. The Fatherland has its constituents among
ethnic Kyrgyz in the south who find it difficult to accept
the Uzbek minority. Then followed the Social Democrats with
26 seats, the Moscow-friendly Party of Dignity (Ar-Namys) 25
seats and the Republican Party (Respublika) 23 seats.
Difficult coalition negotiations followed. The leaders of
the four largest parties traveled to Moscow to talk to the
leadership there about the formation of the government, a
sign of the Russian Federation's influence in Kyrgyzstan.
Social Democrat leader Almazbek Atambayev was commissioned
in November to form a government.
In December, he was approved in Parliament as prime
minister for a seemingly fragile tripartite coalition.
Atambayev's Social Democrats, who were involved in drafting
the new constitution, would try to co-operate with the
deposed Bakijev Party of the Fatherland and the likewise
Opposition Republican Party.