Kyrgyzstan 2015: a country adrift?

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In August 2015 Kyrgyzstan completed the accession process to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Bishkek now firmly gravitates in Russia’s orbit. In October parliamentary elections returned a six-party national assembly, where the president, Almazbek Atambayev, could count on a strong pro-presidential power base, consisting of the «president’s party», the Social-Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), and the new «Kyrgyzstan» party. Suggesting that Kyrgyzstan is a country adrift might appear counter-intuitive. However, the impression resulting by an in-depth analysis is that the Central Asian country’s political system and society are presently floating, without trajectory or leadership. In fact, the government has been unable to resolve the never-ending controversy over the Kumtor gold mine. The authorities are also showing signs of preoccupation due to the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS). This being the situation, the chapter reviews two economic issues that largely shaped political and social developments in 2015: the first is the accession to the Eurasian Union and the effects that the economic crisis in Russia had on the Kyrgyz economy. The second is the turbulence surrounding Kumtor. Next, the chapter analyzes the results and effects of the October parliamentary elections. The remainder of the chapter focuses on some controversial legislative initiatives and concludes by discussing the threat posed by the IS to Kyrgyzstan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-481
JournalAsia Maior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Transition
  • Elections
  • Eurasian Union
  • Political instability


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