In early April, Kyrgyzstan briefly seized center stage in global newscasts as angry and bloodied crowds pushed President Bakiev out of office and into exile. Although it had taken power after the so-called Tulip Revolution in March 2005 under similar circumstances, the Bakiev regime managed to build a reputation of authoritarian habits and corruption in just a few years. It also tried to play off American and Russian interests in air bases, an effort that ultimately touched off the events of last month.
Why should we care about Kyrgyzstan-a small country known for being the "most insubordinate, rebellious and mutinous nation" in Central Asia? Are there reasons that transcend American policy interests?
The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) quarterly webinar series addressed these issues in its May 2010 webinar. Our distinguished panelists included:
DR. EUGENE HUSKEY, Professor of Political Science & Director of Russian Studies at Stetson University, is an expert on Russia and Central Asia. His publications have been primarily focused on the Russian executive branch, Soviet and post-Soviet law, and Kyrgyz politics.
DR. MORGAN LIU, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The Ohio State University, specializes in Islamic knowledge in central Eurasia. His current work focuses on ethnic Uzbeks in a Kyrgyzstan, the post-Soviet state and Islam. His next project, investigates links between post-Soviet Islamic piety and structural problems in society.
DR. ERIC MCGLINCHEY, Assistant Professor of Government & Politics at George Mason University, is an expert on comparative politics, Central Asian regime change, political Islam, and ICT. Dr. McGlinchey's April 9 NY Times op-ed served as the starting point for the webinar.
Dr. Alexandra Vacroux, Program Officer of the SSRC and affiliate of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars moderated this event.
This webinar series is made possible through generous funding provided by the Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Office of Outreach Title VIII Program for Research and Training on Eastern Europe and Eurasia (Independent States of the Former Soviet Union).