[Marxism] Kyrgyzstan and the others.

Suresh borhyaenid at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 4 09:39:12 MDT 2005

"How much better for imperialism if Yeltsin, Kuchma,
Shevarnadze, Akaev and others were still peacefully in
power with their pro-imperialist policies...

I think everyone in this marxism e-mail forum would
agree that there is no essential change in economic
policy and political alignment between Yeltsin and
Putin, Kuchma and Yushchenko, nor among those battling
for ministerial portfolios today in Kyrgyzstan. But to
state that is not the whole story... For us to argue
only about which latest face on  the posters is better
or worse than the others is somewhat to miss the main

- from Michael Costello

I largely agree with what you've said, but this seems
to be a contradiction. Either there has been a change
in the political trajectory (or simply in the pace of
said trajectory) in these countries following the new
velvet revolutions or there hasn't. But I must say
again, I find protests that the U.S. is being backed
into supporting new regimes in Central Asia or Eastern
Europe against it's will quite unconvincing. On the
contrary, the indications are that the U.S. is an
active agent demanding further change, as for example,
in Kyrgyzstan - a more thorough change of regime, not
simply a restabilization to a corrupt status quo. We
see this same process, of course, in the Middle East.
Far from being an opportunistic exercise in damage
control, this foreign policy doctrine can be related
to aspects of Luxemburg's theories of the expansion of
the sphere of capitalism, which I think retain some
cogency even in this era of globalized new economy.

I would go so far as to say that it's precisely
because of the political quiescence of the left in the
region, of the reformed communist parties, agrarian
parties, etc. and not simply *despite* it, that such
clean, bloodless revolts are sucessful at all. I'm not
sure this is cause for either celeration or mourning:

"A week ago in Bishkek, protesters stormed and looted
the halls of government, facing down the army and
sending the president into self- imposed exile. It
sounds as if Kyrgyzstan had a revolution.

Hold on, says Felix Kulov, "the revolution has not yet
started." Mr. Kulov is a political dissident who was
sprung from jail on the day that President Askar
Akayev fled the country, and his analysis is spot on.
The Kyrgyz people rose up against a corrupt government
in the wake of two fraudulent parliamentary elections.
Along with Ukraine and Georgia, this Central Asian
nation is earning its democratic stripes. But
Kyrgyzstan has not progressed as far as those two
velvet revolutions...

Lacking the oil wealth of neighboring Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan needs smart, market-based policies to
become prosperous. The Baltic countries -- also small,
also former Soviet republics -- have demonstrated that
the rule of law, market competition, a welcome mat for
foreign investment and free trade are the sine qua non
of economic growth.

Unlike Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Kyrgyzstan
doesn't have the European Union or NATO to guide it
through reforms with the eventual promise of
membership down the road. The U.S. can play an
important role. A good place to start would be
preferential trade terms, targeted financial aid that
is followed up to ensure it serves its intended
purposes, and experts on the ground to help build
democratic and free-market institutions."

- Wall Street Journal: Mar 31, 2005. 

And from the NY Times:

"A malaise is settling over this country as the
uprising a week ago begins to look less like a
democratically inspired revolution and more like a
garden-variety coup, with a handful of seasoned
politicians vying for the spoils of the ousted

Mamatkazy Kaparov, 26, a law student at Kyrgyzstan's
National University in Bishkek, helped found KelKel, a
student movement modeled on the Serbian Otpor youth
movement, which contributed to Slobodan Milosevic's
fall. The Kyrgyz students picked yellow as their color
and lemons as their symbol after a popular student
magazine. For them, this was meant to have been their
Lemon Revolution.

But their dream of a camera-ready peaceful revolution
was overtaken by events. Thugs attacked the crowds,
prompting rock-throwing demonstrators to turn on the
unarmed security forces guarding the capital's
presidential compound. The guards fled, the rock
throwers broke inside, and the president fled, all in
a matter of a few hours. Not even the students' yellow
had time to catch on: some protesters wore pink.

Now Mr. Kaparov and his associates, sidelined by the
professional politicians who quickly took over, seem
frustrated by the betrayal of their democratic ideals.

''We're working for the rule of law and a
constitutional foundation because people are too
unpredictable,'' he said, wearing a traditional white
felt hat and a yellow ribbon around his neck at
KelKel's headquarters...

Meanwhile, there are active pro-democracy movements in
several neighboring Central Asian states, but none has
the kind of charismatic leader that Georgia or Ukraine
needed to galvanize the public.

''The forces that create such uprisings can really
only be nurtured in states where there is some
political space,'' said Nadia M. Diuk, Eurasia
director at the National Endowment for Democracy in
Washington. Such space, she said, does exist in
Kyrgyzstan and, to some extent, in Kazakhstan, in
contrast to Turkmenistan."

- NY Times; April 3, 2005

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