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Away From Kyrgyzstan’s Campaign Trail: Chinese Influence

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

The Qishloq went Ayl in Kyrgyzstan recently: three weeks, some 3,000 kilometers by road through all seven of Kyrgyzstan’s provinces.
 
As you would have noticed from my postings during that time, the purpose was to observe the campaign ahead of parliamentary elections and to gauge the electorate’s attitude toward those elections.
 
During all of this, I noticed other things about Kyrgyzstan -- how it has changed and is changing.
 
One of the most pleasant surprises for me was the condition of the roads. The first time I was in Kyrgyzstan was in 1992; there was an airport in Bishkek and one in Osh. Anywhere else I needed to go, I needed to reach by vehicle, so I became familiar with bumpy rides sometimes harrowingly near precipitous drops down the mountainside.
 
Once, in 1996, I kept track of how much of the approximately 650-kilometer drive from Bishkek to Osh was over asphalt road. More than 400 kilometers was unpaved and I remember all too well driving 25 kilometers an hour, weaving from side to side to avoid potholes in the dirt track. The road from Osh to Batken was in even worse shape.
 

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Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Away From Kyrgyzstan’s Campaign Trail: Chinese Influence

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