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Not the Tulip Revolution All Over Again

Some observers are drawing strong parallels with the current instability in Kyrgyzstan and the "Tulip Revolution" of March 2005. While there are definitely some similarities, there are also some substantial differences.

Similar to the Tulip Revolution, the current round of protests stems from the increased authoritarianism of the incumbent regime and regional exclusion. As was the case with the regime of former President Askar Akaev, the rule of his successor, Kurmanbek Bakiev, has sidelined important elites and their constituents. Growing corruption, nepotism, and consolidation of economic and political power in the hands of a small circle of people alienated not only powerful elites but also broader segments of Kyrgyz society. Similar to the Tulip Revolution, what we see now is the pervasive weakness of the state's security apparatus to restore order and restrain protesters. We see reports of police officers being beaten or changing sides. We also see reports that suggest that dual-power scenarios are emerging in some parts of the country, where crowds of protesters are appointing governors and regional administrators.

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Alisher Khamidov is a consultant and analyst in Washington, D.C., specializing in Central Asian affairs. He can be reached at akhamido@hotmail.com.

Not the Tulip Revolution All Over Again

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