This week, protests in Belarus and Armenia-Azerbaijan war over Nagorno-Karabakh were added by a new “point of unrest” in the CIS space – Kyrgyzstan, where another coup d’état is in full swing. Apparently, imbalance inside the entire region will grow, and Moldova is next in line
Kyrgyz opposition representatives, dissatisfied with the results of this weekends’ parliamentary elections, decided to demonstrate disagreement and achieve their own goals using the mechanism traditional for this Central Asian country – a militarized protest. Protesters broke into the parliament and presidency building, resorting to Molotov cocktails and other street fighting means against the law enforcement agencies and, as a result, demanded re-elections. At the same time, Kyrgyzstan’s former President Almazbek Atambayev and one of the opposition leaders Sadyr Japarov, already appointed Prime Minister of the country, were released by force.
The ruling authorities in Bishkek quickly backed down, and the country’s CEC invalidated the voting results. At first glance, such a defeatist tactic seems inappropriate – yet, given the extraordinary violence of the Kyrgyz protests, it can save hundreds of human lives. At the same time, the inability of the current president Sooronbai Jeenbekov to stay at the helm, despite the formally confirmed parliamentary majority and his associates’ loyalty, speaks of the system’s instability and crisis state. The opposition in Kyrgyzstan has enormous resources: power, financial, information, and a full-fledged consolidation of power is extremely difficult due to the overall backwardness of the territory. With this configuration, regime undermining turns into a completely feasible task, especially given the external interference.
Throughout many years Bishkek has diligently relied on external support to guarantee the minimal progressive development and legitimacy of the political elite. Thus, Kyrgyzstan’s previous president, Almazbek Atambayev, demonstratively bowed to the Kremlin, which couldn’t save him from being taken into custody in August 2019. Askar Akayev’s close alliance with Vladimir Putin in no way prevented the 2005 Tulip Revolution, yet the 2010 protests were openly backed by the Russian leadership, which was one of the first to recognize the “government of people’s trust” led by Roza Otunbayeva.
It should be recalled that Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, i.e. it is in the closest orbit of Moscow’s influence. So far, Kyrgyzstan has become the third CSTO and EAEU state to witness violence outbreak on its territory (and nearby) over the past three months.
The Republic of Belarus was the first to suffer a wave of protests amid oppositionist allegations of vote-rigging in latest presidential elections. Though the protest movement has transformed into a protracted confrontation between the people and the de facto government, the existing contradictions are far from over and feature significant external involvement. Vladimir Putin openly supported Alexander Lukashenko, who seeks to demoralize, marginalize or simply “lock up” the opposition and the most radical representatives of the popular masses.
In turn, the leaders of a number of EU states – Germany, France, Lithuania and Poland – expressed solidarity with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, promising to organize fair re-elections in Belarus and release all political prisoners. Earlier this month, the European Union adopted a package of personal sanctions against republic’s authorities (Lukashenko himself is not on the list) and officials responsible for human rights violations.
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory raises particular concern. The intervention of Turkish proxies and military instructors has been confirmed by all OSCE Minsk Group states: the United States, France and Russia. Reconnaissance activities by Turkish aviation in Turkish airspace on the border with Armenia also help coordinate and direct the offensive operations of the Azerbaijani armed forces. At this stage, lethal weapons are used against civilians, including in large settlements. Ankara openly declares its intentions to join the negotiations on the Karabakh settlement and, in general, to more actively influence policy in the Mediterranean, Transcaucasia and Asia Minor.
The prospects for the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh today are extremely depressing. The statements made by the participants and the military losses (as well as civilian casualties) make the path to peace agreements as difficult as possible. At the same time, the likelihood of full-scale involvement of external actors (Turkey and Russia) in the war, including accidental or deliberate clashes between them, is constantly growing. The international community is at a loss and cannot bring Baku and Yerevan to the negotiating table with external mediation.
Despite the different genesis, the situation in the post-Soviet space is heated up on all fronts. The dynamics may differ, but the general reasons are always the same – weakness, instability of the system in the states, and active external influence, both with the aim of provoking a crisis and its subsequent settlement.
If we recall the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia on October 31, with two unresolved ethno-territorial conflicts smoldering on its territory, a true fear for the future of the regional space appears. Moreover, the parliamentary campaign in Georgia does not bode well, especially if Mikheil Saakashvili delivers his threats and tries to return to the country.
Unfortunately, Moldova will hardly be able to have a better scenario than other states of the former USSR. November will witness the country’s most important elections and especially fateful post-election period. There are practically no hopes that the current configuration will be preserved or the transit of power will take place without conflict. The political, economic and social preconditions for the revolutionary situation have been ripening throughout the year, and the polarization degree of the Moldovan society is constantly aggravating and is close to peak values. Moreover, the opposition forces are already actively preparing the ground for non-recognition of the election results and mass protests (if the “wrong” ones win), speaking about the planned falsifications at the upcoming voting.
Thus, the CIS space is entering a phase of long-term turbulence, which is unlikely to end with the Georgian, Moldovan or even American elections.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.