Kyrgyzstan’s Latest Revolution

Issue Date July 2011
Volume 22
Issue 3
Page Numbers 150-164
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In April 2010, Kyrgyzstan experienced another “revolution,” the latest of the postcommunist “color revolutions.” The authoritarian regime fell and transitional leaders began a new democratic transition. The 2010 events illustrate the importance of agency and strategic learning in causing authoritarian collapse and initiating democratization. Prodemocratic activists and party leaders, who had learned from both the successes and failures of the 2005 “Tulip Revolution,” mobilized popular discontent to topple President Bakiev’s regime. They ushered in a democratic constitution and widespread liberalization and held Kyrgyzstan’s freest-ever elections. However, political violence, especially politically motivated ethnic conflict, corruption, and calls for superpresidentialism threaten democratic deepening.