Discussants examine the challenges of conflict prevention in five Central Asian countries since their independence. A profound transformation of the political, economic, and social landscape of Eurasia has taken place, but challenges like poverty, HIV , drug trafficking, and deterioration of health care and education systems remain serious problems.
A discussion meeting with H.E. Askar Aitmatov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The challenge of building democratic societies in Central Asia is becoming more profound with each passing year, and unfortunately there are no easy answers to the question of how to alter this situation.
A discussion with Chinara Jakypova, Project Director of the Bishkek office of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, on political, economic, and social tendencies in Kyrgyzstan.
US policymakers should be proud of US-sponsored programs which broaden the range of participation for even limited numbers of people. But those of us engaged with Central Asia should not delude ourselves into believing that through "soft needling" we will get the ruling elites in these countries to modify the core practices at the heart of their regimes.
Ever since the Soviet Union collapsed, the independent states that emerged from the wreckage have tried to sort out their trade relations. But the flow of goods between countries continues to contract even more than it should. What is needed is free trade.
The foucs of economic policy in the Kyrgyz Republic should be economic growth. The main tasks should be to expand exports, primarily by opening up the Kazakh market, and stimulating supply through further reforms in governance and taxation.
Marat Tazabekov, a journalist and publisher of the Kyrgyz news service AKI press, discusses political and economic reform in Kyrgyzstan.
The Kyrgyz opposition desires the resignation of the Akaev regime. After crackdowns, blatant restrictions of media freedoms, and a growing possibility of civil war, one would expect the United States to rush to the aid of Kyrgyzstan. Rather, it seems that the U.S. involvement in the country looks to do nothing more than preserve the status quo.
The five states of Central Asia raise fundamental questions about the process of democratization in post-Soviet states and in the Muslim world more generally. In light of recent developments, the expectation of remaining as part of the region's Soviet heritage must now be incorporated with both nationalist and Islamic agendas that exist in Central Asia in order for democracy to have a chance.