Kyrgyzstan was long considered the only “island of democracy” in Central Asia, yet its future has become increasingly uncertain. The current leadership came to power with a promise of less, not more democracy. This unconventional message secured their victory in elections at the cost of international approval. Over recent years, the ruling regime has become bolder in silencing critics, both activists and politicians. Is Kyrgyzstan on the brink of transforming into a Central Asian autocracy, or are we witnessing another cycle of shifting dynamics in Kyrgyz politics? Furthermore, how are regional events, such as the conflict in Ukraine and the rise of China, impacting Kyrgyzstan's domestic and regional politics? The talk will build on these questions to discuss key factors shaping Kyrgyzstan's domestic politics and external relations today.
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