Kyrgyzstan’s Presidential Elections: What Next?

Friday, January 8, 2021 - 9:30am to 10:30am

After tumultuous elections and the ousting of former President Jeenbekov in October 2020, Kyrgyzstan is holding early presidential elections and a referendum on constitutional reform on January 10, 2021. Leading the push for the early elections and referendum is Sadyr Japarov, a convicted criminal who quickly rose to the height of Kyrgyz power ranks in the political fallout of the fall. Often praised as Central Asia’s only democracy, what will the upcoming election mean for Kyrgyzstan, so long plagued by a fractured political system, high levels of corruption, and a governance system that all too often leaves the concerns of average citizens behind? Given many Kyrgyz citizens question the legitimacy of the upcoming vote, how will society react?  Please join us for four perspectives on the election, referendum, and path forward for Kyrgyzstan.  

Ambassador Bakyt Beshimov is a faculty member in the Global Studies and International Relations program and professor of the Practice at Northeastern University. Dr. Beshimov served as ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka. He was the representative of the Kyrgyzstan Parliament in the Organization for Security and Economic Cooperation in Europe.

Dr. Asel Dooletkeldieva is an associate research fellow at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. Her research examines social mobilization, religiosity and gender, democratization and institution-building, rent-seeking from natural resources, and migration in Kyrgyzstan. She holds a PhD from the University of Exeter.

Akylai Karimova is an activist with over 10 years of professional experience in peace building and development programs in Kyrgyzstan. Currently based in Osh, she works for the Center for Support of International Protection and T-Media, a local media outlet.

Kubat Kasymbekov is a journalist for RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service. Prior to joining RFE/RL, he worked for the Kyrgyz Service of the BBC in London. He joined the Prague headquarters of RFE/RL in 2016, where he currently works as a newscaster, TV/Radio host, and video producer.

Paul Stronski
is a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program, where his research focuses on the relationship between Russia and neighboring countries in Central Asia and the South Caucasus.


Bakyt Beshimov, Professor of the Practice, Global Studies and International Relations, Northeastern University
Asel Dooletkeldieva, Associate Research Fellow, OSCE Academy, Bishkek
Akylai Karimova, Activist, Center for Support of International Protection and T-Media
Kubat Kasymbekov, Journalist, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service
Paul Stronski, Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

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