Revolution In Kyrgyzstan

Anti-government forces in the embattled former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan have seized control of the capital city of Bishkek this morning as President Askar Ayakev is rumored to have fled to a Russian military base. The protestors also released opposition leader and former Vice President Felix Kulov from jail.

The violence in Kyrgyzstan stems from the recent Parliamentary elections in which President Ayakev is widely believed to have manipulated the results in order to elect a Parliament that would amend the constitution to allow him to seek a third term. Several opposition candidated including Kulov had been jailed in a series of dubious charges.

The revolution was not bloodless, but fortunately the violence does not seem to be severe. Before abandoning Bishkek, Ayakev ordered the the military not use violence against the protestors, an act that undoubtedly prevented much bloodshed. It remains to be seen what will happen next in Kyrgyzstan, however the impetus is on the opposition to bring democratic rule to Kyrgyzstan. The former Soviet state lies nex to China and has both Russian and American military and commercial interests in its borders. Undoubtedly President Putin would prefer that Kyrgyzstan remains in Russia’s orbit rather than ingratiating itself to the West as Ukraine has. The OSCE has offered to mediate the situation and help with setting up new elections.

A revolution of this type can be a dangerous thing, but if the protesters do not replace one autocrat with another, there is the potential that Kyrgyzstan could following in the steps of Ukraine in becoming a more democratic, prosperous, and free nation.

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