After his election as Kyrgyzstan’s president in October 2017, Sooronbai Jeenbekov inherited an economically uncertain state, which has failed to address more than twenty years of misrule despite emerging from two episodes of upheaval. Central Asia’s only nominal parliamentary democracy, Kyrgyzstan is divided along ethnic and regional lines, deeply corrupt and facing religious radicalisation in absence of a strong state. Crisis Group monitors ethnic and political tensions as well as wider regional relations.

CrisisWatch Kyrgyzstan

Unchanged Situation

Human rights group warned draft law on “foreign representatives” threatened civic space; EU and Central Asian leaders sought to strengthen regional cooperation.

Draft law on “foreign representatives” raised concerns. NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) 9 June called on parliament to reject “highly repressive draft law”, which would require organisations to register as “foreign representatives” if they receive funding from abroad and engage in political activity. Noting similarities to Russia’s controversial 2012 “foreign agents” law, HRW warned law “could have a chilling effect on the country’s civil society”.

High-level EU-Central Asia meeting took place in Kyrgyzstan. Following China-Central Asia summit late May, European Council President Charles Michel 2 June gathered with Kazakh, Kyrgz, Tajik and Uzbek leaders, alongside representative from Turkmenistan, in Kyrgz town of Cholpon-Ata for high-level meeting. In joint press communiqué, leaders reaffirmed importance of deepening ties and used opportunity to express “continued commitment to uphold the UN Charter, particularly the principles of respect for the independence, sovereignty [and] territorial integrity of all countries”; they also discussed climate change, emphasising need to continue dialogue on “open water-energy cooperation in Central Asia”.

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