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Qishloq Ovozi

Sunday 8 September 2019

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Askar Akaev left Kyrgyzstan in 2005.

There has been talk lately that Kyrgyzstan’s first president, Askar Akaev, is looking to return to Kyrgyzstan. He has not been back there since April 2005 when he was ousted from power in Kyrgyzstan’s first revolution. Akaev has been living in Russia ever since.

Could Akaev, now 75 and facing multiple charges in Kyrgyzstan, really return? What would he have to do to make coming home palatable to the people of Kyrgyzstan? Or is that impossible?

RFE/RL's Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderated the discussion on Akaev’s possible return.

Joining the discussion from Washington was former Kyrgyz Ambassador to the United States and longtime independent journalist Zamira Sydykova. From Northeastern University in Boston, Bakyt Beshimov, a former Kyrgyz ambassador to the OSCE and a former deputy in the country’s parliament, took part in the discussion. And I had a few comments of my own.

Majlis Podcast: Could Kyrgyzstan’s First President Return Home?
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Activists from Oyan Qazaqstan (Wake Up Kazakhstan) marched in Almaty on August 30.

Members of the Oyan Qazaqstan (Wake Up Kazakhstan) movement and others rallied in Almaty, Nursultan, and Shymkent on August 30, Kazakhstan’s Constitution Day. They called for changes in Kazakhstan, particularly constitutional reforms.

There have been a number of small demonstrations, often involving only one person, in Kazakhstan since former President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who led Kazakhstan since independence, announced he was resigning at the end of March. And it is mostly young people who are organizing and participating in these public actions.

RFE/RL's Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderated a discussion on these demonstrations, the youth groups that are playing such a central role in them, and where this could be going.

Our guests were all from Kazakhstan. From the Oyan Qazaqstan movement, we had Assem Zhapisheva. From the Qaharman human rights initiative, Aliya Izbassarova joined the discussion. And the founder and head of the media outlet The Village, Asiana Ashim, also took part. I had some comments, but also some questions for our Majlis guests.

Majlis Podcast: Will Kazakhstan's Youth Wake The Country Up?
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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Majlis Podcast: Turkmenistan Singled Out Over Enforced Disappearances
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