The U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan says that the Central Asian state's "growing partnership with Russia" presents a challenge to U.S. efforts to support democracy in Kyrgyzstan.
In an article published on the website of the Council of American Ambassadors, Pamela Spratlen said the "strong partnership" that Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has forged with Russian President Vladimir Putin "has had its impact on our efforts."
"It remains an unanswered question how Kyrgyzstan can maintain its democratic trajectory while pursuing this partnership," she said.
Spratlen also said that many in Kyrgyzstan get their news from Russian media, and that in the case of the Ukraine crisis "the strident anti-American tone taken by Russian propaganda has crystallized local public opinion around Moscow's narrative of events there."
Kyrgyzstan has seemed to follow Moscow's lead on several issues recently, including drafting laws that legitimize discrimination against homosexuals and would require foreign-based organizations to register as "foreign agents."