The Coup in Kyrgyzstan: Why It Matters

Listen / Download

Angry protestors claiming government corruption and election fraud have forced the president of Kyrgyzstan to flee the country. As looters case city streets, officials are busy securing the capital.

It is the third time in 18 months that there has been a coup in a former Soviet Republic. This time it is in a small, mountainous country reeling from a lifeless economy and an increasingly autocratic government where it was once considered the most democratic among the former Republics.

Yesterday, the protests spread quickly in the capital Bishkek where thousands of people brandishing wooden sticks and hurling stones seized the Presidential Palace. Officials in Washington and Moscow are keeping a close eye on the situation — both have strategic military bases in the country. The uprising in Kyrgyzstan and what the latest political protests mean there, and here.


John Schoeberlein, Director of the Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus at Harvard University

Martha Brill Olcott, Senior Associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Ivan Watson, NPR reporter in Bishkek