the remote and mountainous Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan has long been viewed as something of an outlier. Unlike its expansive northern neighbor, Kazakhstan, it has no hydrocarbon wealth. But Kyrgyzstan has something that is fairly precious and rare in the developing world: a well-educated population that values democracy and freedom.
Lately, however, a shadow has fallen over Kyrgyzstan. Last month a prominent political leader, Medet Sadyrkulov, was found dead following a car crash that burned his body beyond recognition. Sadyrkulov was previously the chief of staff to President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who took power with great fanfare in the 2005 Tulip Revolution. But he, like a number of other reformers attached to Bakiyev’s government, had left it and appeared to be sounding an alarm — charging that Bakiyev was intent on turning the country into a dictatorship. In the post-Soviet space, suspicious dead-of-night car accidents are a popular method of assassination. And in Kyrgyzstan today, it’s difficult to find a political figure who isn’t convinced that Sadyrkulov was murdered.
Excerpt reproduced with permission from Foreign Policy, www.foreignpolicy.com. Copyright 2009 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive LLC. Read the full article at[http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4810]