War & Peace
War & Peace
Feb 16, 2021
S2 Episode 12: Police, Protests & Populism in Central Asia
Play • 24 min

Central Asia is no exception to the protests that have emerged with renewed vigour on a global scale, a phenomenon made more visible against the backdrop of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Although the grievances driving them are context-specific, deep socio-political divisions and populist leaders are recurring themes, says Dr. Erica Marat. A professor at the U.S. National Defense University and a post-Soviet security expert, she joins Olga and Hugh to discuss what connections can be drawn between collective action and protest-policing dynamics spanning the U.S., Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. 

Central Asian regimes bear the legacy of the Soviet era, and yet even the most autocratic among them are in constant adaptation, borrowing tactics from around the world to survive. Protest movements are evolving in the same way. Erica shares her findings of these trends, explaining the rise of ‘uncivil’ society, who the so-called “Kyrgyz Trump” is, and why Kazakhstan is a repatriation model for ISIS-affiliated citizens. 

For more information:

Explore Crisis Group’s regional analysis on our Central Asia page 

Erica Marat, The Politics of Police Reform: Society against the State in Post-Soviet Countries, Oxford University Press

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