Marat: Expect discontent to materialize when Japarov—the Kyrgyz version of Trump—struggles to deliver on his grand promises

PONARS Eurasia
13 Jan 2021

(Washington Post) Three months after protesters in Kyrgyzstan stormed its main government building, the country's third uprising in 15 years, a convicted kidnapper solidified his grip on power there late Sunday, easily winning a snap presidential election. But he faces a raft of challenges.

Populist Sadyr Japarov, 52, secured nearly 80 percent of the vote, according to Kyrgyzstan’s election commission. He had been serving a long prison sentence for kidnapping a provincial governor, a charge he says was politically motivated, but supporters broke him out in October. Within days, he filled the power vacuum precipitated by the violent protests, serving as interim president before running for the post full time. [...]

“Unfortunately, I predict more turmoil in Kyrgyzstan,” said Erica Marat, an associate professor at the National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs in Washington. [...]

Marat, of the National Defense University, described Japarov as the Kyrgyz version of President Trump, noting his populist stance and the personality cult that has developed around him.

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