Reading List: The Political-Criminal Nexus in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan
New additions to the stack o’reading! We have two reports (PDF) by Alexander Kupatadze, based on field research he conducted while at the Social Research Centre of the American University of Central Asia (an excellent resource, by the by).
The ‘coloured revolutions’ in post-Soviet Eurasia raised much debate in international society and have been called democratic processes or the fourth wave of democratisation. However the level of democracy of these events, as well as the use of the term ‘revolution’ still need to be determined. For instance, Georgia has witnessed unprecedented pressure on its free press and a deterioration in the human rights situation after the ‘Rose Revolution’ of 2003, while increased corruption and more active organized crime has become evident in Kyrgyzstan since the ‘Tulip Revolution’ in 2005…
This article is an attempt to explain the variations between the two cases. The crucial questions are why organized crime has skyrocketed in the post-revolutionary setting in Kyrgyzstan and why the reverse has happened in Georgia? Why has the re-distribution of the spoils been a violent process in Kyrgyzstan and not in Georgia? This paper concentrates on the political-criminal-business nexus in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and discusses the impact of the revolutions on this nexus. It is argued that the strength/weakness of political opposition to pre-revolutionary elites, instability of the political scene and involvement of organized crime in the revolutionary processes among others, are the main factors explaining the post-revolutionary developments in the two countries.
Smuggling has been an increasing problem in Kyrgyzstan since the break up of the Soviet Union. The country, situated on the ancient Silk Road is a natural transit point for various legal and illegal goods. Illicit trade has already grown to a point where it threatens the national security of the country since it destroys the internal market for legal goods, promotes bribery, strengthens organized crime groups and various political-criminal clans and encourages money laundering. In general corruption, the presence of organized crime and a high level of collusion on the one hand and illicit trade on the other are mutually reinforcing.