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Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

Kyrgyzstan is going to have an electoral year amongst fears and hope whether democracy could succeed.
Kazakhstan is preparing for the 2007 presidential election, where Nazarbayev is expected to step down. Azeri opposition is trying to join forces against the authoritarian government of president Aliyev.
In Tajikistan as well opposition is trying to defy a new law which allows president Rakhmanov to stand for more terms.
In Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan opposition have almost crushed down and there are no perspective of democracy in the mid-term.
In Armenia, despite democratic institution, there is no fair chance for the opposition to beat the ruling party in the next elections, but people are staging mass protest and asking for a change.
Which of those countries will succeed to achieve full democracy during this decade (before 2010) ?

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

It's a curious expression - "full democracy". What do you mean by this?

You can hope people will get seduced by the promise of well-being brought in with NATO bases. This can happen pretty quickly. But whether this will be democracy, I doubt.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

No. I am not talking about NATO nor EU nor USA.
I am just talking about the universal concept of democracy, where people can go to the polls freely to elect their leaders, no matter if they are islamic, ortodox, catholic or buddhist, or pro-western,pro-russian ot pro-chinese.
The upcoming elections in Kyrgyzstan, for example, are thousands miles far away from being democratic, since all the opposition contenders who have any chance to beat the candidates of the regime, have been barred to stand for the parliamentary elections.
Or in the case of Turkmenistan where Niyazov has been declared president for life and where in the schools children are studying every minute of the 60 years of his life. If Turkmens love Nyazov, there will be no problems for him to accept any opposition party and contenders in the elections ,because he would win anyway in a fair way.
It would be better for everybody, let these old leaders retire and get a pension and open the doors to other pure mind citizens.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

A regime change which is not forced from abroad should of course be welcome, if it is indeed democratic. However, I doubt this will happen very soon. True democratic traditions, or, better put, a political order which provides for both well-being of the citizens and maximum freedom, is a product of *long evoluation*, not revolution. Especially not of a foreign invasion.

Central Asian republics have a long way to go to develop these traditions. But, once again, nobody can force these traditions upon them.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

Even if the invaders are highly civilized and moral creatures.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

For sure I agree with you on this point.

Some food for thought

These days we see a democratic revolution in Kirgizia, one Central Asian republic. However, many are very cautious as to whether to call it "democratic". The TV pictures show "democrats" storming state office who look rather like marauders. There are massive reports of massive robberies and pogroms. As far as I can judge, even Western mass media are not in a hurry to call this an "orange" revolution, a democratic regime change.

Now consider Turkmenia, where the president is a clear case - not just of a dictator, but of a medieval ruler. Still Turkmenia appears to be the beacon of stability in the region: no crime, no terrorism.

Now consider Iraq and Afganistan, where Americans have difficulties forcing the Western ideal of "Freedom" into an Asian country.

My point: the West makes a big mistake trying to force on other cultures its beliefs of what is their happiness. I also suspect that only very naive people in the West believe that they know the receipe for everybody's happiness. The frightening thing though is that the West uses this totally false and arrogant idea to justify military aggression against other countries and achieve its own miserable political goals.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

Now consider the West accusing Putin of being totalitarian when he decides to appoint governers in Russia, rather let them be elected. I know very well what those governers are like and how they get elected. That is why I support the idea that they should be appointed from Moscow. The Western concept of "Freedom" is totally out of place here. The West should realize they interfere with internal affairs of a country, without knowing what they are talking about.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

Well after today Kyrgyzstan looks more democratic

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

perth boy,

I somehow expect replies to be longer than one line. Do you know those who overthrew the regime never had a leader, they don't have one even now.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

nobody can expect a dramatic change in a country from one day to the other.
It is juts the first step.
Akayev was rigging every elections of the past 14 years and put on power himself, his son, his duughter and even his wife had a strong influence on him.
It is too much. Kyrgyzstan is not his personal garden.
And for sure, among the mass there are really good pacific guys fighting for its country and there are bandits who care only of themselves.
But you see I was right about Ukraine, it seems president Yushenko is going well with Putin,as well mantains good relationship with the EU and the USA.
It is not a contradiction. You can try to be friend of everybody.He is doing well.(for now)
Kyrgyzstan cannot find such a good leader.
I guess Lukashenko of Belarus and Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan will be the next ones to fall in the next years.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

I do not in on way defend Akayev and people like him. The revolution in Kyrgyzia was a riot, rather than the action of people who had clear political purposes. There were a lot of robberies and looting, I don't think you can take this to be a sign of an upheaval of democratic forces in the country. Let's see what happens afterwards, hopefully the country will become more democratic, and will not fall into anyone's influence - islamists, Americans, or Russians.

As to Ukraine, Yushenko has declared already that Ukraine gives up the "multi-polar foreign policy" (that was practiced by the former president) and orients itself towards EU and USA, i.e. he is not really interested in maintaining relations with Russia any longer.

Re: Is democracy possible in the Central Asian Republics?

I think it is possiable. But we cannot force it upon the people of those countries. As we did in Iraq. What we did there was just wrong.