A Democratic Kyrgyzstan?

Writing in Foreign Policy, Charles Recknagel offers a (somewhat) hopeful look at the troubled Kyrgyzstan, arguing that, following the recent approval of the country’s new constitution, “Kyrgyzstan became the strongest parliamentary system in Central Asia, at least on paper”. The constitution curbs the power of future leaders, as well as placing limits on how powerful a single parliamentary party can become. But will Russia let Kyrgyzstan shape its own political future? Recknagel has some doubts:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, upon reviewing the new Kyrgyz constitution, seemed to think it was doomed to failure in such a climate: “Will this not lead to a chain of eternal problems — to reshuffles in parliament, to the rise to power of this or that political group, to authority being passed constantly from one hand to another, and, finally will this not help those with extremist views to power?” Medvedev’s prediction of failure is no simple outside observation; Moscow still seeks to influence its former Soviet sphere and there are fears in the Kremlin that a new, democratic Kyrgyzstan could undermine the old order with which Russia is acquainted.