Non-electoral protest groups in an electoral environment: the ‘new settlements’ of Bishkek and the 2011 presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan by Dr John Heathershaw
13 December 2011
UCA Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
Title: Non-electoral protest groups in an electoral environment: the ‘new settlements’ of Bishkek and the 2011 presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan
Speaker: Dr John Heathershaw
Date: 13 December 2011, 4 PM
Venue: University of Central Asia, 138 Toktogul Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Conference Room
This lecture describes three case studies of non-electoral protest groups by so-called ‘land-grabbers’ (zemlyazakhvatchiki) in the new settlements (novostroyka) of Bishkek during the 2011 Presidential Elections in the Kyrgyz Republic. Based on research conducted from August to December 2011 including participant-observation and in-depth interviews with representatives of the movements before, during and after the presidential elections, the lecture investigates four dimensions of the protest movements: the character of the grievances and justice claims advanced by protestors; their organisation, including internal structures and links to external patrons; the links between groups and whether there is the emergence of trans-local protests; and the success of the protests in eliciting compromises from elite actors. The research findings challenge recent research that found that mobilisations in electoral environments in Kyrgyzstan are exclusively ‘top-down’. Rather, the lecture will demonstrate that these protest movements are indicative of both emergent democratisation and the weakness of the rule of law in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Dr John Heathershaw is a UCA Visiting Scholar and Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter. He completed his PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and has held teaching and research posts at the University of Notre Dame, the American University of Central Asia, and King’s College, London. His research concerns the politics of Central Asia, particularly Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Dr Heathershaw has published articles in Central Asian Survey, Europe-Asia Studies, Russian Review and International Affairs, and a book entitled Post-Conflict Tajikistan: the politics of peacebuilding and the emergence of legitimate order (Routledge, 2009). He is a director of the Central Eurasian Studies Society.
The presentation will be conducted in English. Russian translation will be provided upon prior request.