Development in Difficult Sociopolitical Contexts

Part of the series Rethinking International Development Series pp 137-162

Development in Kyrgyzstan: Failed State or Failed State-building?

  • Cai Wilkinson


Widely regarded in the 1990s as an ‘island of democracy’ in post-Soviet Central Asia (Anderson 1999), by 2003 the small mountainous republic of Kyrgyzstan found itself included alongside Côte d’ Ivoire, Kenya and Nigeria as ‘candidates for failure’ (Rotberg 2003, p. 20). Its candidature was seemingly confirmed two years later, in the aftermath of the March 2005 overthrow of Askar Akaev, when an International Crisis Group (ICG) report described Kyrgyzstan as ‘a faltering state’ and warned that without significant international support ‘there is a real risk that... the country will drift into irreversible criminality and permanent low-level violence’ (ICG 2005, p. ii).