Central Asia is difficult to understand for Western people, not only now, but for several centuries. After the end of the Soviet Union some new states came into being, one of them Kyrgyzstan. Askar Akayev, a scientist, became president in 1991 and held this position until 2005. With his understanding of political, social, and economic needs, a democratic system was established. But his vision of an independent ‘third way’ for Central Asia and his country was not fulfilled. Because of the geopolitical importance of Kyrgyzstan, outside powers forced their influence onto the fate of the country, focussed on Manas, the biggest US/NATO military base to, on the surface, support the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. One should know that Manas is the name of a hero and liberator who formed Kyrgyzstan’s sovereignty 1,000 years ago. Internally, groups were interested in the destabilization and weakness of the state. The civic order was infiltrated and threatened by anti-democratic elements. After Akayev, an explosive mixture of corruption, political intrigue, feuding clans, ethnic tensions, fundamentalism, and not least a heavy increase in drug trafficking developed. Oppression, riots, plundering, and armed conflicts occurred. Kyrgyzstan turned into a danger to world security. This book is informative and grippingly written, with valuable background. The author, Dmitry Kuznetsov, born 1957, works as a Professor at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University. He is a Doctor of Philosophy and a member of the Russian Union of Writers, and has published several works of fiction and non-fiction. He is editor-in-chief of a literary magazine and contributes regular features to Russian Radio and TV stations.
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