Political reform

Central Asia: 20 Years of Independence


As the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the five Central Asian republics suddenly found themselves independent states, facing numerous challenges in creating a sense of nationhood and building separate economic structures. To mark the two decades since the five new states came into being, IWPR is publishing a series of articles highlighting the common challenges facing them, and some of the ways in which their paths have diverged over the years.

Outgoing prime minister Tigran Sargsyan. (Photo: Photolure agency)
11 Apr 14
Tigran Sargsyan presided over unpopular reforms, and also worked on failed efforts to move closer to Europe.
28 Mar 14
Leaked emails used to claim that some senior figures in Baku are linked to influential Turkish cleric.
Tbilisi city council chairman Irakli Shikhiashvili. (Photo: Tbilisi assembly website)
1 Feb 14
Ruling party using its control of Tbilisi’s elected assembly to pressure mayoral office.
17 Jan 14
United National Movement has survived two election defeats to become serious opposition force.
Poster of Heydar Aliyev in Sumgait. The words say "I will be in Azerbaijan forever”. (Photo: Shahla Sultanova)
17 Dec 13
Ten years after his death, Heydar Aliyev still looms large over the country.
The speaker of Georgia's parliament, David Usupashvili, mounted a robust defence of the local government reform bill. (Photo: Georgian parliament website)
16 Dec 13
Influential church leader warns devolution means separatism. “Nonsense”, say critics.
 Kyrgyz leaders sit together for now, at least. Picture by Anara Yusupova
Вячеслав Мамедов. (Фото: IWPR)
Former Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan has led an uncompromising campaign against the current administration, but now it looks like the two are ready to make up. (Photo: Radio Liberty, Yerevan) President Islam Karimov is always one step ahead of any challenge to his unassailable position. (Photo: José Cruz/Agência Brasil) Voting in Abkhazia’s parliamentary election, March 2012. (Photo: Anaid Gogoryan)
Protesters outside the Egyptian parliament at the height of the revolution. (Photo: Monasosh/Flickr)
Exiled banker and government critic Mukhtar Ablyazov. (Photo: Serik Kovlanbaev) There is little love lost between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) and his foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki. (Photo: Sajjad Safari/Mehr News Agency) Police break up protests on May 29. After the death of a demonstrator following an incident that day, the authorities seem to have scaled back the use of force. (Photo: Magharebia/Flickr) Few believe Assad’s concessions will save him. (Photo: Sean Long/Flickr) President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan. (Photo: Agência Brasil/Creative Commons)
Allies no longer: Almazbek Atambaev (left) with Ahmatbek Keldibekov, when both were part of a governing coalition in Kyrgyzstan. At the time, Atambaev was prime minister. Once he became president, Keldibekov did not last long as speaker of parliament. (Photo: Igor Kovalenko)