Pavel Dyatlenko | Institute for War and Peace Reporting


Pavel Dyatlenko

Pavel Dyatlenko

I was born in 1985 in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Both my parents are engineers by occupation which is different from the route I chose, first for my education and then for my profession.

They did not show much enthusiasm when, at the age of 17, I applied to study history at Kyrgyz-Russian Slavonic University, the most prestigious in the country. The subject of history is not popular these days in Kyrgyzstan where everyone seems to dream of becoming a lawyer or an economist. But mine was a conscious choice as I wanted to pursue it as a career and to continue the tradition set by my grandparents on both sides who were in teaching.

My university years from 2002 to 2007 coincided with important political developments in in Kyrgyzstan’s history, including the Tulip revolution of 2005, a popular unrest that ousted the country’s authoritarian president Askar Akaev from power. These events cemented my interest in political history and prompted me to go into academic research.

Following graduation, I stayed with the university where I applied for PhD and completed it in December 2010.

While studying for my degree, I also took part in the two-year-programme run by the Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan known as the school for future elite. It gave me a taste for conducting independent research and an interest in taking part in public activities. This was a substantial contribution to furthering my career.

So it can be said that I came into journalism indirectly through my interest in politics. I started to write for IWPR in 2009 and it was a good opportunity for me to publish analytical reports and comments on the political situation in Kyrgyzstan.

The advantage of writing for an international media organisation as opposed to publishing in the local media is that in an IWPR-commentary you can express your view – provided it is well argued - even if it does not coincide with the opinion dominating the debate at home.

Articles I am particularly proud of are my commentary on the roots of interethnic conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan in June last year (Addressing Roots of Conflict in Kyrgyzstan) and a piece on the the country’s new constitution that paved the way for parliamentary democracy in Kyrgyzstan - the first country in Central Asia to replace a presidential system with a parliamentary one (Kyrgyz Constitution is Central Asia’s Finest).

My experience with IWPR helped to establish my name as an analyst on Kyrgyz politics. It was pleasing to see that people and especially experts in various fields were interested to hear my view – it was the best acknowledgement of my professional ability.

Following my article on roots of the interethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, I was interviewed on how to overcome causes and legacies of the conflict commissioned by Central Eurasia Project run by the Open Society Foundations. The project is aimed at promoting social and human rights through campaigns using policy research.

As a result of the IWPR analysis, I was also invited on the eve of the parliamentary elections last October to take part in a political show on Azattyk TV, a television programme run by Kyrgyz Service of RFE/RL in Bishkek.

On several occasions, I was interviewed as an expert for Voice of America radio programmes.

Putting together an analytical report is not without its challenges – some topics are too sensitive and others are too politicised making it difficult to present a clear-cut picture from a neutral point of view. Sometimes, sources refuse to be quoted openly out of fear for their safety.

Reporting about events in Kyrgyzstan - which over the last several years has been experiencing a lot of political upheaval - puts additional responsibility on a journalist. But I feel that my background as a historian and researcher has helped my journalistic work.

It has improved my ability to interpret complex political processes taking place in Kyrgyzstan and brought me professional recognition. Another thing that journalism gives me is that it makes me feel right in the middle of current events.

Stories by the author

Omurbek Babanov was seen by Kyrgyzstan's establishment policians an upstart whom they could not  control. (Photo: Respublika Party)
Pavel Dyatlenko
13 Sep 12
Change of government strengthens position of president and his party by sidelining an up-and-coming politician.
Pavel Dyatlenko
20 Jun 12
Political classes mobilise young people for their own ends.
Kyrgyz president Roza Otunbaeva (centre) with Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev (left) and the speaker of parliament Ahmatbek Keldibekov, at celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of independence. Otunbaeva is not standing in the October 30 presidential election, but Atambaev is among twenty candidates. (Photo: Igor Kovalenko)
Pavel Dyatlenko
22 Sep 11
As candidates fight for presidential office, they need to realise power has slipped away from central government.
Pavel Dyatlenko
13 Dec 10
Proceedings to date marred by bias and intimidation.
Election race, Kyrgyz-style. These riders are backing the Ar-Namys party. (Photo: Igor Kovalenko)
Pavel Dyatlenko, Timur Toktonaliev
13 Oct 10
Race to secure parliamentary majority before president formally anoints governing party.
Pavel Dyatlenko
30 Sep 10
Amidst plethora of parties for voters to choose from, a remarkably resilient political class adapts and survives.
Pavel Dyatlenko
24 Aug 10
Marginalised groups serve as rent-a-mob demonstrators whenever the country is convulsed by unrest.
Pavel Dyatlenko
25 Jun 10
Expert argues that ethnic tensions have been simmering for years, and radical new policies are needed to prevent conflict repeating itself.
Pavel Dyatlenko, Isomidin Ahmedjanov
24 Jun 10
It might seem foolhardy to go ahead with a vote so soon after ethnic bloodshed, but government sees referendum as essential step towards legitimacy.
Pavel Dyatlenko
11 Jun 10
New constitution will not turn the country into a parliamentary democracy just yet, but it’s still the most progressive in the region.