CASI-IFEAC Lecture series (Sept. 25, 2013, Bishkek) : Understanding patterns of the anti-mining protests. A case-study of northern Kyrgyzstan
In Kyrgyzstan, public perceptions suggest that particularistic interests, parochial causes, and elite manipulations influence the anti-mining protests. However, on the ground the “local” memory of gold extraction, based on “real” experience of communities with ancienne regime and indulgent companies, relates a different story. As everywhere else across the country the popular uprisings of 2005 and 2010 gave citizens a sense of the “people’s power” and provided with a great legitimacy to fix injustices inflicted by the previous regime (see also Reeves, forthcoming). For instance, the demands that are pressed by the protesters during the meetings with mining companies indicate the centrality of employment policy at stake. Other important grievances involve ecological concerns (see also Wooden, 2013; Eurasia Foundation, 2013) and the lack of institutional medium in which rural communities can safely interact with a powerful foreign economic actor. To understand why protesters use radical claims and violence against mining companies means to examine the existing possibilities for lobby and political representation that had emerged over the preceding years in Kyrgyzstan, and what these reveal about the post-communist state. Hence, this mining conflict is about local rights (‘localism’), political relations (‘statist orders’), and strong expectation on the state and nation (‘nationalism’); not the resource per se or elite manipulation.
Asel Doolotkeldieva is final year PhD candidate and graduate teaching assistant at the University of Exeter (UK). She holds M.A. in International Relations from Sciences Po (France) and B.A. from American University in Central Asia. Asel’s current research interest is focused on social mobilizations for which she has conducted an extensive fieldwork in rural Kyrgyzstan. Her wider interests bear on the nature of post-communist state and its local and global dimensions. Recently, she has co-authored a paper on global offshore connections and Central Asian political regimes.
American University of Central Asia
205 Abdymonmunov, Bishkek
Wednesday 25 September, 5:30 pm