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PODCAST | Mateo Fumagalli | Stateness, Contested Nationhood & Imperiled Sovereignty in Kyrgyzstan (3.31.2016)

March 15, 2017

The case of Kyrgyzstan, mired in a durable oscillation between abrupt descents into violence and swift returns to stability, represents a useful vantage point to capture the trans-national dimension of post-Soviet conflicts. Kyrgyzstan’s post-independence political trajectory has been marked by stateness issues and the contestation of nationhood, rendering more acute perceptions of threats to the integrity and survival of the state. Drawing on the linkage and leverage framework, this talk investigates the role of external actors in the domestic conflicts that have occurred in the country, focusing especially on the 2010 events in and around the city of Osh. It shows that linkages with international actors have grown more dense and diverse over time, most notably with Russia and, to a lesser but growing degree, China. Non-western leverage has become increasingly consequential in shaping Kyrgyzstan’s domestic and foreign policy. This has been both conflict-inducing and -mitigating, and has varied considerably throughout the conflict cycle. Ties with Russia have been activated and have turned into leverage, whereas in the cases of China and Uzbekistan links have either not been activated or have been de-activated. Once violence broke out no outside actor showed willingness to become embroiled in the conflict, despite the local authorities’ calls for external intervention. Conflict dynamics have altered both the domestic political landscape and trans-national linkages.
Matteo Fumagalli is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at Central European University, Budapest (Hungary). He was awarded his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2005. Before joining CEU, Matteo worked at University College Dublin (Ireland), the University of Edinburgh and St Andrews University in the UK. Matteo’s interests include comparative authoritarianism; ethnicity, nationalism and diaspora politics; and the politics of natural resources. Matteo has strong interests in Central Asia, the South Caucasus and South-East Asia (especially Myanmar). His recent and forthcoming publications include articles in the International Political Science Review, Electoral Studies, East European Politics, Europe-Asia Studies, Ethnopolitics, Central Asian Survey, Osteuropa, and the Journal of Eurasian Studies. At CEU Matteo teaches courses on Comparative Authoritarianism, Transnational Environmental Politics, Central Asia, and post-Soviet politics.