The very skewed, corruption-driven 2020 parliamentary elections led to protests that overthrew the Sooronbay Jeenbekov presidency and installed Sadyr Japarov at the helm. Thereafter, Kyrgyzstan was caught in a political crisis, ranging from an illegitimate leadership to a citizenry that became divided along many lines.

After a year of relative calm in 2019, with no breakthroughs and a GDP growth of over 4%, the economic effects of COVID-19 were deeply damaging. The lockdown and other restrictions were key negative factors that nearly brought the economy to a halt.

The pandemic-induced crisis exposed the government’s weaknesses, the effects of corruption and incompetence, as well as remarkable civic solidarity. Kyrgyzstan is in urgent need of leadership action to stabilize the country, reestablish the rule of law and the legitimacy of the government, resuscitate the economy, and reunite its divided society.

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