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Merchant Protests Shake Kyrgyz Government

The government’s announcement of a new tax regime for local bazaars and markets sparked an unexpected backlash.

The government’s announcement of a new tax regime for local bazaars and markets sparked an unexpected backlash, with protests erupting in towns and cities across Kyrgyzstan. President Sadyr Japarov’s government has made it difficult for people to gather and criticize the authorities’ actions; the merchants’ protests ended a long period without any large demonstrations. What was behind this public display of dissatisfaction, and what does it say about the culture of protest in Kyrgyzstan, a country that has seen three presidents chased from power as a result of street demonstrations? Joining host Bruce Pannier to discuss the issue are Asel Doolotkeldieva, nonresident fellow at George Washington University; and Medet Tiulegenov, senior research fellow at the University of Central Asia in Bishkek.

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