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  • The Kyrgyz Republic Cries for Economic Freedom

    The Kyrgyz Republic, host to a strategic U.S. airbase at the Manas airport, is in political turmoil triggered, at least on the surface, by government-mandated price hikes in fuel, electricity, and mobile phone rates. The landlocked economy is one of the poorest of the former Soviet Union, and the economy’s transition to economic freedom has lagged far behind the more Western –oriented former Soviet republics like Georgia or the states along the Baltic Sea.

    Over the years, the Kyrgyz Republic has implemented some positive economic reforms, notably introducing a more flexible labor code and implementing a flat tax rate of 10 percent for both individuals and corporations. However, the country’s overall economic development has been severely constrained by widespread corruption and a weak judiciary. According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, the Kyrgyz Republic scores just 18 points on the 0-100 scale for freedom from corruption, with the editors noting that “corruption is endemic at all levels of society.”

    President Kurmanbeck Bakiyev, apparently toppled by the current unrest, came into power in 2005 during the country’s so-called Tulip Revolution, with a pledge of more meaningful economic development and democracy. Instead, the country got a different type of sweeping reform that transferred: “management of the economy and security to new bodies controlled by [Mr. Bakiyev’s] family and close associates,” as noted by the Financial Times.

    It is not surprising when people denied economic freedom seek change through political means. If government controls the means of production, all economic decisions become political decisions as well. And when avenues of political protest are blocked, blood runs in the streets.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to The Kyrgyz Republic Cries for Economic Freedom

    1. Jerry from Buckley says:

      Sounds like where we are headed!

    2. ATB2 says:

      Nepotism is so last century. Bakiyev should have followed Obama model: put your biggest supporters in charge of key institutions and industries, leverage control of media to demonize the opposition, and print money. Of course O's way may be setting the stage for some strong reactions here as health care costs continue to rise, insurance premiums go through the roof, taxes rise, VAT is introduced, and fuel prices spike (as the pres has said they must under his favored "climate" policies). Makes one think we're all Kyrgyzistanis now.

    3. Spiritof76, NH says:

      With the national health care, cap and trade and VAT, US will be a Kyrgyz (west).

    4. Brian, Milwaukee, WI says:

      It seems our other comments are from people who have not been or are not at all familiar with the situation in the Kyrgyz Republic. The country has had probably 50% real unemployment and extensive under employment since the early 90s and those working are barely able to make it. Along comes the government and quadruples utilities and there is no way for the average person to pay the bills. Maybe a year prior food prices increased to where much of the food rivals prices in the US. The corruption is so widespread and so insidious that one in a country like ours cannot even imagine. The common thread that really makes it tough in a country like this and in many with huge problems is there really is no rule of law. You must be wary of and fear all authority all of the time. That's right the police and every official is corrupt. Again if you have not experienced it you really have no idea and to say we are headed there is such a stupid and ignorant statement it really is ridiculous. The rule of law and respect for and trust for authority and a reasonable assurance most local authorities do look after the common well being makes us so blessed and so different from most of the rest of the world. If our officials tried to mirror the Kyrgyz Republic it would take an all out effort and 100 years and would not be possible in our current system. Ones heart certainly must go out to those people in the Kyrgyz Republic who endure so much and struggle so mightily simply to try to survive and for the impovorished and poor people in the south where death from the elements or lack of food is not out of the question. We can thank God we live in the USA.

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