Eurasia This Week: November 25, 2022

November 25, 2021

A weekly review of news and analysis of elections in Eurasia, usually posted on Thursdays and occasionally updated throughout the week. For a full electoral calendar and interactive map, click here.

Statue of Manas, protagonist of Kyrgyzstan’s national epic, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Kalpak Travel (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: November 28, 2021

Kyrgyzstan will hold parliamentary elections on November 28, 2021 – a re-run of the parliamentary elections that took place in October 2020. Those elections and allegations of fraud led to political turmoil, followed by a snap presidential election in January 2021 and a constitutional referendum (alongside local elections) in April 2021. The new constitution, which passed, grants the president vastly expanded powers. Its critics have dubbed it the “Khanstitution.” The political climate was tense heading into the October 2020 parliamentary elections. It subsequently exploded following said elections. More

AFP (November 25, 2021): Kyrgyzstan holds vote hoping to avoid repeat of past chaos

Catherine Putz, The Diplomat (November 24, 2021): Why Is Kyrgyzstan’s Upcoming Parliamentary Election Significant? A discussion with Dr. Asel Doolotkeldieva.

Muhammad Tahir and Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL (November 24, 2021 – podcast): Majlis Podcast: Kyrgyzstan Prepares To Conduct Parliamentary Elections, Again

Ayzirek Imanaliyeva, Eurasianet (November 24, 2021): Kyrgyzstan: Last tango in Naryn: Ahead of elections this weekend, one candidate’s signature campaign gimmick was to hold a contest for his daughter’s hand.

Colleen Wood, The Diplomat (November 19, 2021): Looking Ahead to Kyrgyzstan’s Unpredictable Parliamentary Election: Despite the swell of Japarov loyalists running for parliament, it remains difficult to predict the election’s outcome.

Turkmenistan Presidential Election: February 2024 (due)

Turkmenistan is due to hold its next presidential election in February 2024. The coutnry held parliamentary elections on March 28, 2021. Turkmenistan is a highly repressive state that has never held free or fair elections, and lacks a genuine political oppositionMore

AP (November 25, 2021): Turkmenistan’s president further expands his son’s clout

RFE/RL (November 18, 2021): U.S. Lawmakers Urge Turkmen President To Release Political Prisoners

Umar Farooq, Al Jazeera (November 12, 2021): Turkmenistan’s dissidents fear crackdown in Turkish exile

Past Eurasia Elections

Georgia Local Election Runoffs: October 30, 2021

Georgia held local elections on October 2, 2021 in a tense political climate, exacerbated by the arrest of former president Mikheil Saakashvili upon his return to the country on the eve of the vote. Runoffs will take place on October 30, including for the important role of mayor of Tbilisi, which the ruling Georgian Dream party failed to win in the first round. Ultimately, Georgian Dream did win the second round amid criticism from the opposition. 

A recent uptick in violence against the LGBT community and journalists, perpetrated by far-right and pro-Kremlin forces, has fueled the wider debate about where Georgia is going, both culturally and geopolitically. More

Ghia Nodia, JAMnews (November 22, 2021): The aftermath of ex-president Saakashvili’s hunger strike – what will happen next?

Mikheil Saakashvili, Politico (November 20, 2021): I Was Jailed in the Country I Once Ran. Here’s Why I Want Biden to Speak Out.

Caroline Vakil, The Hill (November 19, 2021): Former Georgian president to end hunger strike after 50 days

Foreign Policy Research Institute (November 16, 2021): Georgia’s Democracy Is in Trouble, It’s Time for Closer Engagement

David J. Kramer, The Bulwark (November 12, 2021): Time for the U.S. and E.U. to Get Tough with Georgia: The government’s apparent glee at abusing the country’s former president merits a more serious response from the West.

Uzbekistan Presidential Election: October 24, 2021

Uzbekistan held a presidential election on October 24, 2021. Elections in Uzbekistan are neither free nor fair, and political opposition is not able to operate freely in the country. Although some had hoped that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev would face a serious challenger this year, that did not happen. Instead, would-be challengers were either denied ballot access or dropped outMore

Akzam Turgunov, The Diplomat (November 23, 2021): Where Are ‘New’ Uzbekistan’s Promised Reforms? The reelection of Uzbekistan’s president was a foregone conclusion. The real question is: Where are the promised reforms?

Russia Parliamentary Elections: September 17-19, 2021

Russia held parliamentary elections September 17-19, 2021. Russian elections are neither free nor fair. Nonetheless, the opposition has been making some gains in recent regional elections, helped by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s “Smart Vote,” a campaign of tactical voting, in which they developed a list of candidates the best chance of beating Vladimir Putin’s United Russia.

Consequently, the Kremlin launched a brutal crackdown on the opposition, including imprisoning Navalny. Candidates who have worked with Navalny or supported him were banned from the election. Only one genuine opposition party – the liberal Yabloko – was able to field candidates. 

Moreover, international technology companies such as Google and Apple assisted the regime by removing apps associated with Navalny’s Smart Vote. More

Robyn Dixon, Washington Post (November 22, 2021): In Russia, a dead moose and a Putin critic add up to a political scandal

Belarus Presidential Election: August 9, 2020

Belarus held a presidential election on August 9, 2020. In a vote widely deemed not free and not fair, incumbent Alexander Lukashenko declared victory. However, the opposition declared that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya had in fact won. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have taken to the streets in protest to demand free and fair elections, even in the face of assault and arrest by security forces. Protests and political defiance continue. More

Reuters (November 22, 2021): Merkel calls Belarus opposition leader to support free elections there

Sam Meredith, CNBC (November 17, 2021): John Bolton says U.S. should consider ousting Belarus’ Lukashenko from office to ‘a nice villa on the Riviera’

Eurasia Elections Coming Up in 2021 and 2022

Armenia Partial Local Elections: November 14 and December 5, 2021

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: November 28, 2021

Belarus Constitutional Referendum: By February 2022 (proposed)

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