Eurasia This Week: December 2, 2021

December 2, 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.

A road in Batken, Kyrgyzstan, in the Ferghana Valley. Kyrgyzstan held parliamentary elections on November 28. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Ben Paarmann (CC BY 2.0)

Upcoming Eurasia Elections

Belarus Constitutional Referendum: February 2022 (proposed)

Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, has announced plans to hold a constitutional referendum in February 2022. Belarus’s elections and political processes are neither free nor fair.

The country las held a presidential election on August 9, 2020. In a vote widely deemed not free and not fair, 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

BelTA Belarus State Media (December 2, 2021): Lukashenko: Constitutional referendum will be held in February unless a war starts

Jennifer Hansler, CNN (December 2, 2021): US and allies impose new sanctions on Belarus over migrant crisis and ongoing human rights abuses

Jake Rudnitsky and Aliaksandr Kudrytski, Bloomberg (November 30, 2021): Why Turmoil in Belarus Is Spilling Over Its Borders

Ukraine Parliamentary Elections: By October 2023 and Presidential Election: By March 2024

Ukraine holds parliamentary elections in 2023 and a presidential election in 2024. In the last presidential vote, in 2019, Actor and comedian Zelensky beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko running on an anti-establishment platform. However, since then, the country’s traditional pro-Europe and pro-Moscow political forces have regained ground. Meanwhile, Russia’s military aggression, which began in 2014, continues.

Natalia Zinets, Reuters (December 3, 2021): Large scale Russian offensive possible in January, Ukraine says

RFE/RL (December 2, 2021): EU To Help Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine Improve Defense Capabilities

Jon Jackson, Newsweek (November 29, 2021): Who Is Rinat Akhmetov? Ukraine’s Richest Oligarch Accused of Planning Coup With Russia

Past Eurasia Elections

Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Elections Take 2: November 28, 2021

Kyrgyzstan held 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

The Economist (December 2, 2021): An election in Kyrgyzstan is cleaner than usual. But an air of thuggishness still prevails

Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL (December 2, 2021): Assault On Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Adds Fuel To Complaints About Election Results

Eurasianet (December 1, 2021): Kyrgyzstan: Opposition leader assaulted by busloads of men: Tekebayev says he was warned to stop protesting the results of the election.

Vladimir Isachenkov, AP (November 29, 2021): Opposition in Kyrgyzstan challenges election results

Armenia Partial Local Elections: November 14 and December 5, 2021 (following first set of local elections on October 17)

Armenia is holding a series of partial local elections this fall. These follow the snap parliamentary elections on June 20, which were held in an effort to defuse a political crisis following a defeat in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Pre-election polls suggested a close contest Pashinyan acting prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and former president Robert Kocharyan; however, Pashinyan ended up winning by a significant margin. Political tensions remain.

Transitions Online (November 29, 2021): Putin Hosts Talks Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Amid ‘Crisis’

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

RFE/RL (November 29, 2021): Georgian Ex-President Saakashvili’s Trial Adjourned For Three Weeks

Reuters (November 29, 2021): Georgia’s ex-leader denies court charges, 15 supporters arrested

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

Eurasianet (December 1, 2021): Uzbekistan: Sex, politics, and videotape: An outspoken local deputy says police are trying to shame her into silence, using techniques evocative of the late Islam Karimov’s dictatorship.

Galina Polonskaya, Euronews (November 29, 2021): How the regional strategy in Uzbekistan will change after the elections 

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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