Sheep Flocks Trampled all of Kyrgyzstan
This time it is with Edil Baisalov, the well known political figure and democracy activist from Kyrgyzstan. While only born in 1977, Edil has already established himself as one of the most important political figures in Kyrgyzstan and one of Central Asia's most vocal activists for democracy.
For several years, he led the country's Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, a coalition of NGOs promoting democracy and practicing election observation. His skill as an organizer of election observation missions was recognized in 2004 when he was chosen to lead an international observation mission of NGOs from Europe and Eurasia to the historic Ukrainian presidential elections that led to the Orange Revolution.
Obviously inspired by the activism he witnessed in Ukraine, Baisalov returned to Kyrgyzstan to lead the Coalition's election observation to the 2005 Kyrgyz parliamentary elections and to eventually play an influential role in the events following that election that led to that country's Tulip Revolution. Since March 2005, however, Mr. Baisalov has not ceased his activism. He has been a key figure in the movement to hold President Bakiyev accountable for his promises of democratic reform and has been a voice of reason during the many protests that have taken place since Bakiyev became president.
He has also paid a price for this activism. In April 2006, he was attacked by an unknown assailant, and he has been subjected to frequent smear campaigns accusing him of being a tool of the U.S. Recently, he left the fold of civil society organizing to join the Social Democratic Party led by Kyrgyzstan's present Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev and will be number 13 on the party's list for the upcoming elections. Edil is representative of a new generation of political figures in Central Asia, and he is likely to continue to have significant influence on Kyrgyzstan's political development.
Furthermore, as a representative of Central Asia's new generation, he is also a fellow blogger. As he prepares for Kyrgyzstan's first full party-list parliamentary elections, I convinced him to spare some time to answer questions about his career path, Kyrgyzstan's upcoming elections, and the U.S. agenda of promoting democracy in Central Asia.