Tag: 2016

US version of Democracy looks more and more like Central Asia’s

On the eve of the most important, most expensive election in the world, Central Asia’s rulers-for life have plenty of ammunition with which to dispute the value of a competitive domestic political system.

For long-time leaders in the post-Soviet region who champion a colourless and sometimes brutal authoritarian ‘stability’ over genuine electoral contests and basic individual rights, the current US presidential campaign, more than any other before, has demonstrated the divisive influence that populism and even simple political competition can have on a society.

Moreover, regardless of whoever claims victory on November 8, the citizens of the five “Stans” will be able to see something of their own countries’ systems in the new US President. The effect of that recognition might be a further erosion of the faith some of them once had in democracy in the traditional sense, and a deeper cynicism regarding the importance of public participation in politics.