Anthropology Today, 37, 5
Sadyr Japarov, the current President of Kyrgyzstan, came to power in what became known as the 2020 revolution, the third revolution in the country's history after the 2005 First Kyrgyz (or Tulip) Revolution and the 2010 Second Kyrgyz Revolution. He criticized earlier political leaders for their corruption, nepotism and links to criminality, instead promising justice and care for his people. However, many now accuse him of undermining democracy by bribery, reinforcing authoritarian rule and setting up connections to the criminal world. The author draws on research on politics and patronage in Kyrgyzstan over the last ten years. Although Japarov is a former convict engaged in nepotistic activities in contemporary Kyrgyzstani politics, many support him as their ‘native son’ – until, as with previous presidents, they no longer do so.