The country with the coolest name ever is becoming democratic:
Protesters in Kyrgyzstan today occupied the offices of President Askar Akayev in an effort to force him to resign over allegations of election fraud, according to television footage. Akayev left the capital by helicopter, Interfax reported.
The government headquarters was ablaze after it was overrun by demonstrators, live pictures from APTN Direct showed. A protester carried a large red flag as a group fanned out through one of the buildings, APTN Direct showed in an earlier transmission. A young man sat behind the desk in an unidentified leader’s office as it was taken over by fellow protesters.
The demonstrators stormed the compound in Bishkek, capital of the Central Asian republic, after overwhelming riot police who had charged the crowd on foot and on horseback earlier today. Agence France-Presse reported that Defense Minister Esen Topoyev and National Security Minister Kalyk Imankulov were blockaded in the complex, while Russia’s Interfax said the ministers were writing resignation letters.
Hat-tip Joe Gandelman. Krygyzstan; seriously, that has got to be the best name a country has ever had. Anyway, this is very good news, not just because it’s one more nation becoming democratic, but because that country is in Central Asia. Whereas Eastern Europe became largely democratic following the breakup of the U.S.S.R. (Belarus and, arguably, Moldova are notable exceptions), Central Asia has become very autocratic. Afghanistan is by far the freest nation of the lot, and that’s not saying much. While this obviously is not as grand a phenomenon as the breakup of the Soviet Union, it could trigger a domino effect similar to that that occurred after the fall of the Berlin wall. I’m just hoping, but it’s a possibility.