The Bulan Institute’s work focuses primarily on Kyrgyzstan, however given the interrelated nature of the internal and external challenges facing Central Asian countries, we also work on Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.
Kyrgyzstan is a post-Soviet country with a population of nearly 6 million, which is a vibrant democracy that adopted a parliamentary system in 2011. It is one of the few lower-middle-income countries in the Europe and Central Asia region. The country struggles with high levels of unemployment (especially among youth), widespread poverty, deep income inequality, internal and external migration, corruption and low effectiveness of government institutions, factors which contributed to the country’s two revolutions, in 2005 and 2010.
Kyrgyzstan has many security challenges, including border disputes, religious extremism, threats of Uyghur separatism coming from Xinjiang, ethnic tensions, and poor water management. The Bulan Institute also focuses on democratization in Kyrgyzstan and throughout the region. Kyrgyzstan is the sole country which has seen peaceful transitions of power and three presidential elections, while Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have been ruled by authoritarian regimes, run either by rulers who have held power for 20-25 years, or where power has been passed from one leader to another in controlled succession. The work of the Bulan Institute aims to support Kyrgyzstan’s pursuit of its democratic path and the strengthening of democratic values in the country.