POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN CENTRAL ASIA: INSIGHTS FROM KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN, AND UZBEKISTAN

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Aram Terzyan

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to explore the political implications of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Studies displayed that although these governments varied in their initial response to the pandemic, all three underwent a uniform experience as to its broader effect of amplified authoritarianism. The public health crisis was utilized as a pretext to consolidate autocratic power, suppress regime criticism, and restrict the political rights and freedoms of citizens. Of particular concern were implications on media and civil society organizational efforts, statuses of detainees, ethnic minority rights, and freedoms of assembly and speech. This paper is an in-depth case analysis that uses policy analysis and process tracing to examine the Central Asian countries’ response to Covid-19 and its effects on human rights and political freedoms in the named countries. It concludes that despite the changes in leadership and relative progress towards democratization, authoritarian patterns ensued and changed form during the pandemic period in these Central Asian countries.

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How to Cite
Terzyan, A. (2022). POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN CENTRAL ASIA: INSIGHTS FROM KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN, AND UZBEKISTAN. Journal of Liberty and International Affairs, 8(1), 360-374. https://doi.org/10.47305/JLIA2281360t
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Author Biography

Aram Terzyan, Center for East European and Russian Studies, Eurasia Institutes - California, USA

I am a political scientist and I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from National Defense Research University and Yerevan State University in 2014. My areas of specialization include Russian and Post-Soviet politics, foreign policy analysis and human rights. I was a Senior Lecturer of Political Science at Yerevan State University from 2014 to 2018. I have held research positions at New Europe College (Bucharest, Romania), Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic), Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium), as well as at Malmo University (Malmo, Sweden). Currently, I amthe research director of a Los Angeles -based Center for East European and Russian Studies of the Eurasia Institutes. Besides, I am affiliated with Eurasian Research and Analysis Institute,as well as with UNESCO Chair of Human Rights, Democracy and European Studies at Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences. I have taught the following courses: Theory of International Relations, Energy Geopolitics,International Conflicts, Political Psychology, as well as Elections and Electoral Systems. I have over forty peer-reviewed publications, along with conference and workshop papers. I have appeared on national TV news and analytical programs. I am a member of American Political Science Association; Armenian Political Science Association, Swedish Institute Network for Future Global Leaders, as well as editorial board member of Armenian Journal of Political Science. I have served as a reviewer for Third World Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Democratization, Europe-Asia Studies, Global Change, Peace & Security, Academia Letters, etc.