In addition to regular Central Asia Security policy brief series, the OSCE Academy supports various research projects investigating important political, security or economic topics in Central Asia. Below are selected papers produced at various times by researchers affiliated with the Academy.
By Olivier Korthals Altes, Associate Research Fellow in 2018, OSCE Academy
This research paper is an abridged version of my Master’s thesis, that analyses the policy - practice gap of democratic reforms of the police forces in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and the role of civil society within it. This evidence-based assessment has been related to theoretical debates about Security Sector Reform, the current dominant concept within academic and international policy circles on security assistance that entails (re)building and professionalising security forces while creating democratic institutions and mechanisms to hold them controllable, transparent and accountable. In my research, I have suggested an approach to measure progress of democratic governance of the police forces through a number of qualitative indicators that include the creation of independent public oversight and monitoring bodies, battling corruption within law enforcement agencies, and transparency of official police reports and statistics. I have put the formulated policies by national governments and the OSCE annual reports on police-related activities next to my research findings gained from reports and interviews with local civil society representatives, to indicate the rather limited progress of police reforms in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It also came forward that strengthening civil society alone will not be enough in a context where the Ministries of Internal Affairs, responsible for the police services and policing, are very resistant to any change, and public support for democratic reforms remains too narrow to make a difference.
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By Ryskeldi Satke and Franco Galdini
The paper discusses Kazakhstan’s long-term development vision and its ambitious objectives. After presenting the history of the country’s infrastructural projects during Tsarist and Soviet times, it expounds Kazakh President Nazarbayev’s plan up to 2050 to convert the country into a logistics hub between East and West. It then proceeds to set Nazarbayev’s vision against Kazakhstan’s political economic reality, specifically how the leadership’s multi-vector foreign policy is faring between Russia’s regional integration projects and China’s westward push to develop Xinjiang province along the new Silk Road. Finally, the article identifies multiple challenges that may compromise the plan in the future: from the country’s looming political transition, lack of political freedoms and endemic corruption, to China’s Uighur question and Russia’s standoff with the West in Ukraine.
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A version of this paper was originally published in Spanish in the Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals n. 110, September 2015. Available here.
Report by: David Gullette
In January 2014 the OSCE Academy released the results of a study on “Conflict sensitivity in the mining sector of Kyrgyzstan”. The research was held between August and December 2013 by the OSCE Academy research team with financial support from the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). The project aimed at reviewing the national policies and activities pertaining to conflict management in the Kyrgyz mining sector, compiling detailed case studies of two locations and designing coursework materials that the Academy project to use in its annual International Certificate Training Programme in Conflict Sensitive Development. The project, led by Dr. David Gullette, included research activities in Bishkek and selected field sites.
Click here to download the report. Also, here you find a link to the interview Dr.David Gullette gave to the BBC Kyrgyz Service about this project. Interview available in Kyrgyz language only.
By Max Bader, Research and Teaching Fellow in 2010, OSCE Academy
Drawing on a discussion of political parties and party politics in Central Asia, this working paper entitled "The Curious Case of Political Party Assistance in Central Asia" questions the rationale behind party assistance in the region.
By Kevin Koehler, Research and Teaching Fellow in 2009, OSCE Academy
This research project examined political dynamics in Kyrgyzstan since the 2005 "Tulip Revolution." What were the effects of this event on Kyrgyz political dynamics? Where is the country heading under its new leadership? What is the significance of the institutional changes observable in the country since 2007?
From January to May 2009, Kevin Koehler, Research and Teaching Fellow at the OSCE Academy, conducted field research on this topic. The preliminary results of this project are available in the form of a working paper entitled "Authoritarian Institution Building: Electoral Politics and Ruling Party Formation in Post-Revolutionary Kyrgyzstan."