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Great Games, Local RulesThe New Great Power Contest in Central Asia$
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Alexander Cooley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199929825

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199929825.001.0001

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Geopolitical Competition and Political Stability: Kyrgyzstan’s Base Bidding War

Geopolitical Competition and Political Stability: Kyrgyzstan’s Base Bidding War

(p.116) 7 Geopolitical Competition and Political Stability: Kyrgyzstan’s Base Bidding War
Great Games, Local Rules

Alexander Cooley

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 focuses more narrowly on the issue of great power rivalry and regional political stability. It explores how even in the clearest-cut case of geopolitical competition between the United States and Russia—the bidding war over the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan during the tenure of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev (2005–2010)—the Kyrgyz premiere and his local political allies actively fueled geopolitical competition for their private benefit. In February 2009 the Kyrgyz president announced the closure of Manas and a new emergency assistance package from Russia. But after collecting an initial Russian payment, Bakiyev concluded a new basing deal with the United States for a higher rent. The chapter also recounts how Bakiyev’s predation and rent-seeking came at the expense of promoting state-building and institutional stability, as the sudden collapse of his government in April 2010 was followed by ethnic rioting in the south on a level not seen since late Soviet times.

Keywords:   Kyrgyzstan, United States, Russia, political stability, Manas air base, Bakiyev, Kurmanbek

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