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Nation-Building in the Shadow of the Bear: The Dialectics of National Identity and Foreign Policy in the Kyrgyz Republic 1991–2012

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Paul Christian Sander

Since 1991, Kyrgyzstan’s leaders have pursued a post-Soviet national identity. Their concepts failed to consolidate the country’s multi-ethnic society, and continuously antagonize civic values and ethnic myth. The author applies international relations theory to frame Kyrgyzstan’s identity crisis: The ruling elite has to manage tensions between their strong dependency on Russia as main donor and security provider and domestic challenges in their pursuit of a national identity. A legitimate national identity must represent both the foreign policy interests of the country and the demands of the Kyrgyz majority and ethnic minorities for representation. The Kyrgyz case unveils the complex dialectics of domestic pressure and external interests that have defined post-Soviet nation building in Russia’s near abroad.

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Bibliography

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Adamson, F. & Demetriou, M. (2007) “Remapping the Boundaries of ‘State’ and ‘National Identity:’ Incorporating Diasporas into IR Theorizing,” European Journal of International Relations 13.4, 489–526.

Akaev, A. (1992a) “Contribution to Russian Recovery,” as published in: Daily Report. Central Eurasia, Moscow INTERFAX – 15 July 1992, FBIS-SOV-92–138 on 17 July 1992.

Akaev, A. (1992b) Interviewed on “Live Dialogue,” Ostankino Television First Program in Russian, 1125 GMT, 24 May 1992, translated in FBIS-SOV 92–104 (29 May 1992), p. 60.

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