Kyrgyzstan: Revolution Revisited
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Alisher Mamasaliyev
Forum of Young Politicians,
Coordinating Council Member;
Fmr. Leader, KelKel Youth Movement

"Right now, it is clear that a show-off political game is in place which puts young people into the position of being used as political tools, rather than active leaders, and this at a time when the opportunities for young people's development and self-realization are very far from ideal. We need to recognize that the youth movement of Kyrgyzstan, if we could name it as such, has a seasonal character. It is most active during elections when different youth unions and associations are established on order from the top. The youth unions and associations then are used as the most manageable and potentially attractive electorate.

For young people nowadays, self-motivation plays a great role, be it political, career or financial motivation. A very small number have a post-revolution political motivation, which they put to work through activities within NGOs and political parties. [But] as soon as they find a promising and highly paid job, the majority of young people lose interest in further political activity.

As a rule, the student movements which have played a great role in fostering political change in [certain] countries [Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan] did so due to their ability to rapidly gather large numbers of young people. In the period of revolutionary changes in March and April 2005, KelKel represented this type of organizations in Kyrgyzstan. But at present, none of the existing youth organizations is able to quickly assemble even 200 people. I am not even mentioning state youth organizations.

There is a need to cultivate young leaders, a few of whom could later become young politicians and participate in city council and parliamentary elections. We have especially high hopes for reforming the Kyrgyz election code to include elections entirely by party lists and motivate young people to [take part in] political activities. We are bearing with it only because sooner or later, the .askakals [old-style politicians] will leave and then we, young reformist politicians, will come to power. Until then, we have to work on our political image and earn small political dividends. In order to implement reforms, we have to be in power!"

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