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University of Minnesota political science professor Kathleen Collins worked for the new leader of Kyrgyzstan's transitional government, Roza Otunbayeva (pictured above), from 1994-95.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

U of M expert on Kyrgyzstan once worked for leader of new transitional government

Base critical to U.S. operations in Afghanistan has U.S. officials watching situation closely

April 8, 2010

On April 6, protests began against corruption and economic failures of the Kyrgyzstan government headed by President Kurmanbek Bakiev. On Wednesday, April 7th, the protests grew, spread to the capital and several cities. Riot police fired at protesters Wednesday reportedly killing 74 people and injuring 400 people. President Bakiev fled and protesters seized the government and opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva said parliament had been dissolved and she would head the interim government. A University of Minnesota political science professor who can speak about the uprising is:

Kathleen Collins, professor of political science, College of Liberal Arts
Collins is an expert on Central Asian clan politics and worked for Otunbaeva from 1994-1995 and is the author of the book Clan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia.

Collins says that extreme societal discontent with the clannish and corrupt policies of the Bakiev-led government has led to this situation. The United States is concerned about the happenings in Kyrgyzstan because it leases a base just miles from the capital city center in Kyrgyzstan where the revolution is taking place. The base is critical to U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

To interview Collins, contact Patty Mattern, University News Service, or (612) 624-2801.

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Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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