On the anniversary of the uprising that toppled this former Soviet republic’s hardline leader in Kyrgyzstan, the same revolutionaries who came to power promising a new era of freedom announced they have given up on Western-style democracy. Five years ago March 24, around 1,000 angry protesters laid waste to Kyrgyzstan’s presidential compound, ousting President Askar Akayev and bringing hopes of a fresh start for this chronically poor nation. But as in Ukraine and Georgia, where peaceful revolutions raised similar hopes, dreams of sweeping change have soured. Many worry that this struggling Central Asian nation is rapidly plummeting into full-blown authoritarianism. “The world is actively discussing the shortcomings of a model of democracy based on elections and human rights,” Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev told a national assembly March 23. “There is no certainty that such a model is suitable for all countries and peoples.” (AP)

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