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WATCH: RFE/RL At CSIS, Open Society Foundations

PRAGUE -- On April 16 and 17, the Director of RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, Venera Djumataeva, spoke at two events in Washington. Streamed video of both are shared below.

On Monday, April 16, Djumataeva discussed the implications of President Almazbek Atambayev’s return to politics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) with CSIS Central Asia expert Jeffrey Mankoff.

On Tuesday, April 17, she spoke at the book launch of Jeffrey B. Lilley’s Have the Mountains Fallen? Two Journeys of Loss and Redemption in the Cold War, at the Open Society Foundations, alongside Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL's Washignton-based Media Relations Manager for Asian Affairs and Host of RFE/RL’s Central Asia and South Asia podcasts Majlis and Gandhara.

Atambayev Returns: What Next for Kyrgyzstan?

Venera Djumataeva
RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service Director

Jeffrey Mankoff
Deputy Director and Senior Fellow at CSIS, Russia and Eurasia Program

Monday, April 16, 2018
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EST, 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm CET
Center for Strategic and international studies, Washington D.C.

Kyrgyzstan’s former President Almazbek Atambayev is back in politics following his unchallenged appointment as head of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) on March 31. His return to politics comes amid rumors of tensions between him and current President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, his handpicked successor elected just over 100 days ago.

In his first comment after the inauguration, the former president suggested that the presence of Jeenbekov’s brother in parliament “doesn't look good.” His comment followed an earlier decision by his top lieutenant, Farid Niyazov, to resign as President Jeenbekov's chief of staff. What is driving the apparent tension between Kyrgyzstan’s current and former presidents? And what does Atambayev's return to active politics mean for the future of the Atambayev-Jeenbekov alliance, the current Kyrgyz government, and Kyrgyzstan's political future?​

Book Launch: Have the Mountains Fallen? Two Journeys of Loss and Redemption in the Cold War

Jeffrey B. Lilley
Author, Coordinator of a British-funded parliamentary support program in Kyrgyzstan.

Muhammad Tahir
RFE/RL’s Media Relations Manager for Asian affairs in Washington, D.C., and Host of its weekly Central Asia and South Asia podcasts, Majlis and Gandhara.

Venera Djumataeva
Director of RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service.

Alex Johnson
Moderator, Senior Policy Advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 10:00 am – 11:30 am EST, 4:00-5:30 pm CET, 8:00-9:30 pm KGT
Open Society Foundations, Washington, D.C.

​​After surviving the blitzkrieg of World War II and escaping from Nazi prison camps, Soviet soldier Azamat Altay fled to the West. He was charged as a traitor in his homeland in Soviet Central Asia. Chingiz Aitmatov became a hero of Soviet Kyrgyzstan, propelled by family loss to write novels about the everyday lives of his fellow citizens.

Altay became a voice of democracy on Radio Liberty, broadcasting back into his shuttered homeland, while Aitmatov rose through the ranks of Soviet society. Yet just as they seemed to be pulled apart by the divisions of the Cold War, they found their lives intersecting in compelling ways, joined by a common mission to save their people. Through narratives of loss, love, and longing for a homeland forever changed, a clearer picture emerges of the struggle for freedom inside the Soviet Union during the Cold War.