The drift toward authoritarianism in Kyrgyzstan between the elections to the Parliament (the Zhogorku Kenesh) in February 2000 and the presidential elections on 29 October of the same year substantially impaired the country’s image as the only real Central Asian democracy. For those who had put their faith in Kyrgyzstan’s multi-party system, relative freedom of the press and wide regional autonomy, as well as the earlier democratic reputation of Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev,1 the government’s move against personal and political opponents and institutions, coupled with the enormous increase of the incumbent president’s authority, came as an unpleasant surprise.2