International Development Planning Review

Globalising homeownership: housing privatisation schemes and the private rental sector in post-socialist Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

International Development Planning Review (2015), 37, (4), 467–486.

Abstract

Research has shown how private homeownership features prominently in housing policy on a global basis. Little critique exists, however, on how property is framed in more contemporary privatisation policies unfolding in today’s post-socialist cities. Taking the case study of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, this article examines the extent to which the government and international community remain focused on homeownership to the detriment of developing policies and legislation on other housing tenure, notably rental housing. The article examines two contemporary housing programmes: the introduction of homeowner associations and the government’s approach towards informal settlements on the city’s outskirts. These two programmes are examined as an entrenchment of earlier privatisation programmes introduced in the late 1980s and 1990s which resulted in the sale of state housing and the distribution of land on the city’s outskirts. The results indicate that tenants often remain either invisible or their rights are subjugated to the owner’s interests in contemporary housing policy and legislation. Moreover, where their rights are legally recognised, a disjuncture exists between representations and the reality of property that reflect wider notions of ‘fuzzy’ post-socialist property rights.

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Dorondel, S. and Sikor, T. (2009) ‘Private property: from postsocialism to neoliberalism?’, Annuaire Roumain d’Anthropologie, 46, 55–62. Private property: from postsocialism to neoliberalism? Annuaire Roumain d’Anthropologie 46 55 62 Google Scholar

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Jermakowicz, W. W. and Pankow, J. (1994) ‘Privatization in the Kyrghyz Republic’, Warsaw, CASE (Centre for Social and Economic Research). Privatization in the Kyrghyz Republic Google Scholar

Kährik, A. (2000) ‘Housing privatization in the transformation of the housing system – the case of Tartu, Estonia’, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift (Norwegian Journal of Geography), 54, 2–11. Housing privatization in the transformation of the housing system – the case of Tartu, Estonia Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift 54 2 11 Google Scholar

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Lipman, B. J. (2012) Homeowners associations in the former Soviet Union: stalled on the road to reform, International Housing Coalition, February 2012, Washington D.C., International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World. Homeowners associations in the former Soviet Union: stalled on the road to reform Google Scholar

Maggs, P. (1961) ‘The security of individually-owned property under Soviet law’, Duke Law Journal, 10, 525–37. The security of individually-owned property under Soviet law Duke Law Journal 10 525 37 Google Scholar

Marcuse, P. (2011) ‘Commentary: post-socialist property rights: whose rights, to what and how?’, Urban Studies, 48, 605–08. Commentary: post-socialist property rights: whose rights, to what and how? Urban Studies 48 605 08 Google Scholar

Nasritdinov, E., Zhumakadyr, B. and Asanalieva, D. (2012) ‘Myths and realities of Bishkek’s novostroikas’, Paper delivered at ‘Kyrgyzstan beyond ‘democracy island’ and ‘failing state’: factoring social and political changes in a post-Soviet society’, Uppsala, Sweden, February 2012. Myths and realities of Bishkek’s novostroikas’, Paper delivered at ‘Kyrgyzstan beyond ‘democracy island’ and ‘failing state’: factoring social and political changes in a post-Soviet society Google Scholar

Ozmitel, M. (2013) Which is better - ZhKH or TSZh? http://vesti.kg/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=22407:chto-luchshe—zhkh-ili-tszh?&Itemid=80 (accessed 11 December 2013) (Russian). Google Scholar

PANGAEA (1997) Privatisation in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Pangaea. www.pangaeapartners.com (accessed 18 July 2013). Google Scholar

Parkinson, J. and Talipova, L. (2005) ‘Kyrgyz Republic: sanitation assessment and recommendations for urban upgrading of novostroykas in Bishkek and Osh’, (published report), Washington D.C., World Bank. Kyrgyz Republic: sanitation assessment and recommendations for urban upgrading of novostroykas Google Scholar

Rakodi, C. (1995) ‘Rental tenure in the cities of developing countries’, Urban Studies, 32, 791–811. Rental tenure in the cities of developing countries Urban Studies 32 791 811 Google Scholar

Reeves, M. (2011) ‘Staying put? Towards a relational politics of mobility at a time of migration’, Central Asian Survey, 30, 555–76. Staying put? Towards a relational politics of mobility at a time of migration Central Asian Survey 30 555 76 Google Scholar

Rohe, W. and Stegman, M. (1994) ‘The impact of homeownership and the social and political involvement of low-income people’, Urban Affairs Review, 30, 152–72. The impact of homeownership and the social and political involvement of low-income people Urban Affairs Review 30 152 72 Google Scholar

Ryabkov, M. (2008) ‘The north-south cleavage and political support in Kyrgyzstan’, Central Asian Survey, 3–4, 301–16. The north-south cleavage and political support in Kyrgyzstan Central Asian Survey 3–4 301 16 Google Scholar

Sikor, T. (2006) ‘Politics of rural land registration in postsocialist societies: contested titling in villages of Northwest Vietnam’, Land Use Policy, 23, 617–28. Politics of rural land registration in postsocialist societies: contested titling in villages of Northwest Vietnam Land Use Policy 23 617 28 Google Scholar

Stark, D. (1996) ‘Recombinant property in East European capitalism’, American Journal of Sociology, 101, 993–1027. Recombinant property in East European capitalism American Journal of Sociology 101 993 1027 Google Scholar

Steimann, B. (2011) Making a living in uncertainty: agro-pastoral livelihoods and institutional transformations in post-socialist rural Kyrgyzstan, Human Geography Series 26, Zurich, Switzerland, Department of Geography, University of Zurich. Making a living in uncertainty: agro-pastoral livelihoods and institutional transformations in post-socialist rural Kyrgyzstan Google Scholar

Struyk, R. (1996) ‘Housing privatization in the former Soviet Bloc to 1995’, in G. Andrusz, M. Harloe and I. Szelenyi (eds) Cities after socialism: urban and regional change and conflict postsocialist societies, Oxford, Blackwell. Housing privatization in the former Soviet Bloc to 1995 Cities after socialism: urban and regional change and conflict postsocialist societies Google Scholar

Struyk, R. and Roy. F. (2006) ‘Pre-feasibility study on housing finance in the Kyrgyz Republic’, (May 2006, Version 2, UI Project 07941) Washington D.C., Urban Institute. Pre-feasibility study on housing finance in the Kyrgyz Republic Google Scholar

Sturgeon, J.C. and Sikor, T. (2004) ‘Post-socialist property in Asia and Europe: variations on ‘fuzziness’, Conservation and Society, 2, 1–17. Post-socialist property in Asia and Europe: variations on ‘fuzziness Conservation and Society 2 1 17 Google Scholar

Temirova, A. (2010) Kyrgyzstan’s land crisis comes to a head, http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/main/2010/04/21/feature–03 (accessed 17 July 2013). Google Scholar

Thieme, S. (2012) ‘Coming home? Patterns and characteristics of return migration in Kyrgyzstan’, International Migration, 52, 127–43. Coming home? Patterns and characteristics of return migration in Kyrgyzstan International Migration 52 127 43 Google Scholar

Tighe, J. R. and Mueller, E. (2013) Affordable housing reader, Abingdon, Routledge. Affordable housing reader Google Scholar

Tokoeva, J (2013) ‘Jany Agim’: the poor who do not have their own homes, Akun, Zhamasheva and Momunaliev, http://www.vb.kg/doc/223215_jany_agym:_bednye_ne_imeushie_sobstvennogo_jilia_akyn_jamasheva_i_momynaliev.html (accessed 17 July 2013) (Russian). Google Scholar

UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) (2010) Country profiles on the housing sector: Kyrgyzstan, (ECE/HBP/157) Geneva, UNECE. Google Scholar

UN-Habitat (2003) Rental housing: An essential option for the urban poor in developing countries, UN-Habitat, Nairobi. Google Scholar

Verdery, K. (1998) ‘Property and power in Transylvania’s decollectivization’, in C.M. Hann (ed.), Property relations: renewing the anthropological tradition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 16–80. Property and power in Transylvania’s decollectivization Property relations: renewing the anthropological tradition 16 80 Google Scholar

Verdery, K. (1999) ‘Fuzzy property: rights, power and identity in Transylvania’s decollectivization’ in M Burawoy and K Verdery (eds), Uncertain transition: ethnographies of change in the postsocialist world, Oxford, Rowman and Littlefield. Fuzzy property: rights, power and identity in Transylvania’s decollectivization Uncertain transition: ethnographies of change in the postsocialist world Google Scholar

Verdery, K. (2004) ‘The property regime of socialism’, Conservation and Society, 2, 189–98. The property regime of socialism Conservation and Society 2 189 98 Google Scholar

Verdery, K. (2007) ‘After socialism’, in D. Nugent and J. Vincent (eds), A companion to the anthropology of politics, Oxford, Blackwell, 21–36. After socialism 21 36 Google Scholar

World Bank (1993) Housing: enabling markets to work, Report Number 11820, Vol. 1, Washington D.C., World Bank. Google Scholar

Abazov, R. (1999) ‘Policy of economic transition in Kyrgyzstan’, Central Asian Survey, 18, 197–223. Policy of economic transition in Kyrgyzstan Central Asian Survey 18 197 223 Google Scholar

Abazov, R. (2004) Historical dictionary of Kyrgyzstan, Oxford, The Scarecrow Press. Historical dictionary of Kyrgyzstan Google Scholar

Benda-Beckmann, F, Benda-Beckmann, K. and Griffiths, A. (2006) ‘Space and legal pluralism: an introduction’, in F. Benda-Beckmann, K. Benda-Beckmann and A. Griffiths (eds), Spatializing Law, Farnham, Ashgate. Space and legal pluralism: an introduction Spatializing Law Google Scholar

Blomley, N. (1997) ‘The properties of space: history, geography and gentrification’, Urban Geography, 18, 286–95. The properties of space: history, geography and gentrification Urban Geography 18 286 95 Google Scholar

Blomley, N. (2004) Unsettling the city: urban land and the politics of property, London, Routledge. Unsettling the city: urban land and the politics of property Google Scholar

Blomley, N. (2005) ‘Remember property?’, Progress in Human Geography, 29, 125–27. Remember property? Progress in Human Geography 29 125 27 Google Scholar

Blomley, N. and Sturgeon, J. C. (2009) ‘Property as abstraction’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 33, 564–66. Property as abstraction International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 33 564 66 Google Scholar

Cadstedt, J. (2012) ‘Tenants’ and owners’ participation in rotating savings groups and help groups: a study of housing tenure forms and social inclusion in Mwanza city, Tanzania’, International Development Planning Review, 34, 19–37. Tenants’ and owners’ participation in rotating savings groups and help groups: a study of housing tenure forms and social inclusion in Mwanza city, Tanzania International Development Planning Review 34 19 37 Google Scholar

de Soto, H. (2000) The mystery of capital, New York, Basic Books. The mystery of capital Google Scholar

Dorondel, S. and Sikor, T. (2009) ‘Private property: from postsocialism to neoliberalism?’, Annuaire Roumain d’Anthropologie, 46, 55–62. Private property: from postsocialism to neoliberalism? Annuaire Roumain d’Anthropologie 46 55 62 Google Scholar

Dübel, J., Brzeski, J. W. and Hamilton, E. (2006) Rental choice and housing realignment in transition: post-privatization challenges in the Europe and Central Asia region, Policy Research Working Paper 3884, World Bank. Rental choice and housing realignment in transition: post-privatization challenges in the Europe and Central Asia region Google Scholar

Egan, B. (2013) ‘Towards shared ownership: property, geography, and treaty making in British Columbia’, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 95, 33–50. Towards shared ownership: property, geography, and treaty making in British Columbia Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 95 33 50 Google Scholar

Feiden, P. Salcido, P. Harris, C. Dinaberg, M. and Leonardo, E. (1993) Housing privatization in the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union, Project No. 110–0008 Shelter Reform Project for the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union, US Agency for International Development Bureau of Private Enterprise Office of Housing and Urban Programmes. Housing privatization in the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union Google Scholar

Flynn, M. and Kosmarskaya, N. (2012) ‘Exploring ‘north’ and ‘south’ in post-soviet Bishkek: discourses and perceptions of rural-urban migration’, Nationalities Papers, 40, 453–71. Exploring ‘north’ and ‘south’ in post-soviet Bishkek: discourses and perceptions of rural-urban migration Nationalities Papers 40 453 71 Google Scholar

Gilbert, A. (2008) ‘Slums, tenants and home-ownership: on blindness to the obvious’, International Development Planning Review, 30, i–x. Slums, tenants and home-ownership: on blindness to the obvious International Development Planning Review 30 i x Google Scholar

Hann, C. (2007) ‘The state of the art: a new double movement? Anthropological perspectives on property in the age of neoliberalism’, Socio-Economic Review, 5, 287–318. The state of the art: a new double movement? Anthropological perspectives on property in the age of neoliberalism Socio-Economic Review 5 287 318 Google Scholar

Hatcher, C. and Balybaeva, A. (2013) Simplifying the propiska: realising the benefits of internal migration, Research Evidence for Policy No. 8, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, NCCR North-South. Simplifying the propiska: realising the benefits of internal migration Google Scholar

Hatcher, C. and Thieme, S. (2015) ‘Institutional transition: internal migration, the propiska, and post-socialist urban change in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’, Urban Studies, DOI: 101177/0042098015587252. Institutional transition: internal migration, the propiska Urban Studies Google Scholar

Hirt, S. and Petrovic, M. (2011) ‘The Belgrade wall: the proliferation of gated housing in the Serbian capital after socialism’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35, 753–77. The Belgrade wall: the proliferation of gated housing in the Serbian capital after socialism International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35 753 77 Google Scholar

Jermakowicz, W. W. and Pankow, J. (1994) ‘Privatization in the Kyrghyz Republic’, Warsaw, CASE (Centre for Social and Economic Research). Privatization in the Kyrghyz Republic Google Scholar

Kährik, A. (2000) ‘Housing privatization in the transformation of the housing system – the case of Tartu, Estonia’, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift (Norwegian Journal of Geography), 54, 2–11. Housing privatization in the transformation of the housing system – the case of Tartu, Estonia Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift 54 2 11 Google Scholar

Lemanski, C. (2011) ‘Moving up the ladder or stuck on the bottom rung? Homeownership as a solution to poverty in urban South Africa’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35, 57–77. Moving up the ladder or stuck on the bottom rung? Homeownership as a solution to poverty in urban South Africa International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35 57 77 Google Scholar

Lipman, B. J. (2012) Homeowners associations in the former Soviet Union: stalled on the road to reform, International Housing Coalition, February 2012, Washington D.C., International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World. Homeowners associations in the former Soviet Union: stalled on the road to reform Google Scholar

Maggs, P. (1961) ‘The security of individually-owned property under Soviet law’, Duke Law Journal, 10, 525–37. The security of individually-owned property under Soviet law Duke Law Journal 10 525 37 Google Scholar

Marcuse, P. (2011) ‘Commentary: post-socialist property rights: whose rights, to what and how?’, Urban Studies, 48, 605–08. Commentary: post-socialist property rights: whose rights, to what and how? Urban Studies 48 605 08 Google Scholar

Nasritdinov, E., Zhumakadyr, B. and Asanalieva, D. (2012) ‘Myths and realities of Bishkek’s novostroikas’, Paper delivered at ‘Kyrgyzstan beyond ‘democracy island’ and ‘failing state’: factoring social and political changes in a post-Soviet society’, Uppsala, Sweden, February 2012. Myths and realities of Bishkek’s novostroikas’, Paper delivered at ‘Kyrgyzstan beyond ‘democracy island’ and ‘failing state’: factoring social and political changes in a post-Soviet society Google Scholar

Ozmitel, M. (2013) Which is better - ZhKH or TSZh? http://vesti.kg/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=22407:chto-luchshe—zhkh-ili-tszh?&Itemid=80 (accessed 11 December 2013) (Russian). Google Scholar

PANGAEA (1997) Privatisation in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Pangaea. www.pangaeapartners.com (accessed 18 July 2013). Google Scholar

Parkinson, J. and Talipova, L. (2005) ‘Kyrgyz Republic: sanitation assessment and recommendations for urban upgrading of novostroykas in Bishkek and Osh’, (published report), Washington D.C., World Bank. Kyrgyz Republic: sanitation assessment and recommendations for urban upgrading of novostroykas Google Scholar

Rakodi, C. (1995) ‘Rental tenure in the cities of developing countries’, Urban Studies, 32, 791–811. Rental tenure in the cities of developing countries Urban Studies 32 791 811 Google Scholar

Reeves, M. (2011) ‘Staying put? Towards a relational politics of mobility at a time of migration’, Central Asian Survey, 30, 555–76. Staying put? Towards a relational politics of mobility at a time of migration Central Asian Survey 30 555 76 Google Scholar

Rohe, W. and Stegman, M. (1994) ‘The impact of homeownership and the social and political involvement of low-income people’, Urban Affairs Review, 30, 152–72. The impact of homeownership and the social and political involvement of low-income people Urban Affairs Review 30 152 72 Google Scholar

Ryabkov, M. (2008) ‘The north-south cleavage and political support in Kyrgyzstan’, Central Asian Survey, 3–4, 301–16. The north-south cleavage and political support in Kyrgyzstan Central Asian Survey 3–4 301 16 Google Scholar

Sikor, T. (2006) ‘Politics of rural land registration in postsocialist societies: contested titling in villages of Northwest Vietnam’, Land Use Policy, 23, 617–28. Politics of rural land registration in postsocialist societies: contested titling in villages of Northwest Vietnam Land Use Policy 23 617 28 Google Scholar

Stark, D. (1996) ‘Recombinant property in East European capitalism’, American Journal of Sociology, 101, 993–1027. Recombinant property in East European capitalism American Journal of Sociology 101 993 1027 Google Scholar

Steimann, B. (2011) Making a living in uncertainty: agro-pastoral livelihoods and institutional transformations in post-socialist rural Kyrgyzstan, Human Geography Series 26, Zurich, Switzerland, Department of Geography, University of Zurich. Making a living in uncertainty: agro-pastoral livelihoods and institutional transformations in post-socialist rural Kyrgyzstan Google Scholar

Struyk, R. (1996) ‘Housing privatization in the former Soviet Bloc to 1995’, in G. Andrusz, M. Harloe and I. Szelenyi (eds) Cities after socialism: urban and regional change and conflict postsocialist societies, Oxford, Blackwell. Housing privatization in the former Soviet Bloc to 1995 Cities after socialism: urban and regional change and conflict postsocialist societies Google Scholar

Struyk, R. and Roy. F. (2006) ‘Pre-feasibility study on housing finance in the Kyrgyz Republic’, (May 2006, Version 2, UI Project 07941) Washington D.C., Urban Institute. Pre-feasibility study on housing finance in the Kyrgyz Republic Google Scholar

Sturgeon, J.C. and Sikor, T. (2004) ‘Post-socialist property in Asia and Europe: variations on ‘fuzziness’, Conservation and Society, 2, 1–17. Post-socialist property in Asia and Europe: variations on ‘fuzziness Conservation and Society 2 1 17 Google Scholar

Temirova, A. (2010) Kyrgyzstan’s land crisis comes to a head, http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/main/2010/04/21/feature–03 (accessed 17 July 2013). Google Scholar

Thieme, S. (2012) ‘Coming home? Patterns and characteristics of return migration in Kyrgyzstan’, International Migration, 52, 127–43. Coming home? Patterns and characteristics of return migration in Kyrgyzstan International Migration 52 127 43 Google Scholar

Tighe, J. R. and Mueller, E. (2013) Affordable housing reader, Abingdon, Routledge. Affordable housing reader Google Scholar

Tokoeva, J (2013) ‘Jany Agim’: the poor who do not have their own homes, Akun, Zhamasheva and Momunaliev, http://www.vb.kg/doc/223215_jany_agym:_bednye_ne_imeushie_sobstvennogo_jilia_akyn_jamasheva_i_momynaliev.html (accessed 17 July 2013) (Russian). Google Scholar

UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) (2010) Country profiles on the housing sector: Kyrgyzstan, (ECE/HBP/157) Geneva, UNECE. Google Scholar

UN-Habitat (2003) Rental housing: An essential option for the urban poor in developing countries, UN-Habitat, Nairobi. Google Scholar

Verdery, K. (1998) ‘Property and power in Transylvania’s decollectivization’, in C.M. Hann (ed.), Property relations: renewing the anthropological tradition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 16–80. Property and power in Transylvania’s decollectivization Property relations: renewing the anthropological tradition 16 80 Google Scholar

Verdery, K. (1999) ‘Fuzzy property: rights, power and identity in Transylvania’s decollectivization’ in M Burawoy and K Verdery (eds), Uncertain transition: ethnographies of change in the postsocialist world, Oxford, Rowman and Littlefield. Fuzzy property: rights, power and identity in Transylvania’s decollectivization Uncertain transition: ethnographies of change in the postsocialist world Google Scholar

Verdery, K. (2004) ‘The property regime of socialism’, Conservation and Society, 2, 189–98. The property regime of socialism Conservation and Society 2 189 98 Google Scholar

Verdery, K. (2007) ‘After socialism’, in D. Nugent and J. Vincent (eds), A companion to the anthropology of politics, Oxford, Blackwell, 21–36. After socialism 21 36 Google Scholar

World Bank (1993) Housing: enabling markets to work, Report Number 11820, Vol. 1, Washington D.C., World Bank. Google Scholar

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Hatcher, Craig