The author remarks that if on paper Kyrgyzstan’s leaders have created institutions consistent with international conceptions of modern statehood, the main challenge as far as this country is concerned remains ― one would be tempted to say especially after the summer 2010 events . . . ― to identify the real nature of the political power system in the country. With special attention for a comparison between the Akaev and Bakiev eras, J. Engvall concludes that the predatory élite control of resources has changed from more hierarchical to vertical. At the same time, short-term predation of resources has been a permanent feature under both regimes. One of the explanations proposed by the author for this continuity, in spite of Akaev’s relative political longevity and opportunities for constructing a stable administration, is his sense of insecurity derived from the fact that he was appointed president as a compromise acceptable to powerful informal leaders.