Breaking!: Kyrgyz opposition claims control!

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Rage, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

    Feb 23, 2009
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    Kyrgyzstan opposition sets up 'people's government'

    21:19 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 22:19 UK

    Russia Today video:

    The opposition in Kyrgyzstan says it is setting up a "people's government" after deadly clashes left dozens dead.

    The opposition said Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov had agreed to resign but President Kurmanbek Bakiyev has yet to do so.

    The whereabouts of President Bakiyev are not clear but reports say that he has flown out of the capital, Bishkek.

    Protests at rising prices, corruption and the arrest of opposition leaders had erupted in three cities.

    Kyrgyzstan is a strategically important Central Asian state and houses a key US military base that supplies forces in Afghanistan. Russia also has a base there.

    The United States said it deplored the violence and urged "respect for the rule of law". It also said it believed the government was still in control.

    Russian PM Vladimir Putin denied that Moscow had played any role in the unrest, saying it was a "domestic affair" and that there should be "restraint".

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the protests showed the "outrage at the existing regime".

    A spokesman for Ban Ki-moon said the UN secretary general was "shocked by the reported deaths and injuries that have occurred today in Kyrgyzstan. He urgently appeals for dialogue and calm to avoid further bloodshed".

    Gunfire is continuing into the night in Bishkek with shops set alight.

    The BBC's Rayhan Demytrie in Bishkek says there is widespread looting, with hundreds of protesters moving from one store to another.

    The Kyrgyz health ministry said 40 people had died in the clashes and more than 400 were injured.

    But the opposition says that is far too low. In a broadcast on a TV channel it took over, spokesman Omurbek Tekebayev said at least 100 demonstrators had been killed.

    The opposition used its channel to say that it was setting up a government that would be headed by former foreign minister, Rosa Otunbayeva.

    Ms Otunbayeva said in a broadcast: "Power is now in the hands of the people's government. Responsible people have been appointed and are already working to normalise the situation."

    The Associated Press news agency reported that an opposition leader had taken over the National Security Agency, the successor to the Soviet KGB.

    But Galina Skripkina, of the opposition Social-Democratic Party, told Reuters news agency that the president had not yet resigned.

    "He must... formally submit his resignation to parliament so we can appoint a caretaker government," she said.

    Reuters also quoted the Kyrgyz border control as saying the frontier with Kazakhstan had been closed.

    Agence France-Presse says the US has suspended military flights at its base in Kyrgyzstan.


    The whereabouts of the president remain unknown. Opposition figures said he had flown out of Bishkek and had landed in the southern city of Osh.

    Mr Bakiyev came to power amid a wave of street protests in 2005 known as the Tulip Revolution, but many of his allies have deserted him claiming intimidation and corruption.

    The unrest had broken out in the provincial town of Talas on Tuesday and spread to Bishkek and another town, Naryn, on Wednesday. All three were put under curfew.

    Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongatiyev, who was believed to have gone to Talas to calm the situation, was reportedly severely beaten.

    Some reports said he had been killed by the mob, others that he was taken hostage, but there is no confirmation of his fate.

    The violence may also have been exacerbated by the arrest of several opposition leaders, including Temir Sariyev, who was detained after arriving on a flight from Moscow on Wednesday. He was freed by protesters on Wednesday.

    Police in Bishkek initially used tear gas and stun grenades to try to disperse protesters.

    But the demonstrators overcame the police and marched to the presidential offices in the city centre.

    Police cars were overturned and set alight and officers attacked by the crowd.

    Gunfire could be heard crackling through the centre of Bishkek. The prosecutor's office was also set alight.

    Courtesy: The BBC


    Crazy ongoings in the C.A.R. Interested particularly in discussing this with respect to the war in Afghanistan.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  3. VersusAllOdds

    VersusAllOdds Regular Member

    Mar 31, 2010
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    Belgrade, Serbia
    It was a true rebellion. I know how those protesters felt, because I took part on 2 similar protests in my life, just a lot less violent than those.
    Kyrgystan's falling government was one of the most corrupted in the world. I saw shows about their monstrous torturing prisons for "terrorists suspects" and stuff.
    Hope those people have a better life from now on...
  4. nandu

    nandu Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 5, 2009
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    Russia throws weight behind provisional Kyrgyz govt.

    Russia on Thursday threw its weight behind the provisional Kyrgyz government, which took power in the capital and several regions of the ex-Soviet Central Asian state after two days of violent protests in which 74 people died and more than 500 were injured.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with Kyrgyz opposition-nominated premier Roza Otunbayeva, who asked Moscow for economic assistance, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    "It is important to note that the conversation was held with Otunbayeva in her capacity as the head of a national confidence government," Peskov said. He said Putin told Otunbayeva that Russia was ready to offer humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan.

    In 2009, Russia allocated a $2 billion soft loan to Kyrgyzstan and $150 million in financial assistance. The leaders of both countries denied suggestions that the loan was linked to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's plans to close a U.S. military base located a short distance from the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

    Otunbayeva declared earlier on Thursday that her provisional government was dismissing parliament and taking over from Bakiyev and his government.

    She told a press conference the provisional government will work for six months to stabilize the situation, prepare changes in the constitution and hold presidential elections. The opposition accuses Bakiyev of mishandling the impoverished country and encouraging nepotism.

    The protests began in the northwestern Kyrgyz town of Talas on Tuesday after a few opposition leaders were arrested, and spread to other regions of the country, including Bishkek, on Wednesday. On Thursday, they are still ongoing.

    Later the arrestees were released but it did not stop the protests. National TV, parliament and government buildings were seized by protestors. They also burnt Bakiyev's residence in Bishkek. Kyrgyz media reported on Thurdday that crowds are smashing up ex-premier Daniyar Usenov's house in Bishkek.

    Opposition claims to be in control

    Kyrgyzstan's government formed by the opposition said Thursday the country's armed forces, border guards and police have moved over to the opposition side.

    Otunbayeva said the opposition, whose powerbase is in the north of the country, controls four out of Kyrgyzstan's seven regions. She added that President Bakiyev has not given up his post and is trying to organize resistance in the country's south where he traditionally has more support.

    "The situation with Bakiyev remains unclear. He has not resigned and is in Jalal-Abad now. He is trying to consolidate the electorate to continue resistance," Otunbayeva said.

    Another former Kyrgyz premier Felix Kulov, who leads the Ar-Namys opposition party, said on Thursday that Bakiyev has to resign and go on trial and called for amendments in the constitution and restricted presidential power in the republic.

    "There can be no doubt that the order to shoot to kill was given by President Bakiyev, who controlled all law enforcement organizations in the country. Dozens of our compatriots were killed and hundreds wounded. Kurmanbek Bakiyev [...] has no moral or legal right to remain on his post," a statement from Kulov's party said.

    "The Ar-Namys party believes that [...] it is necessary to start the process of constitutional reform to restrict the exclusive power of the head of state [...] We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past when one person usurped power," the statement said.

    Otunbayeva said the provisional government has abolished the country's development, investment and innovation agency that was until recently headed by Bakiyev's younger son Maxim. The agency controlled almost all financial flows coming to the republic from abroad.

    Otunbayeva's deputy Temir Sariyev said Kyrgyzstan's national bank will temporarily manage a number of banks previously run by Bakiyev's entourage. "This was done to stop funds being pumped out of the republic," he said.

    Several thousand supporters of Bakiyev gathered for a rally in the southern city of Jalal-Abad in expectation of a speech from the president, a source in the city's authorities told RIA Novosti. Bakiyev has made no statements so far, but Kyrgyz ambassador to Russia Raimkul Attakurov said he will soon address the nation.

    "[President Bakiyev] has not made any statement on his resignation. A presidential address to the nation is being drafted and will be made public as soon as possible," the ambassador said.

    Attakurov said Bakiyev is in the south of Kyrgyzstan. The opposition says he is in Jalal-Abad and earlier reports said he was in Osh. Both are towns in the south of the country.

    Unrest continues

    A RIA Novosti correspondent at the scene reported on Thursday that crowds have set fire to and looted parts of the government headquarters in capital Bishkek.

    Around 1,000 people gathered in the square in front of the building and looters carried equipment and carpets out of the building. Smoke could be seen rising from the sixth and seven floors, where the presidential offices are.

    A blood-splattered portrait of Bakiyev was hanging from a fence in front of the government building.

    Fires raged across the city and shops have been looted. Similar scenes have been reported throughout the country.

    The opposition called for calm and urged people to stop looting.

    Despite the chaos, Bishkek mayor Nariman Tuleyev has said that vital services would be maintained. Street sweepers, out as usual on Thursday morning, could be seen clearing up the debris from three days of violent protests.

    Major political unrest started in Kyrgyzstan last month when the opposition forces accused the government of tightening its grip on power while failing to bring stability and economic growth.

    Opposition supporters on Wednesday seized a number of state organizations in Bishkek. The government and opposition leaders held talks, but the Kabar news agency reported that they failed.


    Both Russia and the United States both have military bases in Kyrgyzstan and have taken a keen interest in the events there.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that the clashes in Kyrgyzstan were an extreme form of public protest and called the Central Asian country Russia's strategic partner.

    Russian premier Putin called on the Kyrgyz government and opposition to restrain from violence. Putin also denied claims by a number of Kyrgyz opposition leaders that he had expressed support for the protestors. He said Russia has played no role in the events in Kyrgyzstan.

    The United States expressed concern over the mass disorders in the country and said it was closely watching the situation. It also called on all sides to refrain from violence and display restraint.

    Kyrgyzstan has been unstable since Bakiyev took office after the so-called tulip revolution in 2005, but major political unrest began in Kyrgyzstan last month when opposition forces accused the government of tightening its grip on power while failing to bring stability and economic growth.

    Kyrgyzstan's first post-Soviet president Askar Akayev, who was toppled in 2005 by Bakiyev, said on Thursday that the country's south, where Bakiyev traditionally has most support, is not likely to back Bakiyev, whose rule has been marred by economic problems, high-profile murders, prison riots and disputes over the control of lucrative businesses.

    "I don't think there will be a civil war. The south will not back Bakiyev, I don't think there is any confrontation between the north and the south as the protest mood is also strong in the south," Akayev said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

    Otunbayeva was one of the key figures of the 2005 tulip revolution, which led to the overthrow of then President Akayev.

    On Wednesday, Putin criticized Bakiyev's policies, saying he had repeated mistakes made by his predecessor Akayev.

    Akayev said Thursday protests in Kyrgyzstan will not lead to a civil war and the situation in the country may normalize within a few days.

    A Russian Air Force spokesman, Vladimir Drik, said on Thursday that the Russian airbase in Kant, around 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, is functioning normally.

    "The airbase is operating under a routine training schedule. No incidents have been registered involving Russian air garrison personnel. No one has been injured," Drik said.

    Russian General Staff chief Nikolai Makarov said Russia has sent some 150 paratroopers to its Kant airbase to ensure the safety of the families of Russian military staff.

    Earlier a source in Russia's Defense Ministry said the Russian airbase was on high alert, while the U.S. Department of State said the airbase in Kyrgyzstan's Manas, used by the United States for its operations in Afghanistan, is continuing to function normally.

    Kyrgyz news agency Kabar reported on Thursday that the Kyrgyz provisional government will announce on Saturday, April 10, a day of national mourning for those killed during protests.

    Meanwhile, reports said a militia was being formed in Bishkek.
  5. GokuInd

    GokuInd Regular Member

    Mar 31, 2009
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    From one revolution to another....

    Q&A: Kyrgyzstan’s Rebellion


    Russia Sends Paratroopers to Air Base in Kyrgyzstan

    Russia is sending paratroopers to its Kant military base in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan as the Kremlin gave its support for the self-declared provisional government, Russian news service Ria Novosti reported Thursday.

    The approximately 150 paratroopers' goal is to protect the families of Russian military staff in Kyrgyzstan, Ria Novosti quoted General Staff chief Nikolay Makarov, after protests in the capital of Bishkek left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.

    "The president has decided to send two companies of paratroopers there and some 150 people have arrived in Kant," Makarov, who is with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Prague for the signing of a new arms deal with the U.S., was quoted.

    The Russian airbase was put on high alert, according to Defense Ministry sources, while the U.S. said its Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan is continuing to function.

    Russia's Kant base, 12 miles east of Bishkek, has been operating since 2003 and has some 400 Russian military personnel.

    Russia is supporting the new provisional Kyrgyz government, opposition protesters who took power in the capital and several other regions in the ex-Soviet republic, according to Ria Novosti. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reportedly spoke to the new opposition premier, Roza Otunbayeva, who requested economic support from Russia.

    "It is important to note that the conversation was held with Otunbayeva in her capacity as the head of a national confidence government," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Ria Novosti.

    Russia is ready to assist Kyrgyzstan with humanitarian aid.

    Otunbayeva, the former foreign minister, said parliament was dissolved and she would head the interim government. She said the new government controlled four of the seven provinces and called on President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to resign. She said he had fled Bishkek to seek support in the central Jalal-Abad region.

    Thousands of protesters have clashed with security forces throughout the country in the last two days, driving out local governments and seizing government headquarters.

    Otunbayeva told a press conference the provisional government will work for six months to stabilize the situation, prepare changes in the constitution and hold presidential elections.

    Since coming to power in 2005 amid street protests known as the Tulip Revolution, Bakiyev had ensured a measure of stability, but the opposition said he did so at the expense of democratic standards while enriching himself and his family.

    He gave his relatives, including his son, top government and economic posts and faced the same accusations of corruption and cronyism that led to the ouster of his predecessor, Askar Akayev. Many protesters were also outraged at huge hikes in prices for electricity and gas heating that went into effect in January.

    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    As President Kurmanbek Bakiyev confronts a political crisis in Kyrgyzstan, he is not getting any help from Moscow. If anything, the Kremlin appears intent on turning up the heat on the embattled Kyrgyz leader.

    Gasoline and diesel prices are now set to rise sharply in Kyrgyzstan after Moscow suddenly slapped new customs duties on refined petroleum products being exported to the Central Asian nation. Prices for refined products could rise as much as 30 percent, stoking fears that inflation might further destabilize the already troubled Kyrgyz economy.

    On April 1, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin terminated the preferred customs duties that Kyrgyzstan, as a member of the Eurasian Economic Community (the EurAsEC), had been receiving on Moscow’s gasoline and diesel exports. The apparent justification for the move is the fact that the EurAsEC is being eclipsed by a new Customs Union, comprising Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The Customs Union is set to become fully functional this coming July.

    It remains unclear if similar energy-export duties will be applied to Russian petrol destined for Tajikistan, which, like Kyrgyzstan, is a member of the EurAsEC, but is not in the Customs Union.

    Many political experts in Bishkek believe Moscow is punishing Bakiyev for his administration’s failure to evict American forces from the Manas air base, outside of Bishkek. In what most observers saw as a quid pro quo, Moscow promised a $2.15 billion aid package in February 2009 on the same day Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev pledged to close the base. The Americans, however, remain at Manas. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

    On April 6, a mass protest that turned violent in the provincial capital of Talas, northwest of Bishkek, appeared to usher in a general political crisis in Kyrgyzstan. The demonstration was apparently triggered by popular discontent over price hikes for heating and electricity. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. The inflationary threat posed by the new Russian duties certainly stands to increase the degree of difficulty for the Bakiyev administration as it strives to contain the unrest.

    Bilateral Kyrgyz-Russian relations have nosedived in recent months. After publicly criticizing the way the first tranche of its $2.15 billion aid package was used, Moscow in February postponed $1.7 billion intended to help construct the Kambarata-1 hydroelectric station. "This [the new export duties] is a special decision by Russia. It is one of the steps for punishing Kyrgyzstan for disobedience in the geopolitical arena. The first step was stopping the rest of the Russian loan, and this is the next," said Zamir Osorov, an investigative journalist with the MSN newspaper in Bishkek. "This will be very unpleasant for Kyrgyzstan."

    Political analyst Alexander Knyazev, an expert at the Bishkek branch of the CIS Institute, suggested that the Kremlin could be planning additional retaliatory steps. "This [the duties] is connected both with the work of the Customs Union and the further deterioration of Kyrgyz-Russian relations, and this is only the beginning," Knyazev told

    The increase "will seriously affect Bakiyev’s position. The protest mood based on social-economic reasons is strong and is increasing among ordinary people, and the expected rise [in prices] of basic commodities and products will heighten the anti-Bakiyev mood," Knyazev added.

    Bazarbai Mambetov, president of the Oil Traders Association of Kyrgyzstan, told that oil shipments from Russia to Kyrgyzstan were suspended on April 1. The next day, Russian authorities instituted duties of $193.5 per ton for gasoline and diesel fuel exported to Kyrgyzstan, the AKIpress news service reported on April 5. That could translate into a price hike of almost 30 percent and a corresponding jump in inflation, predicted Sergey Ponomarev, the executive director of the Association of Markets, Trade and Services Sectors in Kyrgyzstan, the RIA Novosti reported.

    The Kyrgyz Ministry of Economic Regulations contends that Moscow did not officially inform Bishkek about the introduction of the duties, AKIpress reported on April 5. Ministry officials in Bishkek tacitly complained about Moscow’s move, asserting that a bilateral free trade agreement signed in 1992 entitled Bishkek to keep receiving fuel products from Russia at preferential rates.

    In the weeks before the imposition of the new duties on Bishkek, Kremlin leaders were reportedly angered by reports that Kyrgyz business kingpins were buying cheap Russian fuel and then reselling it at international rates to the American military at Manas. In a visible sign of displeasure, Russia’s paramount leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, snubbed Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov during a visit to Moscow in late February.

    Russia’s Regnum news agency reported on April 4 that Usenov was told during his Moscow visit that "certain Kyrgyz citizens illegally re-exported oil products exported exclusively for use inside Kyrgyzstan. According to expert estimates, profits from such activities could amount to $35 million-$50 million per year."

    Knyazev, who is considered to have a strong connection to the Kremlin, said the fuel resale allegations likely factored heavily into Moscow’s decision to suddenly introduce the export duties. He also confirmed allegations that senior Russian officials were miffed by Bishkek’s recent attempts to obtain rent for Russia’s use of the Kant airbase outside of Bishkek.

    Aza Mihranain, an economics professor at the Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University in Bishkek, suggested that the fuel duties will take a considerable toll on Kyrgyz citizens. "This will affect Kyrgyzstan since the introduction of tariffs on oil products will affect transport costs, which will generate" inflationary pressure, she told "This is only the beginning . . . Consumers will pay for this."

    Nervous drivers in Bishkek are already reporting that the price of gas is rising. "All drivers worry the price will go up 25 percent," said a taxi driver in Bishkek. "My father uses 100 liters a day to drive his tractor during spring planting; what will he do?" In Osh, the gas price rose 3 percent overnight April 5-6.
  7. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 17, 2010
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    that can be true that's masterminded or backed by Russia to wipe out the US's Manas air base in their backyard, which have made Putin or Hu sleepless
  8. mech-e

    mech-e New Member

    Jan 11, 2010
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    what say more, the central asia should now be free of russian influence.
  9. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

    May 20, 2009
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    whoever comes into power in Kyrgyzstan,he needs the preferential loans from CHina.
  10. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

    Feb 23, 2009
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    Even more than "preferential loans" from China, he would have to strike a balance between the U.S. and Russia in their projection of geopolitical interests in the CAR.

    "Preferential loans" can be obtained from anywhere, especially when you have control over the world's financial institutions.
  11. nandu

    nandu Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 5, 2009
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    Kyrgyzstan interim government strips President Bakiyev of immunity


    Kyrgyzstan's interim government, which took power last week, has passed a decree removing the immunity of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a deputy prime minister told journalists on Tuesday.

    Azimbek Beknazarov said that effective immediately, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev had no immunity from prosecution, enabling the authorities to issue a warrant for his arrest.

    The new government issued an ultimatum to Bakiyev, who fled Bishkek last week amid violent protests by opposition supporters, to return to the capital or face arrest.

    The provisional government also suspended the Constitutional Court, Beknazarov said.

    "All this time the Constitutional Court has defied the Constitution, backing the interests of the families of [former President Askar] Akayev and [current President Kurmanbek] Bakiyev," Beknazarov said during an address to the judges.
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    A Russian-Uzbek challenge to the US
    By M K Bhadrakumar

    Reports have appeared in the Russian media doubting the pedigree of the revolution in Kyrgyzstan. Moscow seems to be edging away from the interim administration head, Roza Otunbayeva, a former Kyrgyz ambassador to London and Washington.

    The reports hint at covert United States backing for the uprising in Bishkek. They claim a drug mafia incited the latest regime change in Bishkek with covert US support - "the geostrategic interests of the US and the international narco-mafia happily merged ... It was only logical to use the services of narco-barons to overthrow [former president Kurmanbek] Bakiyev, who demanded from the US more and more payments for his loyalty".

    A Russian commentator told Ekho Moscow radio, "The revolution

    in Kyrgyzstan was organized by the drug business." Kyrgyzstan is a hub of drug trafficking. The acreage of poppy cultivation in Kyrgyzstan has exponentially increased and is comparable today to Afghanistan.

    There have been reports in the Russian (and Chinese) press linking the US base in Manas with drug barons. Iranian intelligence captured the Jundallah terrorist leader, Abdulmalik Rigi, when he was traveling in a Kyrgyz aircraft en route to an alleged rendezvous in Manas.

    The Russian media leaks enjoy some degree of official blessing. They highlight circumstantial evidence questioning the nature of the revolt in Bishkek. Meanwhile, the influential think-tank Stratfor has rushed the interpretation alleging a Russian hand. Between these claims and counter-claims, Moscow seems to be veering to the assessment that Washington has benefited from Otunbayeva's political consolidation in Bishkek.

    As a Russian commentator put it, "There are further indications that Moscow is cautious about the new Kyrgyz administration ... The truth is that there are no 100% pro-Russian politicians in Kyrgyzstan's interim government ... and quite a few of them are definitely associated with the West."

    Indeed, Otunbayeva told the Washington Post and Newsweek that the US lease on the Manas air base would be extended "automatically" and that "we will continue with such long-term relations" with the US.

    US Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia Robert Blake said in Bishkek after two days of consultations with Otunbayeva that her leadership offered "a unique and historic opportunity to create a democracy that could be a model for Central Asia and the wide region".

    Blake hailed the regime change in Bishkek as a "democratic transition" and promised US aid to "find quick ways to improve the economic and social situation".

    The sporadic attacks on ethnic Russians in Kyrgyzstan (estimated to number 700,000) have also set alarm bells ringing in Moscow. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the military to take necessary measures. A Kremlin spokesman said these would include increased security for "Russian interests" in Kyrgyzstan.

    Moscow seems unsure whether the attacks on the Russians are isolated incidents. An overall slide toward anarchy is palpable with armed gangs taking the law into their hands and the clans in southern Kyrgyzstan rooting for Bakiyev's reinstatement. At any rate, Medvedev manifestly changed tack on Tuesday after talks with visiting Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov. He clearly distanced Russia from identifying with Otunbayeva's interim government. Medvedev said:
    Essentially, we need to revive the state, the state does not exist at this time, it has been deposed. We are hoping that the interim administration will make all the necessary measures to achieve that, as anarchy will have a negative effect on the interests of the Kyrgyz people and also their neighbors. Legitimization of the authorities is extremely important, which means there need to be elections, not a de facto fulfillment of powers. Only in this case can [Russia's] economic cooperation be developed.

    Russia has extended humanitarian assistance to Kyrgyzstan, but full-fledged economic cooperation will be possible only after the proper institutions of power have been created. Uzbekistan's president shares this view.
    The joint Russian-Uzbek stance challenged the interim government not to regard itself as a legally constituted administration, no matter Washington's robust backing for it.

    Clearly, Moscow and Tashkent are pushing Otunbayeva to not make any major policy decisions (such as over the US Manas base). She should instead focus on ordering fresh elections that form a newly elected government.

    Otunbayeva had indicated her preference for far-reaching constitutional reforms to be worked out first that would transform Kyrgyzstan into a parliamentary democracy from the current presidential system of government. Moscow sees this as a ploy by the interim government to postpone elections and cling onto power with US backing.

    Meanwhile, Bakiyev, who fled to Kazakhstan last weekend, has since shifted to Belarus. It is unclear whether Minsk acted on its own to give asylum to Bakiyev. Soon after reaching Minsk, Bakiyev announced that he hadn't yet resigned from office. "There is no power which will make me resign from the presidential post. Kyrgyzstan will not be anyone's colony," he said. Bakiyev called on world leaders not to recognize Otunbayeva's government.

    Bakiyev's stance puts Washington in a bind. The US got along splendidly with Bakiyev and it is getting into stride equally splendidly with Otunbayeva. But it has no means of persuading Bakiyev to agree to a lawful, orderly transition of power to Otunbayeva.

    Nor can Washington politically underwrite Otunbayeva's government if its legitimacy is doubted in the region (and within Kyrgyzstan itself). Besides, Otunbayeva is not acquitting herself well in stemming the country's slide toward clan struggle, fragmentation and anarchy.

    During his two-day visit to Moscow, Karimov made it clear that Tashkent took a dim view of the regime change in Bishkek.

    Using strong language, Karimov said, "There is a serious danger that what's happening in Kyrgyzstan will take on a permanent character. The illusion is created that it's easy to overthrow any lawfully elected government." He warned that instability in Kyrgyzstan may "infect" other Central Asian states.

    Russia and Uzbekistan have found it expedient to join hands. Medvedev stressed that his talks with Karimov in Moscow were "trusting and engaging with regard to all aspects of our bilateral relations, international and regional affairs". Karimov reciprocated, "Uzbekistan sees Russia as a reliable, trusted partner, which shows that Russia plays a critical role in ensuring peace and stability throughout the world, but in Central Asia in particular."

    "Our viewpoints coincided completely," Karimov asserted. He added, "What is going on today in Kyrgyzstan is in nobody's interests - and above all, it is not in the interests of countries bordering Kyrgyzstan."

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also underscored the regional alignment. "Uzbekistan is the key country in Central Asia. We have special relations with Uzbekistan," he said.

    Conceivably, Russia and Uzbekistan will now expect the Kyrgyz developments to be brought onto the agenda of the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is scheduled to take place in Tashkent in June.

    A semi-official Russian commentary said, "The summit may help to work out mechanisms to ensure security in the country and in the whole region." The SCO secretary general (who is based in Beijing) visited Bishkek last week and met Otunbayeva.

    Washington faces a potential diplomatic headache here. It needs to ensure the forthcoming SCO summit doesn't becomes a replay of the 2005 summit, which questioned the raison d'etre of the American military presence in Central Asia.

    If Washington forces the pace of the great game, a backlash may ensue, which could snowball into calls for the eviction of the US from the Manas base, as some influential sections of Kyrgyz opinion are already demanding.

    If that were to happen, the big question would be whether Otunbayeva would be able to get the American chestnuts out of the fire. Hailing from the southern city of Osh but having lived her adult life in the capital, which is dominated by northern clans, she lacks a social or political base and is at a disadvantage.

    The geopolitical reality is that Kyrgyzstan has to harmonize with the interests of the regional powers - Russia and Uzbekistan in particular - as should the US, in the larger interests of regional stability. The fact remains that Russian and Uzbek (and Kazakh) influence within Kyrgyz society and politics remains preponderant. And China too has legitimate interests.

    The Kremlin will not fall into the same bear trap twice. In Georgia under somewhat similar circumstances the US took generous help from Russia in the stormy winter of 2003 to clear the debris of the "Rose" revolution and "stabilize" the ground situation before promptly installing Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been a thorn in the flesh for Moscow ever since.

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