Books on Kyrgyzstan
Update No: 311 - (29/11/06)
The back of beyond
Kyrgyzstan is a very poor and remote country, with few resources other than
breathtakingly beautiful scenery. One day it will doubtless become a tourist
centre for the increasingly prosperous Chinese, Koreans and Indians. But it has
not done so yet.
It is a republic of 5.2 million people that is about twice as big as Poland, is
home to a US military base that serves troops fighting in Afghanistan. The US
agreed earlier this year to extend its lease through 2007. Russia and China,
which border Kyrgyzstan, have sought to have the base removed.
The turn of the revolutionary screw
Revolutions are dangerous affairs. They put ideas into people's heads.
Kyrgyzstan had its 'Tulip revolution' in March last year. It is now threatening
to have a re-run of it.
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who came to power then, is not at all popular.
Expectations were raised that could not be easily met. Bakiyev was elected in
2005, vowing to stamp out corruption and cut the role of the presidency, after
the ``Tulip Revolution'' toppled the decade-long regime of Askar Akayev, whose
14 years of increasingly unchecked power led to graft. Bakiyev has since failed
to submit constitutional changes to strengthen parliament's powers.
Throngs of demonstrators demanding constitutional reform have created a
political crisis in Bishkek. Russian state television showed footage on November
6th of Kyrgyz law enforcement officials firing tear gas into crowds of
protesters in the capital after demonstrators threw projectiles. Protesters
began gathering outside the parliament November 2nd to demand Bakiyev allow the
legislature to appoint senior officials and make state television an independent
The opposition, which controls roughly half the 75-seat parliament, joined the
throng. The main opposition leader, Omurbek Tekebayev, addressed the crowds:
"the president has been lying endlessly to us about the constitution and we
are tired of this lying."
Bakiyev Threatens to Dismiss Parliament as Standoff Intensifies
The president said that he may dismiss parliament after a week-long standoff
with lawmakers over constitutional change in the former Soviet republic.
``Dismissing parliament isn't my goal,'' Bakiyev told journalists in remarks
later e-mailed by his press office. ''But if the clash between the executive
branch and parliament continues, I won't be able to stand on the sidelines.''
''The situation appears to be more tense than a week ago,'' said Medet
Tiulegenov, head of the Soros Foundation's Bishkek office. He said there could
be clashes between Bakiyev supporters and the protesters.
Lawmakers opposed to Bakiyev, led by members of the For Reform movement, called
a meeting in parliament to vote on a new constitution in early November. Bakiyev
said the deputies involved aimed to ''usurp power'' in the country.
Shops Start Closing
Bishkek's major shops began closing amid concern the protests may turn
violent, the Kyrgyz state news agency reported. Stores in the capital were
looted last year during the upheaval that led to Akayev's overthrow.
Bakiyev spoke to fellow Central Asian presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev of
Kazakhstan and Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan by phone regarding a summit of
Central Asian nations soon. Nazarbayev inquired about the situation in
Kyrgyzstan, according to the statement.
Kyrgyzstan int'l reserves at National Bank grow 17.4%
Gross international reserves at the National Bank of Kyrgyzstan grew 17.4
percent to 718.9 million Euro in January to September 2006 from 612.4 million
Euro on January 1, Chairman of the National Bank Marat Alapayev said at a press
conference on October 16, Interfax reported. Money supply rose 25.8 percent to
19.455 billion som in the period from 15.466 billion som after growing 1.8
percent in the same period last year, he said. The exchange rate of the national
currency grew five percent against the US dollar to 39.2373 som/one Euro on
October 1, Alapayev said. The som strengthened 1.86 percent against the US
dollar and stood at 40.8506 som/one Euro in January to September 2005. The
foreign debt stood at 2.139 billion Euro on June 1, 2006. Kyrgyzstan had an
estimated trade deficit of around 448.8 million Euro in the first nine months of
2006 compared with 225 million Euro in the same period last year, Alapayev said.
Exports increased 20.7 percent to 526.6 million Euro and imports grew 47.5
percent to around 975.3 million Euro.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Plans to expand economic, trade ties Iran-Kyrgyzstan
Head of Iran-Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Friendship Group Mohammad Qomi at a
meeting met with Kyrgyz Ambassador to Tehran Avazbek Agakhanov and called for
the expansion of mutual relations in economic and trade fields, Irinnews
reported. According to a report released by the Majlis Media Department, Qomi
pointed out the bilateral and inter-parliamentary ties between Iran and
Kyrgyzstan. He expressed hope that such cooperation will continue thanks to the
efforts of parliamentary friendship groups of the two states. Turning to the
favourable mutual bonds in trade and economic sectors, he called for broadening
of such ties. Qomi pointed to the exchange of visits between Iranian and Kyrgyz
officials in recent years and said that the political will of the heads of
states of the two countries can guarantee further bolstering of relations. For
his part, Agakhanov expressed satisfaction with the growing trend of bilateral
ties and said: "The numerous capacities in various economic, industrial and
cultural fields should be used for strengthening of such cooperation." The
Kyrgyz diplomat referred to the outcome of the last joint economic commission
meeting as positive and said that his country will cooperate with Iran to raise
the level of bilateral ties, particularly inter-parliamentary cooperation.
Gold output plummets 37.4% in 9 months
Kyrgyzstan reduced gold production 37.4 percent year-on-year in
January-September to 8,399 kilograms, the State Geology and Mineral Resources
Agency told Interfax. The agency said it had envisaged gold production falling
17.7 percent to 10,200.5 kg. Gold output in value was 12.982 billion som
(39.1245 som/one Euro), or 0.2 percent above target, due to higher gold
prices.The Kumtor Gold Company joint venture reduced gold production 40.2
percent in the nine months to 7,499 kg, which was 17.4 percent below plan.
Output in value was 5.87 billion som - slightly below a targeted 5.98 billion
som - compared with 7.063 billion som in the same period of last year. Gold
production fell here because of a pit wall slide in July and because the company
was mining lower grade ore. The state-owned Kyrgyzaltyn produced 899.9 kg of
gold in the nine months, including refined gold. Out-put in value was 709.6
million som, not including refining. The targets were 1,122.6 kg and 575.2
million som respectively. Output was 903.5 kg or 10.731 billion som (including
refining) in January-September 2005.