Books on Kyrgyzstan
Update No: 305 - (30/05/06)
Aftermath of revolution
Revolutions usually usher in a period of turbulence. A year on from Kyrgyzstan's
popular Tulip Revolution, the country has suffered widespread political
instability and parliamentary wrangling.
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev replaced former President Askar Akayev, who was
ousted in the popular uprising in March 2005, following on complaints of
corruption. Akayev and his family departed to Russia.
But Bakiyev is far from popular himself in a country that remains desperately
poor. The revolution raised expectations in a manner hard to fulfil.
Bakiyev has come under fire over concerns about the growing influence of
criminal groups on the government, and amid complaints of widespread corruption
and a sluggish economy.
In the months that followed his rise to power, following last year's political
revolution, there has been a series of high-profile killings of lawmakers,
prison riots, and highly divisive battles between competing clans for control of
Some analysts suggest Kyrgyzstan risks civil war, if President Bakiyev does not
get control of the corrupt clans, some of whose members have made their way into
the current parliament, enjoying parliamentary immunity from criminal
Mass rally to make the popular point
Meanwhile, opposition parties and civic organizations vowed to stage a mass
rally in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, to pressure President Bakiyev to step up
the fight against organized crime and to move forward with long-promised
On April 29th, it took place. Bakiyev was heckled by thousands of protesters,
just days after a major cabinet upheaval. In the protest rally in the capital
demonstrators chanted "down with thieves," demanding that President
Bakiyev deal with corrupt officials. They complained that they had seen no
improvement in their standard of living.
Bakiyev unexpectedly addressed the rally, saying the reforms he pledged would
take time to be effective and that what he called irresponsible politics would
Thirteen cabinet ministers to stay
His display of firmness may have helped him end the political crisis.
Thirteen ministers in Kyrgyzstan agreed to stay on in early May after Bakiyev
refused to accept their resignations. Only the transport and culture ministers
of the fifteen-member cabinet had failed to submit their resignations. Their
move to quit came after a parliamentary resolution had criticised the Cabinet.
But Vice Premier Adakhan Madumarov told reporters: "The president did not
accept the resignations. The president ordered each minister to work much harder
than before... The government will remain the same."
Bakiyev on his first state visit to Russia
Kyrgyzstan is a pro-Russian country by the standards of the former Soviet
Union. It helps that it has no common border with Russia and that local Russians
are well-educated by and large and make an obvious contribution to society in
the professions and business.
Bakiyev made an historic trip to Moscow, his first state visit there, just days
before the political turmoil back home.
Kumar Bekbalatov, who heads up the Bishkek office of the London-based Institute
for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), says Bakiyev's visit presented lucrative
opportunities for Russia. "In Russia, the desire is to get into the energy
sector in Kyrgyzstan. And we see Russian giant Gazprom entering the Kyrgyz
economy, at least the first statement [is] an agreement has been reached,"
he said. "Also, there have been talks of building an aluminium plant in
southern Kyrgyzstan, as well as modernizing the electric energy sector. I think
the expectation was that the visit would solidify all these agreements."
Military cooperation also figured large in the talks, especially given President
Bakiyev's warning to the United States in late April. In it, he had said that
his government could expel one-thousand US troops from a Kyrgyz base (Manas)
used to support anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, if the United States
does not agree to pay more by June 1st.
Bekbalatov says, in his view, the threat is more about trying to score political
favour with Russia than anything else. "This statement was made precisely
because of the need of President Bakiyev to show some type of at least political
loyalty, and to appease some of the [regional] concerns related to the
airbase," added Bekbalatov.
Moscow initially signed on to the increased US military presence in Central
Asia, but in recent months has shown signs of withdrawing its support. Russia
also has an airbase in Kyrgyzstan. And following his talks with Mr. Bakiyev,
President Putin made clear Russia plans to expand its military resources in
Kyrgyzstan. Putin says he looks forward to continued military-technical
cooperation with Bishkek on this issue.
Kyrgyzstan may sell hydroelectric stations
Parliamentary candidate, Bermet Akaeva, recently told Litsa newspaper about the
possibility for Kyrgyzstan to join the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
Initiative (HIPC) and also its effects, New Europe reported.
Akaeva said Kyrgyzstan might sell the cascade of Toktgul hydroelectric stations
in order to get permission to join the HIPC initiative which will lead to loss
of energy independence of the country and ability to manage its water resources.
Akaeva said if Kyrgyzstan joins the HIPC Initiative then it would turn into the
state-bankrupt, the failed-state. According to Akaeva, the current authorities
applied for assistance under the HIPC Initiative due to their "incompetence
or as a result of "revolutionary" habit to deny any achievements of
the previous power." "Unfortunately, the new power has not used the
experience and knowledge of Akaeva's team of economists; Ulan Sarbanov spent a
year in trials, and the abilities of Abildaev and Toromyrzaev are unclaimed in
their home country."
Putin, Bakiyev target for mutually beneficial ties
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Kurmanbek Bakiyev,
recently signed a joint statement to affirm "the invariable adherence to
the historical relations of friendship, alliance and strategic
The presidents welcomed the positive dynamics of "mutually beneficial
economic relations, including those between regions, as a key link in Russia-Kyrgyzstan
cooperation," the statement read. They also noted that "economic
relations still fall short of their potential and may be broadened," the
Putin and Bakiyev called for a more energetic use "of a sizable potential
for investment and cooperation with Kyrgyzstan's promising industries and the
most favoured nation status for Russian economic entities on the Kyrgyz
market," the statement said. The volume of Russian-Kyrgyz trade has
quadrupled since 2001, reaching 543 million Euro last year, Russian foreign
ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said.
Mining sector attracts investment of US$54.5m
Direct investment in geological exploration and the extractive mining sectors in
Kyrgyzstan totalled 2,245 billion som (US$54.5 million) in 2005, the head of the
State Geology and Mineral Resources Agency, Vladimir Zubkov said, Interfax News
Agency reproted, citing the agency's revised figures.
Exploration spending totalled 1,278 billion som (US$31.0 million) last year, and
967.7 million som (US$23.5 million) was invested in extractive sectors. This
included 2,062 billion som of foreign investment and 182.9 million som of
domestic investment. Zubkov said 138 million som was spent on oil and gas
exploration, 1,129 billion som on gold exploration and 10.5 million som on
exploration for other mineral resources.