Books on Kyrgyzstan
Update No: 317 - (30/05/07)
The daughter fights back
This Central Asian nation of 5 million people has been plagued by political
tension since street protests forced long-time President Askar Akayev out of
office in March 2005.
Bakiyev's two-year rule has been marred by allegations of corruption and
On April 28th, Akayev's daughter Bermet Akayeva said that the Supreme Court had
barred her from running in Sunday's parliamentary by-elections because she has
been mostly living abroad for the past two years. The ruling was announced
Friday, she said.
Akayeva, the only member of Akayev's family to have returned to the country
after her father's ouster, said she would appeal the ruling to the
Akayeva was elected to Parliament in the same flawed 2005 elections that
triggered the uprising that drove her father from power. Following a later court
decision, she lost her seat for buying votes.
Kyrgyz authorities release opposition leaders after 4-day detention
Three opposition leaders who were detained following a police crackdown on an
anti-government rally have been released, Kyrgyz authorities said on April 28th.
The three, who included former Interior Minister Omurbek Suvanaliyev, were freed
after four days in custody, said Prosecutor General Elmurza Satybaldiyev.
The three, however, remain under investigation on suspicion of organizing mass
disorder and are prohibited from leaving the country, Satybaldiyev said.
The arrests, made after police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse
protesters outside President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's headquarters, prompted protests
by civil rights groups.
They were also criticized by Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev.
The Kyrgyz conundrum
On a recent visit to Kyrgyzstan, the Kazak president Nazarbayev dangled the
prospect of increased investments in return for a commitment from Kyrgyz leaders
to forswear political infighting.
Nazarbayev's motives aren't purely altruistic. They are rooted in pragmatism: he
is interested in taking preventative action that defends Kazakstan's economic
interests. Perhaps the greatest threat today to the continuation of Kazakstan's
economic boom is instability in neighbouring countries, a trend that could
potentially fuel radical Islam, produce a refugee crisis and/or cause
disruptions to existing export routes.
During his April 25-26 trip to Bishkek, Nazarbayev delivered a clear message to
his Kyrgyz counterpart, Kurmanbek Bakiyev: Focus on developing Kyrgyzstan's
economy, and the severity of political problems will begin to fade. "We
propose Kazakstan's experience of development and modernization, which only
comes in conditions of stability. Investment does not come to an unstable
country," Nazarbayev said in remarks broadcast by Kazakstan's state-owned
Khabar TV. Kazakstan is "ready to invest billions of dollars in
Kyrgyzstan's economy," provided that Kyrgyzstan demonstrates a greater
degree of political maturity, Nazarbayev added.
The failure of Bakiyev's administration to heed his warning could have dire
consequences, Nazarbayev said. Speaking in an interview given jointly to Khabar
and Kyrgyz state TV, Nazarbayev adopted an unprecedented stance of bluntly
commenting on Kyrgyz domestic political matters. "First, all [the factions]
must sit at the negotiating table, second, one must respect authorities who have
been elected by the people, and these authorities must use their power to
establish order in the country in a democratic and lawful way," Nazarbayev
"If neither the first nor the second solutions are accepted, Kyrgyzstan
will be left with the alternative of being the same as Afghanistan was in its
time: disturbances, anarchy -- everybody will do whatever he wants to --
extremism, terrorism, drugs trafficking -- all this. In this case, Kyrgyzstan
will turn into an enclave of instability," Nazarbayev continued. "Does
anybody really want this? I would rather not wish this on the Kyrgyz
As a means of encouragement, Nazarbayev offered $100 million dollars in
humanitarian aid for Kyrgyzstan, as well as wheat and fuel supplies. Kazakstan
is already Kyrgyzstan's largest investor, with $300 million invested in the
economy, accounting for 30 percent of total investment. With trade between the
two countries standing at $400 million in 2006, there appears to be room for
growth in economic cooperation, Nazarbayev said, pointing to Kazakstan's
business interests in Georgia as an example.
To attract further Kazakstani investment, Kyrgyzstan will not only have to forge
a more stable political environment, the president and parliament in Bishkek
will need to cooperate on the adoption of legislation that enhances investor
rights. Amid their power struggle, Bakiyev and his parliamentary foes largely
ignored policymaking and implementation responsibilities. In a report, titled
Asian Development Outlook 2007, the Asian Development Bank pointed to political
instability as a factor that "distracted [Kyrgyz] authorities and hampered
structural reforms, including the passage of key economic legislation."
In response, Bakiyev told Nazarbayev that trade and economic cooperation with
Kazakstan was one of his administration's top foreign policy priorities. Bakiyev
acknowledged existing deficiencies in Kyrgyzstan's investment framework and
expressed a commitment to closing legal gaps that hamper the country's ability
to attract foreign capital. In addition, the two presidents signed a joint
statement calling for an expansion of political and economic relations. It
specifically called for closer cooperation in combating terrorism, organized
crime, drug-trafficking and illegal migration. It also contained a provision for
joint action in "preventing threats to each other's independence,
sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Nazarbayev and Bakiyev agreed to set up an interstate council for discussing
bilateral issues. Some regional experts saw the council's creation as a step
toward the establishment of a Central Asian union, a concept that Nazarbayev has
championed of late.
There was one concrete outcome of Nazarbayev's visit -- the establishment of a
joint venture involving state-owned companies from Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan and
Russia. The new venture is expected to finish construction on two hydroelectric
power stations located on the Naryn River -- Kambarata 1 and Kambarata 2 - the
Kazakstan Today news agency reported.
Analysts in Kazakstan generally lauded Nazarbayev's trip as a diplomatic victory
for Kazakstan and for the president personally, burnishing his image as a power
broker, and possibly boosting the country's bid to chair the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2009. "I think that one of the
priority goals of the visit was to show the leadership capacity of Kazakstan in
Central Asia; to send a message to the international community that Kazakstan is
willing to contribute its resources to [promote the] political and economic
stability of its neighbours," Anuar Ayazbekov, a research fellow at the
Institute for Economic Strategies-Central Asia, told EurasiaNet.
Ayazbekov and others noted that Nazarbayev, while proffering possible solutions
to Kyrgyzstan's political woes, was careful not to get too deeply involved in
the internal affairs of a neighbouring state. "Even if the visit was
planned to show support for Bakiyev, it was done in a very careful manner,"
Ayazbekov said. "Kazakstan's foreign office certainly realizes that
extending support only to one political group in Kyrgyzstan can entail long-term
consequences in the event of change of the regime."
Nazarbayev had originally planned to make an address in Kyrgyzstan's parliament,
which contains many of Bakiyev's strongest opponents, but he ended up not
appearing before MPs. "It clearly was a wise decision, since during [such
a] meeting a lot of politically sensitive issues that concern the elites of both
Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan could have been raised by radical MPs," Ayazbekov
Bakiyev, ultimately, might have benefited more from the visit than Nazarbayev,
suggested Dosym Satpayev, the director of the Assessment Risks Group consultancy
in Almaty. "Bakiyev needed this more politically. He wants to show he is in
control of the situation in the country," Satpayev said.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan to bolster economic & trade ties
During a trip to Bishkek recently, Kazak president, Nursultan Nazarbayev urged
his Kyrgyz counterpart to focus on developing Kyrgyz's economy and the severity
of political problems will gradually fade. He announced plans to invest heavily
in the Kyrgyz economy and in turn expected the Kyrgyz leaders to forswear
political infighting, Irinnews reported.
Nazarbayev said that Kazakstan is ready to invest billions of dollars in
Kyrgyzstan's economy provided that Kyrgyzstan demonstrates a greater degree of
political maturity. The failure of Bakiyev's administration to heed his warning
could have dire consequences, Nazarbayev said. He adopted an unprecedented
stance of bluntly commenting on Kyrgyz domestic political matters. "First,
all the factions must sit at the negotiating table, second, one must respect
authorities who have been elected by the people, and these authorities must use
their power to establish order in the country in a democratic and lawful
way," Nazarbayev said. He went on to say that if the first and second
solutions are not accepted then Kyrgyzstan will be left with the alternative of
being the same as Afghanistan where disturbances, anarchy, extremism, terrorism
and drugs trafficking prevails. Nazarbayev offered 100 million Euro in
humanitarian aid for Kyrgyzstan, as well as wheat and fuel supplies. Kazakstan
is already Kyrgyzstan's largest investor, with 300 million Euro invested in the
economy, accounting for 30 percent of total investment. The trade between the
two countries reached 400 million Euro in 2006.
Govt takes over Taldy-Bulak gold project
The government of Kyrgyzstan has decided to take over control of the project to
develop the Taldy-Bulak Levoberezhny gold deposit, the government press service
told Interfax News Agency.
"If the joint venture Altynken does not carry out measures by the deadline,
the government plans to revoke the licence on May 1 and offer the rights to
develop the Taldy-Bulak Levoberezhny deposit at a tender," the press
Altynken, a joint venture between Kyrgyzaltyn and Kazakstan's Summer Gold, has
still not presented the plans for the development of the deposit and the
concentration plant to the relevant authorities, the press service said. The
head of the State Geology and Mineral Resources Agency, Vladimir Zubkov told
Interfax that, under the April 7, 2006 licence agreement, the deadline for
submitting the technical designs, with environmental and technical approval by
the authorities, is April 30, 2007
"As far as we know, Altynken is confident that they'll make it by this
deadline," he said. According to the agency's report for 2006, the
paperwork has been signed for the amicable settlement of the problem concerning
the change of strategic investors in the project, and all the primary
documentation and documentation prepared with the previous investor have been
acquired. The process of intensive design work and construction to prepare mine
infrastructure (access roads, power lines) has begun. The active phase of mine
construction is expected to begin in 2007, and the mine is expected to come on
stream at the end of 2008 or start of 2009. The licence to the deposit was
previously held by Taldy-Bulak Mining Co.