THE EVENTS IN BISHKEK: A SECOND LOOK
"This past week saw another key success in Russia’s resurgence in former Soviet territory when pro-Russian forces took control of Kyrgyzstan.
The Kyrgyz revolution was quick and intense. Within 24 hours, protests that had been simmering for months spun into countrywide riots as the president fled and a replacement government took control. The manner in which every piece necessary to exchange one government for another fell into place in such a short period discredits arguments that this was a spontaneous uprising of the people in response to unsatisfactory economic conditions. Instead, this revolution appears prearranged.
Opposition forces in Kyrgyzstan have long held protests, especially since the Tulip Revolution in 2005 that brought recently ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to power. But various opposition groupings never were capable of pulling off such a full revolution — until Russia became involved.
In the weeks before the revolution, select Kyrgyz opposition members visited Moscow to meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. STRATFOR sources in Kyrgyzstan reported the pervasive, noticeable presence of Russia’s Federal Security Service on the ground during the crisis, and Moscow readied 150 elite Russian paratroopers the day after the revolution to fly into Russian bases in Kyrgyzstan. As the dust began to settle, Russia endorsed the still-coalescing government.
There are quite a few reasons why Russia would target a country nearly 600 miles from its borders (and nearly 1,900 miles from capital to capital), though Kyrgyzstan itself is not much of a prize. The country has no economy or strategic resources to speak of and is highly dependent on all its neighbors for foodstuffs and energy. But it does have a valuable geographic location".
Lauren Goodrich, "Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Resurgence," 13 April 2010, in www.stratfor.com
"Russia will give Kyrgyzstan a $20 mln grant and a $30 mln concessional loan to help stabilize the economic situation in the ex-Soviet republic after recent riots, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Wednesday.
Large-scale anti-government protests swept Kyrgyzstan from April 6-7, claiming the lives of 82 people and leading to the overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
The self-declared interim government urgently needs funds and fuel to normalize conditions in the impoverished Central Asian republic.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia could increase financial aid to Kyrgyzstan if necessary.
'We presume that the situation [in Kyrgyzstan] will normalize. But considering the complexity of the situation, we can increase our aid if necessary...
This, of course, is not an issue for us to judge. But considering that we have always had special relations with the Kyrgyz people, we will support our friends in Kyrgyzstan at this undoubtedly difficult time for them.'"
"Russia to provide $50 Million in Financial Assistance to Kyrgyzstan," 14 April 2010 in www.en.rian.ru.
"The United States welcomes the efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman in Office and the United Nations to work with the interim Kyrgyz government to find a peaceful resolution of the political standoff that developed. The United States remains committed to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kyrgyz Republic and to helping the courageous Kyrgyz people achieve their aspirations for developing a peaceful, economically prosperous democracy. The United States will continue to assist Kyrgyzstan in developing its social, economic and security structures and is in discussion with the interim Kyrgyz government on how best to help the country return to a democratic path".
Philip J. Crowley [American Assistant Secretary of State], "Recent Developments in
the Kyrgyz Republic," 16 April 2010, in www.state.gov.
It is relatively easy to prognosticate based upon some of the available evidence and state `a la Stratfor, that what happened in Kyrgyzstan was a 'pro-Russian' coup d'etat. And, while it is easy enough to see that Russian premier Putin, et. al., were uniformally anti-Bakiyev, and, appear to have met with some of the members of the new administration prior to this month's events, that per se, does not necessarily mean that the interim government in Bishkek is necessarily pro-Russian and anti-American. As the statement by the American Assistant Secretary of State, appears to show, the Americans while perhaps pensive and concerned about their position in Kyrgyzstan have not yet given up the ship. The Manas air base is still in use and indeed being used for supplying American forces in Afghanistan as I write these words. Obviously, for the time being and perhaps for quite awhile to come, Russia will be the primus inter pares , among outside powers. Which considering the existent that Bishkek is dependent upon Russian oil and gas supplies, as well as remittances from Kyrgy workers in Russia proper, is par for the course. At the present moment, it does not appear that Moskva wishes to oust the Americans from Manas. Whether that will change in the coming months, is impossible to say. One would imagine that would depend upon the nature of the Russo-American relations in the near future. As per the ultimate or real causation of the downfall of the Bakiyev regime, that seems to have been a result of the fact that unlike say the other Central Asian States, where a relatively stable form of authoritarian rule has emerged, Bishkek seems, for reasons perhaps to do with regionalism (the country being essentially split along 'north' versus 'south' lines), incapable of forming such a similar type of regime. Whether this fact, portends additional unrest in this part of the world is difficult to say at the present time.