Kyrgyzstan – Blogs may have it RIGHT!!!

Sorry, I still can’t let this news story about Kyrgyzstan of a week ago go.  I have too many Russian comments (hacker-wanna-bes) who get on MY blog and say stupid things in Russian.  I delete ALL their comments!!!  Apparently whatever little information I know and try to disseminate in English gets under their skin. I do a lot of scanning of the other blogs on WordPress and I have found that some other bloggers may have it right. So, whatever I quoted yesterday from a Russian writer out of Washington D.C. may be somewhat contrary to this latest perspective.  Things are swirling in the geo-political sphere and it definitely impacts us here in Kazakhstan, albeit in Astana, the northern capital of Kazakhstan!!!  We are that much closer to Russia and thus my concern. The following is what “Seeker401” wrote:

“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.

Central Asia largely comprises a massive steppe of more than a million square miles, making the region easy to invade. The one major geographic feature other than the steppe are the Tien Shan mountains, a range that divides Central Asia from South Asia and China. Nestled within these mountains is the Fergana Valley, home to most of Central Asia’s population due to its arable land and the protection afforded by the mountains. The Fergana Valley is the core of Central Asia.

To prevent this core from consolidating into the power center of the region, the Soviets sliced up the Fergana Valley between three countries. Uzbekistan holds the valley floor, Tajikistan the entrance to the valley and Kyrgyzstan the highlands surrounding the valley. Kyrgyzstan lacks the economically valuable parts of the valley, but it does benefit from encircling it. Control of Kyrgyzstan equals control of the valley, and hence of Central Asia’s core.

Moreover, the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek is only 120 miles from Kazakhstan’s largest city (and historic and economic capital), Almaty. The Kyrgyz location in the Tien Shan also gives Kyrgyzstan the ability to monitor Chinese moves in the region. And its highlands also overlook China’s Tarim Basin, part of the contentious Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Given its strategic location, control of Kyrgyzstan offers the ability to pressure Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. Kyrgyzstan is thus a critical piece in Russia’s overall plan to resurge into its former Soviet sphere.

1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Herman said,

    Although it may take an effort I would recommend you keep your ear to the rails to hear the train approaching – but also to listen to the sounds of spring coming to Astana.
    There’s a lot of dust surrounding the events in KG, so let it all settle down a bit. Both the Russian and US government have now validated the temporary government of Mrs. Roza Otunbayeva and the Kazakhstan government has weighed in with its urgency for calm. Thankfully the former president is willing to talk transition. We’ve got an earthquake in China, a disrupting volcanic outburst in Iceland, and conspiracy theories galore “to whoop it all up” (is it interconnected? is 2012 coming? are the Russians coming? or is it the Chinese? or can we just get potable water, shelter, food and medical care to all people who need it?)
    A clear eye and a cool mind will save the day! Small steps, like signs of well-being from your friends, will progress towards a stabilized situation.
    Best,
    Herman


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