Posts tagged Bakiev

Kyrgyzstan – Snatches of news from my Bishkek friends

You know you are reporting the truth about Kyrgyzstan events when you can’t even get certain social networking mediums to publish your blog.  You know your blog is effective in getting the word out when the powers that be shut you down temporarily. For example, I unsuccessfully tried to access an American friend’s blog, he teaches at the westernized university in Bishkek.  He earlier reported that he couldn’t access his bank account after the “revolution” and may have lost over a thousand dollars.  He claimed his bank wouldn’t give funds to people until 3-6 months from now.  He knows it is gone for good.  So today I can’t get to his blog to quote him exactly as to what he is experiencing.  Revolutions hurt everyone. However, I have two other friends I’m quoting snatches from their up close experience with the un-Tulip like revolution last week.  The following is from a dear, young Kyrgyz friend of mine.  She wrote what her Kyrgyz family went though while she was in the U.S. at the time:

“Mom is good. It was a pretty terrifying experience for them and for me being worried about them those 2 days…So, they could hear all the shootings and screaming. It was pretty scary. But things are back to normal they said. Mom was quite worried about the fear of civil war. But I am tremendously relieved to see Ms. Rosa Otunbaeva as the head. I believe in her. And today, Bakiev left the country and officially resigned! Such a relief. Now the country can start focusing on the real work on hands – development of the country economically and democratically.”

From another American friend on the ground in Bishkek what he wrote recently:

Times of crisis bring times of opportunity….Although the tragic events of the past week have brought much instability to the people of Kyrgyzstan, as well as much worry to the nations surrounding Kyrgyzstan, it has been amazing to see the opportunities which are opening up before us. 

Besides the visits to the hospitals, of which I have already written, on Tuesday we had the opportunity to join together and help clean up the city. Citizens, businesses, and government offices in Bishkek are attempting to replace glass, restore goods, and rebuild trust…

I have had several conversations with people on the street who are both hopeful and yet afraid. Will the next government be the same (i.e. greedy, dictatorial, etc.) as the previous ones? In some Kyrgyz I see more hope and healing now than I have ever seen. In other Kyrgyz people I see, as before the uprising, despondency and distrust.

Yesterday, seeing my hope for this nation, Arafat, my neighbor, was quoting the Koran to me and saying that the only thing that can deal with the nature of people (their greed and deceit) is dirt – meaning the grave.

Last night I had the opportunity to talk for three hours with an official in the new government. He is advisor to one of the three main opposition leaders. It was amazing to hear of his hope for his nation as we talked about the problems of security, corruption, the rule of law, and society as a whole. There exist possibilities now which, up until this time, have never existed before. Will it be a short romance with idealism or will things stabilize enough in this country for these ideas to become a reality?

 I guess President Medvedev in Russia keeps focusing on the present instability which exists in Kyrgyzstan and warning of the possibility of civil war. Perhaps certain international players would benefit from a civil war here (since then Russia would have a reason to come in and put in their own puppet government)…

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Bewilderment Continues about Bishkek’s “Un-Tulip” Like Revolution

I just can’t seem to move on to everyday events that make my life seem normal in Astana, Kazakhstan (if that is possible) when people south of us in Kyrgyzstan are still patching things up after a bloody revolution. Difficult to move off this topic of the “UN-Tulip” revolution of what happened just a week ago in Kyrgyzstan even though I have other material to write about Kazakhstan. I have anecdotes and photos to show of sweet Kazakh students and also a traditional Kazakh concert Ken and I attended at the Pyramid concert hall.   I still wait for some American friends to respond to my queries about how they are doing, still no word from them.

I appreciate what this author, Alisher Khamidov had to write from his perspective, I’m quoting the last half of his article.  This revolution does impact us in Kazakhstan, it’s too close.

“In particular, three factors served to turn mass dissatisfaction into protests. They were the arrest of several opposition leaders by the Bakiev regime in relation to mass disorder in the town of Talas, where protesters occupied a government building; a steep hike in utility prices, which hit the population in the remote northern regions the hardest; the exclusion of a number of important northern elites in the Kurultai, or informal gathering of all Kyrgyz, by the Bakiev administration in March; and economic sanctions by Moscow such as the introduction of higher prices for gasoline.

That move was seen as Moscow’s way of punishing the government for reneging on a 2009 agreement under which Kyrgyzstan would receive close to $2 billion in loans and aid in exchange for evicting U.S. forces from the air base in Manas. Bakiev got some of the Russian money, but then extended the lease for the base under a different status. The Russians were livid. As a result, the Russian media offered negative coverage of the Bakiev regime, a contributing factor to his sagging reputation.

Yet another notable difference between April 2010 and March 2005 were the “engines” behind the change. During the March 2005 protests, demonstrations were organized by wealthy elites who felt that their bids to gain seats in the parliament were threatened by the incumbent Akaev regime. Such elites then mobilized their supporters in their towns and villages, relying on local networks and offers of cash. The protests we saw on 7 April were sporadic and chaotic. In many ways, they appeared to be more an uncoordinated grass-roots revolt by a disenchanted population than an elite-driven and planned campaign.

As a result, the speed with which the protests erupted and spread was surprising, not only to international observers, but also to many locals.

The administration and some opposition leaders seem to have not appreciated the extent of popular anger and were themselves taken aback. In other words, because there was no credible information about the distribution of power before the protests, there was little room for opposition factions and the incumbent regime to come to a negotiated settlement.

Neither the government nor opposition factions are in full control of the crowds. Already, there are reports of destruction of property and marauding in Bishkek and the regions that have seen protests. This is a bad sign for opposition factions because it discredits them.

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Whatever the outcome of the protests, it is clear that Kyrgyzstan has plunged into deep chaos. It will take months, if not years to recover from this. The concern is that instability in Kyrgyzstan is already spilling over to its neighbors. Kazakhstan has closed borders as scores of Kyrgyz are trying to cross the border and find refuge in Kazakhstan. Uzbekistan is most likely to follow suit.”

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