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CrisisWatch Database

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Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Govt coalition collapsed 18 March when Ata-Meken pulled out; President’s Social Democratic Party, Ar-Namys and Ata-Meken 31 March agreed to form new coalition. Opposition grouping pulled together by pro-Western independent MP Ravshan Jeenbekov held first conference; leading opposition figures former mayor of Osh Melis Myrzakmatov and Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev did not attend. Former FM Alikbek Jekshenkulov denied involvement in Jeenbekov’s movement. Jeenbekov denied allegations he obtained funds from U.S. govt. Govt late Feb set up new force under interior ministry to deal with pubic unrest. Bishkek police early March outlined formation of local militias to guarantee law and order in event of public unrest. Kyrgyz and Tajik govts reportedly discussing possible land exchanges to resolve longstanding border disputes; following Jan closures, some border checkpoints reportedly reopening. Govt ended right to sit final school exams in Uzbek language, contradicting positive rhetoric on seeking to improve relations with 14% ethnic minority population. Govt 11 March said ousted Ukrainian President Yanukovych not Ukrainian president, 20 March recognised as legitimate results of 16 March referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Following Jan tensions along Kyrgyz-Tajik border, countries attempted to resolve border demarcation issues around Tajik enclave Vorukh diplomatically with 2 rounds of talks 31 Jan and 14 Feb, but with little progress. Tajik side announced land corridor joining Vorukh to Tajikistan would be created, Kyrgyz side denied; next high-level meeting due March. Points of contention reportedly include disagreement over what Soviet era agreements and maps should be used as basis of negotiation. CSTO head 20 Feb said situation along Tajik-Kyrgyz border had improved, however intercommunal violence simmering around Vorukh enclave with series of incidents ratcheting up tensions between ethnic Tajiks and Kyrgyz in area. Border troops 23 Jan killed 11 alleged Uighur separatists in remote valley in east. Men reportedly entered from China’s Xinjiang province, armed with knives and rifle but no ammunition, said to have murdered Kyrgyz national who apprehended them; authorities claim they were planning to carry out terror attacks in Karakol or Bishkek, refused to surrender. New opposition coalition formed with aim of overthrowing President Atambayev, bridging north-south divide: includes Ata-Jurt and former Osh mayor. MPs early Feb approved memo on new ownership structure of Kumtor gold mine, proposing equal stake by Kyrgyzstan and Canadian partner in new joint company until 2026. Russia and Kyrgystan 19 Feb signed preliminary agreement for Russia to take control of Manas airport. Authorities 17 Feb announced 6 alleged members of terrorist ring, some trained in Syria, arrested in Osh.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Feb 2014

Deteriorated

Tensions at Kyrgyz-Tajik border escalated as 11 Jan clashes between border forces left several guards on both sides injured, prompted both countries to send additional troops to area. Clashes reportedly broke out over Kyrgyzstan’s construction of new road through disputed border territory in Ferghana Valley that would bypass Tajik enclave Vorukh. Kygyzstan reported Tajik border troops fired mortars, rocket-propelled grenades to hit transformer station, water pump inside Kyrgyz territory, claimed attack premeditated; Tajikistan alleged Kyrgyz border guards fired first. Kyrgyzstan reportedly closed all border crossing points to Tajikistan, 14 Jan withdrew ambassador. Folllowing talks countries agreed to withdraw additional troops from disputed area late Jan; vice PMs met in Bishkek 30 Jan. Former Osh mayor Melis Myrzakmatov 15 Jan lost ballot in Osh city council against pro-presidential candidate Aitmamat Kadyrbaev. Myrzakmatov said elections “held completely unfairly, completely unlawfully”; addressing 15 Jan mass rally of supporters vowed to start “real political struggle” soon. Close ally of President Atambayev appointed mayor of Bishkek 15 Jan; was only candidate in elections.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Ata Jurt supporters 2 Dec stormed regional govt HQ in Osh demanding release of Ata Jurt MP Akhmatbek Keldibekov, arrested 22 Nov. Osh mayor Melis Myrzakmatov, ally of former president Bakiev, offered support to protesters; summoned to Bishkek and sacked 5 Dec. Myrzakmatov called dismissal “political decision”; around 3,000 supporters 7 Dec demanded his return to mayoral office. Bishkek mayor Isa Omurkulov, under investigation for alleged abuse of office, resigned 4 Dec. Protests calling for nationalisation of country’s largest gold mine Kumtor continued: protesters 10 Dec declared state of emergency, curfew in Saruu. Parliament 11 Dec finally approved sale of natural gas company Kyrgyzgaz to Russia’s Gazprom. Sporadic violence continued on Kyrgyz-Tajik border: several roads closed after alleged arson attack 17 Dec. Deputy PM for Security warned Afghan Taliban has Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek wings.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Facing continued opposition protests demanding bigger Kyrgyz share in Kumtor goldmine run by Canadian-listed Centerra Gold, President Atambayev 7 Nov in media interview said nationalization remained option, but warned of economic consequences. Prosecutor General early Nov announced 10 criminal cases against former govt officials related to 2004 Kumtor restructuring. Opposition Ata Jurt MP Akhmatbek Keldibekov detained 20 Nov on corruption charges; protesters 21 Nov demanded release, blocked highway in Osh.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Violent protests demanding nationalisation of mines continued, with 3 attacks on British-, Chinese- and Australian-held mines. During 7 Oct protests at Kumtor gold mine, local governor kidnapped for several hours; 400 protesters 8 Oct barricaded highway; 10 charged with hostage-taking. President Atambayev described protests as “banditry”, “terrorism”. Parliament 23 Oct rejected Sept deal between govt and Canada-listed Centerra Gold, demanded new deal to raise Kyrgyz ownership to 67%. U.S. confirmed it will vacate Manas airbase July 2014, shifting logistical hub for Afghanistan withdrawal to airbase in Romania.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Opposition leaders summoned to questioning 3 Sept after airing on state broadcaster of videos allegedly showing opposition activists planning to extort $3mn from Kumtor gold-mining corporation, and overthrow govt, including by poisoning Naryn River and putting blame on mining company, with help of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Alleged extortionists arrested. Govt and Canada-listed Centerra Gold signed non-binding agreement on restructuring ownership of Kumtor mine, with govt swapping current shares and $100m future profits for 50% holding in new joint venture. Authorities 16 Sept announced 3 people arrested including 1 Kazakh and 2 Kyrgyz citizens in southern city Osh, reportedly members of Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) returning from Syria to conduct attacks in Bishkek. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed $3bn deal with govt to boost Kyrgyz section of gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China. During 13 Sept Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Xi announced Chinese funding of civilian transit hub at Manas airport after U.S. air force vacates it in 2014. After talks with President Atambayev in Brussels 17 Sept, European Commission President Barroso announced increase of EU financial support: $40.5mn macroeconomic aid, $18.2mn to support rule of law. Kyrgyz and Uzbek officials met late month to discuss disputed section of border in Osh province.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

3 Ata-Jurt MPs deprived of seats 20 Aug after Supreme Court found them guilty of attempting to overthrow govt Oct 2012. Collection of political parties with power base in south, including Ata-Jurt, continuing attempts to forge bloc to challenge central govt; President Atambayev reportedly trying to consolidate position in north. 2 people wounded in local council election-related clash in south 18 Aug. Kyrgyzstan and China held combined anti-terrorism drill along border 11 Aug within framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO); approximately 460 armed police from both countries participated. Results of negotiations over Kumtor gold mine scheduled to be revealed 10 Sept; many predicting significant cabinet reshuffle soon after.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Following mid-June release of Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev and 2 other opposition MPs, the three embarked on tour of south, drawing large numbers of supporters including up to 13,000 in Jalalabad. Supreme Court 16 July began review of their case. Former Bishkek mayor and Ata-Jurt MP Nariman Tulayev sentenced to 11 years’ jail for corruption 30 July. Osh court 16 July banned Uzbek language news website Harakat.net on basis it aimed to cause inter-ethnic strife, promoted separatism. Clash between police and crowd of ethnic Uzbeks in southern city Uzgen 17 July after police stopped car; 2 officers and police station attacked. Fears of clash with rival crowd of ethnic Kyrgyz, prevented by show of police from Osh city; Uzgen remains tense. Guards protecting former deputy head of ousted President Bakiyev’s Body Guard, standing trial for role in April 2010 unrest, attacked 17 July by protesters with stones, who also trashed courtroom; several guards, defendant injured. In interview with UK newspaper President Atambayev berated UK authorities for harboring Maxim Bakiyev, son of former president; 19 July warned of potential coup by “regional potentates” who seek to split country. Kyrgyz border guards 23 July killed two Uzbek border guards in Jalalabad-Namagan area; sides gave conflicting accounts of incident. Bishkek daily Vercherniy Bishkek published controversial article lamenting demise of Bishkek city since arrival of internal migrants mostly from south.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jul 2013

Deteriorated

Anti-govt protests continued, challenging power of central govt and exposing its political, security and administrative weakness. Protests in south that began with 31 May storming of administrative building in Jalalabad continued, with about 1,000 supporters of nationalist Ata-Jurt party 2 June blocking main Osh-Bishkek road for 4 days. Demands initially included nationalisation of Kumtor goldmine, scaled back to release of Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev, imprisoned following attempted power-grab Oct 2012. Authorities arrested local leader Medet Usenov 2 June, prompting further protests in Jalalabad. Unrest broke out at appeals court hearing of jailed Ata-Jurt leaders including Tashiev 17 June, as Ata-Jurt supporters threw shoes and plastic bottles at judge and prosecutor and demanded immediate acquittal; judge acquitted defendants after initially saying he would announce decision on 24 June. Judge reportedly went into hiding following incident, which further cast doubt on credibility of judicial system. Rallies in south continued, including 27 June protest in Talas. As calm returned to northern Jety-Oguz district, site of violent anti-mine protests late May, govt lifted state of emergency there 3 June; protests broke out again 27 June demanding closure of gold mine. Parliament 4 June adopted resolution giving govt another 4 months to renegotiate terms of 2009 agreement on Kumtor goldmine with mining company. Series of skirmishes on Uzbek and Tajik borders in Batken province, Ferghana Valley: confrontations between ethnic Kyrgyz and Tajiks; Uzbek border guards 20 June shot dead alleged Kyrgyz smuggler, prompting hundreds of protesters to mass on Kyrgyz side of border near his village. Parliament 20 June set date for closure of U.S. airbase at Manas of 11 July 2014.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jun 2013

Deteriorated

Amid ongoing demands for nationalisation of country’s largest gold mine, anti-mine protests escalated late month and turned violent. Protesters near mine demanding nationalisation of mine, social benefits and compensation from mining company for alleged environmental pollution, 28 May blocked road to mine, 30 May cut off power. Disruption of mine, one of country’s biggest sources of foreign earnings, could cause massive damage to faltering economy. Govt declared state of emergency after police 31 May clashed with some 3,000 protesters who were attempting to storm mining company offices. In southern city Jalal-Abad protesters seized govt buildings demanding release of 3 jailed Ata Jurt opposition politicians. Earlier in month protesters opposed to presence of foreign companies in mineral sector blocked operations of Chinese gold mining company Kaidi, Chon-Alai district 16 May. Despite environmental theme to demonstrations, much of unrest appeared to be organised by Ata Jurt party. U.S. court dropped extradition case against Maxim Bakiyev, son of former president, scheduled to face charges of securities fraud; U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan cited lack of evidence. U.S. military refuelling plane crashed near Kyrgyz border with Kazakhstan 2 May, killing all 3 crew members. Govt 21 May drafted bill to cancel deal with U.S. on use of Manas airbase effective 11 July 2014; parliament yet to approve bill.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Hundreds of opposition El Unu movement supporters rallied in Bishkek 24 April demanding nationalisation of Kumtor gold mine, resignation of govt, release of 3 opposition MPs jailed in March. MP Dastanbek Dzhumabekov 17 April called for investigation into alleged recruitment of Kyrgyz youths in South to fight in Syrian conflict. Editor of Uzbek language newspaper in Osh put under house arrest end-March in connection with missing person case dating from June 2010 unrest; arrest prompted small protest.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

Month saw numerous small rallies across country; protestors’ demands include release of Ata-Jurt MPs standing trial on charges of attempting to seize power in Oct 2012, and nationalization of Kumtor goldmine. President Atambayev claimed family of former president Bakiyev behind protests. Ata-Jurt MPs jailed end-month for 12-18 months. Negotiations over fate of Kumtor goldmine continued. PM Satybaldiev 18 March noted deteriorating investment climate in Kyrgyzstan, criticism of govt by business community; said developments in mining sector lacked order. News articles alleging that President and others own shares in Kumtor prompted libel allegations by President’s party. Osh mayor Melis Myrzakmatov 26 Feb admitted local courts and police are party to rights violations. U.S. Special Forces 25 Feb began 2-week training exercise in Osh with top Border Service unit. Russia announced plans to send Federal Security Service (FSB) specialists to Kyrgyzstan. Russian media speculated that CSTO creating rapid Reaction Forces base in south.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Parliament 21 Feb edged closer to reneging on terms of 2009 agreement with Canadian Centerra Gold company on Kumtor gold mine, which govt has claimed is corrupt and unfair, seeking compensation for alleged environmental damage. Situation in and around Uzbek exclave Sokh in southern Kyrgyzstan stabilised somewhat after violent standoff in Jan.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Feb 2013

Deteriorated

Kyrgyz and Uzbek relations strained by violent confrontation between Kyrgyz citizens and residents of Uzbekistan’s largest exclave, Sokh, in Kyrgyzstan’s southern Batken province, in Ferghana Valley. Group of Sokh residents, most of whom are ethnic Tajik, 5 Jan attacked Kyrgyz border guards in response to construction of new border post; next day tore down power lines to post, burnt cars belonging to Kyrgyz citizens. Kyrgyz policeman seriously injured in clashes. Kyrgyz border guards responded firing into air, wounding at least 3 Sokh residents. Group of villagers took over 30 Kyrgyz citizens hostage including women and children, some reportedly beaten, released 7 Jan. Uzbekistan blamed Kyrgyz border officials for provoking violence; border posts around Sokh closed. U.S. Asst Sec State Blake visited Bishkek mid-month to discuss future of Manas airbase, used by NATO for transit of non-combat supplies to troops in Afghanistan. President Atambayev has said lease will not be renewed when it expires in 2014; 16 Jan said no military equipment can remain after end-2014. Over 100 locals clashed with Chinese workers in Osh region early month; dozens injured. Some 700 opposition Ata-Jurt supporters rallied in Jalal-Abad 31 Jan.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Brothers of Alisher Saipov, ethnic Uzbek journalist known for criticism of Uzbek regime who was killed in Osh 2007, reportedly beaten by group of ethnic Kyrgyz, among them nephew of MP Omurbek Tekebayev, in Bishkek 2 Dec; brothers alleged attack ethnically motivated. Widespread electricity blackouts including in capital as temperatures dropped. Head of mostly state-owned natural gas company Kyrgyzgaz 21 Dec announced entire company to be sold to Russian gas company Gazprom.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Dozens protested outside parliament 12 Nov following Oct arrest of 3 opposition leaders. Russia reportedly to provide $1.1bn worth of support to modernise Kyrgyzstan army. 5 former officials jailed for involvement in March 2009 assassination of opposition politician Medet Sadyrkulov. Leader of ruling coalition Felix Kulov resigned in protest at fraud during 25 Nov local elections. EU foreign policy chief Ashton discussed security issues with regional FMs at 27 Nov meeting in Bishkek.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

Over 1,000 protesters calling for nationalisation of country’s largest gold mine Kumtor 3 Oct clashed with security forces, police in Bishkek. Opposition Ata-Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev joined demonstration, called on supporters to seize power; he and several others attempted to enter presidential administration. Tashiev arrested along with 2 other Ata-Jurt MPs, charged with attempting to overthrow govt. Mounting protests in southern city Jalal-Abad calling for their release; police also dispersed protesters in Osh. President reportedly willing to consider clemency if defendants are convicted. Over 200 people demonstrated in northern town Orlovka 22 Oct calling for closure of Chinese mining company operations at Altynken gold mine; work halted indefinitely following mass scuffles between Chinese and local workers. 7 suspected terrorists detained, large amount of weapons reportedly seized during 2 security operations in Bishkek and nearby village. PM Satybaldiyev 18 Oct told cabinet 2013 budget to be cut drastically due to “unprecedented” deficit.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

Following Aug collapse of coalition govt, Social Democratic, Ar-Namys and Ata-Meken parties established new ruling coalition 3 Sept, approved chief of presidential office Jantoro Satybaldiev as new PM. Satybaldiev said getting country through winter in face of severe power shortages his first priority. Former PM Babanov’s Respublika party and Ata Jurt founded opposition alliance 5 Sept. In South, at least 100 villagers in Ala-Buka district reportedly beat up district judge and prosecutor who exonerated local Uzbeks accused of beating fellow villager, held several protests late month. Demonstrations at Belarusian embassy 10 Sept demanding Minsk extradite former president Bakiev and his brother, on charges connected with deaths of nearly 100 people during April 2010 unrest. Visiting Russian president Putin met with President Atambayev 20 Sept, agreed on extension of lease on Russian military base, write-off of Kyrgyz debt, investments in hydropower projects.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Sep 2012

Unchanged

PM Babanov accused 13 Aug by Ata-Meken party of accepting bribe of racehorse in exchange for granting govt contracts; ruling coalition 22 Aug collapsed after withdrawal of Ata-Meken, Ar-Namys factions in protest over weak economy, corruption allegations; Social Democratic Party 27 Aug mandated to form new majority. Opposition MP Tyuleyev remained in pre-trial detention over corruption charges, despite Supreme Court’s 15 Aug ruling in favour of house arrest. Govt 21 Aug requested Belarusian authorities arrest, extradite brother of ousted Kyrgyz President Bakiev, being tried in absentia with over 20 former associates for death of nearly 100 people during April 2010 upheaval; Kyrgyz ambassador recalled 24 Aug after Belarus’ refusal to comply; some 50 protesters 28 Aug attacked Belarus embassy in Bishkek . Security forces 21 Aug killed fugitive border guard suspected of killing 5 in shooting spree near Kazakh border. Alleged local leader of banned international Sunni political party Hizb-ut-Tahrir arrested 26 Aug in Jalal-Abad region.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

1 Uzbek, 1 Kyrgyz border guard killed during 17 July clashes in Osh following altercation with local Kyrgyz repairing road between Jalalabad oblast and Uzbek Namangan region; Kyrgyzstan said troops fired on by Uzbek guards; Uzbekistan said Kyrgyz guards launched “armed bandit attack”. UN Human Rights chief Pillay 10 July warned corruption, ethnic discrimination main problems in Kyrgyzstan. Court 3 July fined ethnic Russian journalist $1,100 for “inciting ethnic hatred”; Minister of Social Development Ravshan Sabirov arrested 5 July on corruption charges; Grand Mufti Jalilov resigned 17 July amidst corruption allegations; PM Babanov 19 July sacked senior state drug control staff for “inefficient performance”; criminal case opened 21 July against MP Ata Zhurt and former minister for transport Nurlan Suleimanov for misuse of office.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

2-year anniversary of ethnic violence in south passed peacefully despite continuing tensions between local Uzbeks, Kyrgyz. Parliament 12 June approved draft bill giving Osh increased autonomy. Controversial corruption charges brought against opposition MP and ex-mayor of Bishkek Nariman Tyuleev 25 June. 20-22 June detention of 3 Kyrgyz for allegedly smuggling over 90kg of mercury sparked unrest in Batken: at least 16 Tajik citizens taken hostage 21 June by Kyrgyz protesters, later freed by authorities; some 150-200 demonstrated 22 June, urged local authorities to secure release of 3 Kyrgyz, clashed with police, 8 Tajiks taken hostage, later freed by authorities; 15 detained in connection with unrest. Military 9-14 June participated in joint-SCO drills (see Tajikistan),18-29 June hosted combined military exercise with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and U.S..   

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

President Atambaev 3 May softened position on U.S. use of Manas airbase, said dependent on events in Afghanistan, U.S. willingness to pay higher rent. Kyrgyzstan, U.S. signed agreement 22 May allowing NATO to establish supply routes to and from Afghanistan. Radio Azattyk 16 May reported links between Kyrgyz criminal figures and Afghan-Pakistani Haqqani network. 79 initially detained, 2 hospitalised in 20 May brawl in Moscow between Kyrgyz and Uzbek migrants, reported continuation of ethnic tensions in S Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

Estimated 5,000 opposition Ata-Jurt supporters 10 April rallied in southern city of Jalal-Abad demanding govt resignation. Russian FM Lavrov 4-5 April visited Bishkek to discuss bilateral ties; Russia, Kyrgyzstan 24 April announced agreement on Russian compensation for use of Kant airbase. Authorities early month reportedly requested U.S. supply drone aircraft following 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

Amid growing opposition to President Atambayev in South, Osh Mayor Myrzakmatov’s Nationalist Uluttar Birimdigi party declared winner of 4 March Osh municipal elections with 47.35%, expected 21 of 45 seats on city council. Large pro-Myrzakmatov rally 1 March in Osh attended by former presidential candidates Adakhan Madumarov, Kamchybek Tashiev; Madumarov demanded govt resignation by 15 March over deteriorating economic situation. U.S. Defence Secretary Panetta 13 March met Kyrgyz officials, stressed importance of continued U.S. use of Manas military base; Defence Council Secretary Tabaldiev said no military mission at base after 2014.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

Former presidential candidates and leaders of 2 nationalist political parties Ata-Jurt and Butun Kyrgyzstan early Feb announced merger to form opposition bloc; with both parties drawing majority of support in south, move raises fears of further regional fragmentation in country. President Atambayev 16 Feb visited Osh, pledged to finalize investigation into June 2010 ethnic violence, fight corruption, enforce teaching of Kyrgyz language in schools. Security forces 10 Feb captured member of Zhayshul Mahdi terrorist group in Bishkek. President Atambaev 23 Feb undertook 3-day visit to Russia, called for closure of Russian Kant airbase over unpaid fees. Continued protests over frequent power outages.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Feb 2012

Unchanged

Over 30 prisoners reportedly injured, 1 killed in 16 Jan raid on Bishkek detention facility by special security forces following outbreak of unrest. Several thousand inmates at 13 jails across Kyrgyzstan 17 Jan started hunger strike to support Bishkek inmates; over 1,000 sewed mouths shut protesting authorities’ 23 Jan decision to force feed them. Authorities 28 Jan said hunger strike ended after govt agreed to improve living conditions, but rejected demands for greater freedoms. Russia 18 Jan delivered some EUR 12.5mn of military equipment to Kyrgyz border troops in good-will gesture to new govt. Ethnic tensions continued in south following 29 Dec burning of several buildings in clash between Tajiks and Kyrgyz in Batken region.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

New 4-party coalition govt formed by incoming president Atambaev; parliament 23 Dec elected close Atambatev associate and highly controversial politician Omurbek Babanov as new PM, UNSG Ban 2 Dec called on new govt to encourage national dialogue, reconciliation. UNHCHR Pillay criticised Supreme Court’s 20 Dec confirmation of life sentence for Uzbek activist Azimjon Askarov, jailed over role in June 2010 ethnic violence in south. UN Special Rapporteur on torture Mendez 14 Dec said torture still widely used during interrogations in Kyrgyzstan. Parliament speaker 12 Dec resigned over alleged criminal links.



Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Dec 2011

Unchanged

Central election committee 12 Nov officially declared former PM Atambaev winner of 30 Oct presidential election with 62.5% of vote. Despite threats by opponents Adakhan Madumarov and Kamchybek Tashiev to contest results, 2 Nov rallies in southern cities Jalal-Abad and Osh calling for new vote sparsely attended; Tashiev 4 Nov called on supporters to end protests. Outgoing President Otunbaeva 30 Nov apologised for failure to prevent 2010 deadly ethnic clashes. Fugitive ethnic Uzbek leader Kadyrjan Batyrov sentenced in absentia by Jalal-Abad court 28 Oct to life in prison on charges of separatist propaganda, inciting interethnic hatred, organising clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Nov 2011

Unchanged

Preliminary results of 30 Oct presidential elections indicate outright victory for former PM Atambaev, gaining 62.8% of votes; main competitors claim fraud, threaten protests, international observers criticised “significant irregularities”. Elections preceded by tensions in south. Some 1,000 protesters 10 Oct blocked entrance to district govt building in southern Jalal-Abad region to demand release of local governor Ulan Baimyrzaev, detained 9 Oct for suspected bribe-taking; claim arrest politically motivated due to his role promoting reconciliation between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz after June 2010 clashes. One checkpoint on Uzbek-Kyrgyz border, closed since June 2010, reopened 26 Oct.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Oct 2011

Unchanged

Month saw continued tensions in Osh ahead of Oct presidential elections. Trial resumed 16 Sept of 6 ethnic Uzbeks on charges of inciting inter-ethnic hatred, organising June 2010 clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Jalal-Abad and Osh. PM Atambayev 23 Sept announced resignation, launched presidential campaign. Authorities proposed restrictions on foreign news broadcasts during election campaign. Military participated in Collective Security Treaty Organisation exercises (see Tajikistan). Interior Ministry announced 17 people detained over murder of former presidential chief of staff Medet Sadyrkulov.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Sep 2011

Unchanged

Ahead of Oct presidential elections, 83 candidates nominated by mid-month deadline, including Kamchybek Tashiyev from dominant Ata-Jurt party and current PM Almazbek Atambayev (SDPK). Special Forces operation 1 Aug detained 1 militiaman, confiscated arms cache in Alamudun district. Chechen individual wanted by Russian FSB arrested near Bishkek for alleged involvement in terrorist acts in North Caucasus. Senior security official and presidential candidate Marat Imankulov 24 Aug resigned, said State Committee for National Security being used to protect top officials’ interests. Authorities 25 Aug reportedly allocated land in South for ethnic Kyrgyz from Uzbekistan seeking to resettle.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Aug 2011

Unchanged

Parliament 30 June adopted national concept paper on ethnic policy developed by nationalist Ata Jurt party; emphasises leading role of Kyrgyz in nation building. Serious but short-lived clashes 18 July between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Aravan district lead to renewed ethnic tensions ahead of 30 Oct presidential elections. According to Central Election Committee (CEC) 22 candidates registered so far, including nationalists Kamchybek Tashiev (Ata-Jurt), Adakhan Madumarov (Butun Kyrgyzstan). Disputes continue between MPs over new election laws, selection of CEC members, amid accusations authorities seeking to control elections.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jul 2011

Unchanged

Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch 8 June accused govt of discriminating against ethnic Uzbeks during June 2010 unrest in Osh and in subsequent investigation. AI alleged police, military units facilitated attacks on Uzbek neighbourhoods, warned failure to deliver justice for killing of civilians may spark further violence. UNHCR 10 June called for confidence-building measures to ensure reconciliation, return of refugees to South. Parliament 16 June unanimously endorsed resolution blaming ethnic Uzbek leaders for violence in Osh, banned prominent Russian news site for alleged pro-Uzbek bias. President Otunbayeva 17 June praised investigation by Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission (KIC) and its chair for first time, both subject to widespread criticism by political elite since early May release of report, spoke against rising nationalism and attempts to build mono-ethnic state. Journalists attacked in Osh 20 June while covering rally in support of nationalist Ata-Jurt party leader Kamchybek Tashiev; despite calls from Otunbayeva local police refused investigation. China provided $208mn loan to upgrade power transmission in south, urged Kyrgyzstan to consider its WTO obligations before joining Russian-led Customs Union. OSCE 21 June called on Parliament to reconsider recent restrictions on media freedom.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

Independent Kyrgyz Inquiry Commission (KIC) 3 May submitted report on 2010 ethnic violence in south: estimated death toll at 470, majority (74%) ethnic Uzbeks; said security forces “complicit” in violence, govt failed to protect citizens; violence not tantamount to genocide, but certain attacks on Uzbek neighbourhoods in Osh could equal “crimes against humanity” if proven in court. Govt said report disproportionally blamed ethnic Kyrgyz for violence, claimed it would fuel ethnic tensions. Parliament 26 May declared KIC chair Kimmo Kiljunen persona non grata. UNHCHR Navi Pillay 4 May urged govt to follow up on report findings with own investigation. PM Atambaev 10 May signed decree providing financial compensation to families of victims of 2010 violence; preliminary information shows likely pro-Kyrgyz bias in compensation distribution. Deputy PM Babanov 16 May resumed office after being cleared of corruption charges; hasty investigation raised doubts over its impartiality.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

Prosecutor-General Kubatbek Baybolov fired end March; 1 Apr accused first vice-PM Babanov and members of provisional govt of corruption, and national security service of unauthorised wiretapping. Pre-empting no confidence vote, Babanov 14 Apr announced temporary resignation until 14 May when investigation commission scheduled to rule on Baybolov’s allegations. Opposition Ar Namys party late month engaged in negotiations to join ruling coalition. Supreme Court 27 Apr rejected former President Bakiyev’s request to replace judge in trial against him and 27 associates. Publication of international commission report on June 2010 Osh violence delayed; parts of report leaked to media 25 Apr, prompting accusations of bias from former provisional govt members. Prosecutor General launched criminal investigation into anonymous book claiming Osh events were genocide against Uzbeks.         

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Dysfunctional three-party coalition govt came close to collapse early March after failed powerplay by radical nationalist faction, whose grievances included allegations of blatant corruption on part of first deputy premier. Situation deteriorated in south following 1 March contract killing of local tax official in Nookat, allegedly on orders of local ethnic Uzbek businessman; incident sparked mob violence against suspected perpetrators, observers warned could reignite ethnic violence especially in predominantly Uzbek towns Uzgen, Kara-Suu. Jalalabad appellate court 10 March upheld verdicts against 18 ethnic Uzbeks convicted of murders at Sanpa cotton factory in June 2010 ethnic violence. Political pressure reportedly being exerted on mining sector, with several attacks including 10 March ransacking of company facilities in NW. PM Atambayev visited Moscow late-month, secured promise of $30 million credit, deal to suspend duties on Russian fuel. Riots, escape attempts in 3 prisons mid-March, hunger strikes in at least 6 facilities end-March; prisoners’ demands include govt ending crackdown on organised crime figures.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Mar 2011

Unchanged

Organised crime, insecure border identified as leading threats by govt early month; officials predicted increased insurgent incursions from Tajikistan, claimed over 56 organised crime figures detained Jan-Feb. IMF early Feb raised alarm over rising inflation; govt, facing severe budget deficit and food shortages, announced cancellation of import tariffs on basic food items, plans to unseal strategic food reserves. Influential ethnic Uzbek preacher Rashod Kamalov, detained in Jan on charges of fraud, freed 4 Feb following small-scale protests in south. 8 alleged members of banned Hizb ut-Tahrir religious organisation detained in Osh 7 Feb. Bishkek mayor re-elected by city council in alleged attempt to secure ruling SDPK party control over capital; activists said procedure unconstitutional. Acting president Otunbayeva 21 Feb announced will not run in upcoming presidential election. Under new arrangement seen as U.S. concession to govt, fuel to be supplied to Manas air base by former supplier Mina Corp and joint Kyrgyz-Russian company. International Business Council said investment climate less attractive due to disregard for property rights and “opaque” nationalisation policy. 

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

Continued clashes between security forces and militants, with 3 police killed 4 Jan in Bishkek; 2 suspects killed in operation following day. State security officials said militants involved were members of radical Islamist Jaamat Kyrgyzstan and Jaishul Mahdi, groups also allegedly behind recent bombings in Bishkek. National commission inquiry into June 2010 inter-ethnic clashes in south concluded violence caused by “planned large-scale provocation aimed at splitting Kyrgyzstan and undermining the unity of its people”, incited by local Uzbek leaders, relatives of former president Bakiev; scolded interim govt for inaction. Report made little mention of prominent Kyrgyz political establishment figures alleged at time to be fomenting violence. Popular ethnic Uzbek religious leader Rashod Kamolov arrested 18 Jan on fraud charges. Leader of banned Hizb ut-Tahrir movement arrested in Jalal-Abad region 11 Jan.  Govt 12 Jan said interreligious council to be created to regulate number of religious groups and their activities.       

Kyrgyzstan

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

9 arrested in connection to 25 Dec alleged foiled bombing in Bishkek, 30 Nov blast in capital that killed 4. Govt claimed all belonged to radical Islamic group. Govt launched criminal investigation into 7 Dec graffiti calling for killing of ethnic Uzbeks in north-eastern city of Karakol. Most ethnic Kyrgyz perpetrators of deadly violence against Meskhetian Turks in Mayevka village during Apr 2010 unrest that ousted President Bakiyev released on parole 13 Dec; 1 to serve less than year due to amnesty. Trials continued over June violence in south amid allegations by rights groups of grave procedural violations, strong bias against ethnic Uzbeks. In investigation national ombudsman 13 Dec blamed Uzbek community leaders for June violence, said they aimed at creating Uzbek autonomy, overthrowing President Karimov in Uzbekistan. Ministry of Interior 15 Dec denied recent reports by rights activists of kidnappings, rape of up to 7 ethnic Uzbek women in south. New governing coalition confirmed by Parliament 17 Dec between Respublika party, pro-govt Social Democratic party (SDPK) and nationalist Ata-Jurt, election frontrunner with strong following in south. Followed split of previous coalition over failure to elect parliamentary speaker. SDPK leader Almazbek Atambaev appointed PM, Ata-Jurt leader Akhmatbek Keldibekov speaker of parliament, and Respublika founder and oil magnate Omurbek Babanov first deputy PM. 2 weapons caches discovered 12, 14 Dec near Osh; several suspects arrested, including 1 Uzbek citizen. U.S. Congressional report 21 Dec revealed companies handling U.S. Manas base fuel supplies ran scheme of false end-user certifications to allow export of Russian fuel for military use. Pentagon to review bids for Manas tender.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Dec 2010

Unchanged

Senior officials claim Islamist militants targeted in late month crackdown: 9 detained 22 Nov in Bishkek and southern city of Osh on accusations of planning terrorist acts; 4 reported killed in 29 Nov firefight in Osh. Govt blamed same group for 30 Nov blast outside trial of former President Bakiyev and 27 others. Defendants accused of giving orders to and/or opening fire on demonstrators during April overthrow of Bakiyev regime. Bakiyev and 8 others being tried in absentia. Nephew of former President Bakiyev sentenced to 10 years 2 Nov for fomenting May unrest in town of Jalal-Abad. Police temporarily detained 36 after nearly 1,000 ethnic Kyrgyz 7-8 Nov illegally seized land in ethnic Uzbek villages near Osh. U.S. 3 Nov extended contract for fuel supply to Manas air base with long-time private provider despite protest by govt over corruption allegations. Following 10 Oct elections, parliament 10 Nov held opening session as some 300 protested outside against former Bakiyev officials taking up seats. Pro-govt Social Democratic party with mandate from Interim President Otunbayeva 30 Nov formed governing coalition with former affiliate Respublika and pro-govt  Ata-Meken. Social Democratic leader Almazbek Atambayev to become PM. OSCE, Ministry of Interior 18 Nov announced planned OSCE police mission to south will be replaced by scaled-down “Kyrgyzstan Community Security Initiative” to be deployed early 2011. 2 sentenced to 20 and 25 years 5 Nov in first court case to convict ethnic Kyrgyz in relation to June violence.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

Observers praised peaceful, transparent conduct of 10 Oct parliamentary elections, but noted need for reform, deficiencies in voter lists. 5 parties won parliamentary seats according to final results announced 1 Nov. Ata Jurt party, perceived as nationalist and with strong following in south came first with 28 out of 120 seats followed closely by other winning parties. Demonstrations by supporters of major parties disputing results erupted in Bishkek in aftermath of elections. Butun Kyrgyzstan party narrowly failed to reach threshold for parliamentary representation, raised after more eligible voters added to lists on election day; staged several days of protest in stronghold of Osh and in Bishkek over alleged election fraud. Ata Jurt leader Kamchybek Tashiev complained of persecution following 23 Oct break-in of his house by security forces, 6 Oct raiding of party offices. Frontrunner and 2 other parties opposed to new constitution adopted in 27 June referendum, vowed to restore presidential system. Leaders of all but pro-govt Ata Meken party flew to Russia for consultations shortly after vote. International commission headed by Finnish MP Kimmo Kiljunen began inquiry into June violence; findings expected early next year. Attorneys defending ethnic Uzbeks charged with crimes during June violence protested intimidation, violence in courtroom, lack of police protection. 2 cases of beating of ethnic Uzbek defendants, their relatives and lawyers by relatives of victims during mid-Oct trials over June’s violence. In high profile court case in Karasuu district, 5 ethnic Uzbeks sentenced to life, 4 received 4 to 25 years 29 Oct for murder of Kyrgyz policeman and his driver during June violence.

“Teetering steppes”, Economist, 14 Oct. 2010.

For latest report, see Crisis Group Asia Report Nº193, The Pogroms in Kyrgyzstan, 23 Aug. 2010.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Oct 2010

Unchanged

Trials against ethic Uzbeks in south fuelled suspicions of ethnic bias in investigations into June violence. Court in Nooken 15 Sept sentenced prominent ethnic Uzbek rights activist Azimjon Askarov to life in prison, 7 other ethnic Uzbeks received 9 years to life for involvement in killing of Kyrgyz policeman. International rights groups, Kyrgyzstan rights ombudsman said court case against Askarov fabricated, politically motivated. In Karasuu district 4 Uzbeks sentenced to 4 years 21 Sept for inciting violence through call for prayer; 2 Uzbeks received 3-year sentences 23 Sept for writing “SOS” on private property. President Otunbayeva repeatedly threatened to cancel 10 Oct parliamentary election if parties stir ethnic tensions by using nationalist rhetoric in campaigns. In 24 Sept meeting with U.S. President Obama, Otunbayeva pledged international investigation into June violence.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Sep 2010

Deteriorated

Serious weakening of central govt after provisional President Otunbayeva failed to oust mayor of southern city of Osh, Melis Myrzakmatov, appointed by former President Bakiyev. Visiting Bishkek 18 Aug, Myrzakmatov stated govt directives have no jurisdiction in south. Despite official announcement 20 Aug that Myrzakmatov will step down, latter returned to Osh same day backed by Azimbek Beknazarov, Vice Premier on Judicial Affairs, stated pressures to resign unsuccessful. In another challenge to govt authority, businessman Urmat Baryktabasov, charged with “attempting to seize power” in 2005, demanded PM post 5 Aug. Some 1,000 of his supporters demonstrated before parliament; several hundred prevented from entering capital. Protests dispersed after brief clashes with security forces, Baryktabasov and over 20 others detained on charges of planning coup. Continuing ethnic tensions as govt 1 Aug suppressed large-scale fight between Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek youth in Batken region. President Otunbayeva 5 Aug admitted security forces committed abuses against ethnic Uzbeks during June unrest. Govt 9 Aug lifted state of emergency in south, announced parliamentary elections will be held 10 Oct. Continuing political opposition to OSCE advisory police mission in south. Negotiations on deployment reportedly stalled late month. Former governor of Naryn province shot dead in Bishkek 14 Aug. UN World Food Program said 1.4 million experiencing food shortages; situation likely to worsen in winter due to rising grain prices.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Aug 2010

Unchanged

Following 16-17 July ministerial meeting on international measures in aftermath of June violence, OSCE leaders 22 July formally announced will deploy 52-member unarmed police advisory group to south for 4 months. Osh Mayor Melis Myrzakmatov and Osh city council denied need for mission, while over 2,000 in south and Bishkek protested deployment, despite govt’s 21 July admission of its inability to protect citizens, and repeated calls for international assistance. Govt mid-month announced will form national commission to investigate violence in south; at OSCE ministerial meeting agreed to international inquiry headed by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly special envoy Kiljunen. UNHCHR 20 July said Kyrgyz security forces responsible for repeated rights violations against ethnic Uzbeks, including torture, arbitrary detention, ill-treatment. UNHCR 27 July warned some 75,000 internally displaced at risk, including detention, harassment by authorities. Akhmat Bakiyev, brother of ousted president, detained in Jalal-Abad 21 July, reportedly confessed to involvement in riots. Roza Otunbayeva sworn in as caretaker president 3 July until 2011; appointed new cabinet after resignations of leading ministers to campaign for fall elections. International donors conference in Bishkek 28 July pledged $1.1bn reconstruction aid amid govt warnings of economic collapse, large budget deficit.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jul 2010

Deteriorated

Large scale violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in south early month; but despite fears of fresh hostilities, peaceful conduct of 27 June constitutional referendum raised hopes for political stability and reconciliation. Reported fighting 10 June between ethnic groups in Osh turned into widespread armed clashes, spread to Jalal-Abad and other neighbouring areas in following days. Cause of unrest not yet clear. Govt acknowledged lost control of situation, unable to enforce curfew announced 11 June. Reports emerged Kyrgyz security forces did not act to stop attacks, may have participated in violence against ethnic Uzbeks. Both sides reportedly seized large quantities of weapons from warehouses and security personnel. Russia 12 June, CSTO 14 June declined govt requests for military intervention. Relative calm restored 16 June with official estimates of over 200 dead; Acting President Roza Otunbayeva 18 June said actual death toll likely closer to 2,000. UNHCR 17 June estimated 300,000 displaced internally, 100,000-120,000 ethnic Uzbeks fled to Uzbekistan. Govt 25 June said all but 100 refugees returned voluntarily from Uzbekistan; some international bodies claimed returns forced by Uzbek govt. Govt pressed ahead with 27 June referendum on new constitution amid security concerns, easing voting requirements and lifting state of emergency in south. Preliminary results put turnout at nearly 70% with over 90% of votes cast in favour of new constitution. OSCE, EU, U.S. commended legitimate, peaceful conduct of referendum; called on provisional govt to seize opportunity to advance reconciliation.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jun 2010

Unchanged

Persistent unrest and violence in south over month. 1 killed, at least 60 wounded when supporters of ousted former President Bakiyev 14 May briefly took over local govt buildings in Jalal-Abad, Batken, Osh; demanded return of Bakiyev as country’s “legitimate president”. Clashes in large Uzbek minority town of Jalal-Abad 19 May left 2 dead, dozens wounded as Kyrgyz protesters attempted to storm local university connected to Uzbek community, demanded arrest of local Uzbek leader accusing him of provoking hostility in region. Govt charged Bakiyev supporters with stirring up interethnic tensions; 19 May declared state of emergency in town. Some 5000 demonstrators rallied again in Jalal-Abad 20 May, reportedly assaulting regional governor who tried to reach out to crowd. Phone conversations of provisional govt leaders released online 20 May sparked accusations of corruption, govt infighting. Interim govt 21 May unveiled new draft constitution transferring many presidential powers to PM, allowing only 1 presidential term of 6 years. National referendum scheduled for 27 June to approve constitution, appointment of interim govt leader Roza Otunbayeva as acting president till Dec 2011. Parliamentary elections to be held 10 Oct, to be followed by formation of new govt, appointment of PM.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 May 2010

Deteriorated

Violent rebellion ousted President Bakiyev from power 7 Apr following escalation of protests against energy utility increases gaining momentum over March. Protesters 6 Apr seized governor’s offices in northwest town of Talas. Security forces in Bishkek 7 Apr opened fire in clashes with opposition leaving over 85 dead, hundreds injured. Protesters same day stormed presidential offices causing President Bakiyev to flee, first to home region in south, then Kazakhstan and finally to exile in Belarus. Widespread looting in central Bishkek followed riots. Interim govt of leading opposition figures promised 27 June national referendum on new constitution, possibly creating parliamentary republic; new presidential, parliamentary elections in Oct; 13 Apr stripped President of immunity, opened criminal cases against Bakiyev and relatives for responsibility in 7 Apr violence. Violent clashes with land grabbers on outskirts of Bishkek 19 Apr left 5 dead. In south Bakiyev supporters continued agitating for his return. Russian PM Putin contacted new govt in 8 Apr call; later Russian statements suggested scepticism about govt’s viability. U.S. Assistant Sec State Blake 14 Apr visited country to “express support”. Interim govt 13 Apr announced lease of U.S. Manas air base to be automatically extended after July expiration. 

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Apr 2010

Unchanged

Growing unrest as thousands took to streets in North (Naryn), South and Bishkek. Initial protests 10 March against sharp increases in utility charges, govt privatisation policies and calling for resignation of president’s son and heir apparent Maxim Bakiyev, in charge of economic policy. Culminated 17 March in opposition National Assembly (Kurultai) demanding halt to president’s constitutional reforms, removal of Bakiyev relatives from power, release of political prisoners, media freedom. Opposition threatened to “restore people’s power” if demands not met. Discontent compounded by 9 March news of Italian arrest warrant for head of major Kyrgyz company and reported Maxim Bakiyev associate accused of major embezzlement. Independent news websites, RFE/RL broadcasts blocked 10 March, 2 opposition newspapers banned 18 March. Official Kurultai convened 23 March in response, President Bakiyev questioned suitability of electoral and human rights democratic models for Kyrgyzstan. U.S. Gen Petraeus 10 March travelled to Bishkek after U.S. announced financing of $5.5 million anti-terrorist training centre in Batken, on Tajikistan border. Parliament 25 March extended security services’ mandate to eavesdrop on all private communication as crime prevention measure.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Mar 2010

Unchanged

Pursuant to President Bakiev’s constitutional amendments, approved by parliamentary committee 26 Jan, Head of State Security Service and brother of President replaced National Guard with elite military unit answering directly to President. Military appeals court 19 Feb upheld Jan 8-year prison sentence for former defence minister and opposition member Ismail Isakov; opposition and supporters, denouncing charges as politically motivated, threatened continued protests. Govt stepped up measures against Hizb ut-Tahrir in capital: 15 alleged members arrested in 8 Feb restaurant raid; 3 women detained for recruitment 11 Feb.

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CrisisWatch N°128

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