Кыргызстан на краю пропасти
Кыргызстан на краю пропасти
Table of Contents
  1. Overview
Opportunities and Challenges Await Kyrgyzstan’s Incoming President
Opportunities and Challenges Await Kyrgyzstan’s Incoming President
Briefing 55 / Europe & Central Asia

Кыргызстан на краю пропасти

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КРАТКИЙ ОБЗОР

Сражения, развернувшиеся на этой неделе на центральной площади столицы между тысячами сторонников и противников правительства, и которые были разогнаны ОМОНом с помощью дубинок и слезоточивого газа, с очевидностью говорят о том, что Кыргызстан находится на грани развала государственной машины и гражданская война там становится вполне вероятной. Чтобы удержать страну от непосредственной угрозы войны, между правительством и оппозицией были начаты переговоры, и президентом 9 ноября была подписана новая конституция, принятая накануне парламентом. Но ситуация все еще остается острой. Необходимо расширить переговоры для того, чтобы разрешить основной конфликт, определяемый распределением власти между президентом и парламентом, и связанными с этим проблемами. Международное сообщество должно гораздо активнее вести превентивную дипломатию, потому, что, если быстро не найти выхода из создавшейся ситуации, нестабильность в Кыргызстане без труда могла бы затронуть другие государства в нестабильном центрально-азиатском регионе.

Большую часть этого года за власть в стране боролись две группы:

  • Правительство, возглавляемое президентом Курманбеком Бакиевым, премьер-министром Феликсом Куловым, первым заместителем премьер-министра Данияром Усеновым и госсекретарем Адаханом Мадумаровым; и
     
  • Движение оппозиции "За реформы!", во главе с парламентариями, включая Омурбека Текебаева, Мелиса Эшимканова и Азимбека Бекназарова; нескольких бывших министров администрации Бакиева, включая Алмазбека Атамбаева и Розу Отунбаеву; и активистов гражданского общества, таких как Эдиль Байсалов.

Конфронтация нарастала, начиная с весны 2006 г., и оппозиция проводила демонстрации в Бишкеке и в других местах, требуя проведения политических реформ. Когда оппозиция выдвинула требования ограничения президентской власти, правительство больше опиралось на поддержку южных регионов (главным образом, Джалал-Абадская и Ошская области), а оппозиция полагалась в основном на поддержку северных регионов (главным образом, Чуйская и Таласская области). Начавшиеся в связи с этим беспорядки в результате приняли региональный характер. Милиция и силы безопасности заняли позиции между этими двумя лагерями, и пока им, в основном, удавалось не допускать в столице столкновений конфликтующих сторон.

Начиная с 2 ноября, оппозиция проводила в центре Бишкеке большие демонстрации, пытаясь заставить Бакиева одобрить новую конституцию, которая ограничила бы полномочия президента и позволила бы самой крупной парламентской фракции сформировать правительство. Бакиев, который, согласно конституции, пользуется почти неограниченными полномочиями, отказался пойти на этот шаг. Обе стороны начали сплачивать своих сторонников, и получилось так, что в спор политических элит быстро втянулось большое число простых граждан. Центр столицы оказался разделен на две части, сторонники оппозиции сосредоточились у главного правительственного комплекса, "Белого дома", а сторонники правительства собрались у здания парламента.

Когда 7 ноября столкновения уже казались неминуемыми, переговоры, проведенные в последнюю минуту, несколько разрядили ситуацию, но демонстрации с обеих сторон продолжались, и возможность конфликта сохранялась. После переговоров между спикером парламента Маратом Султановым и президентом Бакиевым удалось придти к соглашению о представлении компромиссного текста конституции на утверждение парламента, который принял ее 8 ноября. Президент Бакиев подписал ее на следующий день, но остается неясным, насколько он собирается выполнять взятые на себя обязательства. Кроме того, требуются дальнейшие действия для поддержания политических процессов. Перемирие остается очень непрочным.

Правительству, оппозиции и международному сообществу остается необходимым предпринять быстрые действия, чтобы воспользоваться преимуществом того, что может оказаться ничем иным, как кратковременным затишьем. Необходимы следующие шаги:

  • Правительство и оппозиция должны выступить с совместным обращением к своим сторонникам, чтобы освободить площади в Бишкеке, на которых они в настоящее время проводят митинги, и попросить своих сторонников в других регионах страны воздержаться от поездок в Бишкек для участия в демонстрациях;
     
  • ЕС, США, Россия, Организация по безопасности и сотрудничеству в Европе (ОБСЕ) и ООН (через ее председателя в первом случае) должны призвать президента Бакиева проявить сдержанность, особенно избегать применения силы для удержания ситуации под контролем;
     
  • Миссия ОБСЕ в Бишкеке должна быть готова к тому, чтобы предоставить, если это окажется необходимым, нейтральное место встречи для продолжения переговоров между правительством и оппозицией;
     
  • Генеральный секретарь ОБСЕ и Специальный Представитель ЕС по странам Центральной Азии должны немедленно посетить Бишкек, и содействовать тому, чтобы привлечь к участию в переговорах больше представителей обеих сторон, и предложить свое посредничество для поиска подходящего механизма по достижению компромисса в области институционального устройства;
     
  • Правительство Кыргызстана и оппозиция, при активной поддержке со стороны международного сообщества, должны разработать программу национального согласия, направленную на ослабление напряженности отношений между различными регионами страны и фракциями.

Помимо неотложной необходимости предпринять срочные дипломатические шаги для разрядки непосредственного кризиса, ОБСЕ, ЕС, Россия, Казахстан и США, все они должны более активно содействовать проведению переговоров, направленных на прекращение политического кризиса.

Бишкек/Брюссель, 9 ноября 2006 г.

I. Overview

Street battles between thousands of pro and anti-government protestors broken up by police billy clubs and tear gas in the central square of the capital this week illustrate dramatically that Kyrgyzstan is on the verge of political breakdown and possible civil war. The government and opposition have begun talks to pull the country back from the brink, and the president signed a new constitution on 9 November that the parliament had passed the previous day. But tensions are still high. The talks will need to be widened if they are to resolve the underlying dispute, which is centred on the division of power between the president and the parliament, and related issues. The international community should become much more active in preventive diplomacy because if a solution is not found quickly, Kyrgyzstan’s instability could easily affect other states in the fragile Central Asian region.

For much of this year, two groups have been competing for control:

  • the government, headed by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Prime Minister Feliks Kulov, First Deputy Prime Minister Daniyar Üsönov and State Secretary Adakhan Madumarov; and
     
  • the opposition movement “For Reforms!” (Za reformy!), led by parliamentarians including Ömürbek Tekebayev, Melis Eshimkanov and Azimbek Beknazarov; a number of former ministers in the Bakiyev administration, including Almazbek Atambayev and Roza Otunbayeva; and civil society activists such as Edil Baysalov.

A confrontation has been growing since the spring of 2006, with the opposition holding demonstrations in Bishkek and elsewhere, demanding political reforms. The troubles, which began over opposition demands for checks on presidential power, have taken on a regional character, with the government relying on support from the southern regions (particularly the provinces of Jalalabat and Osh), and the opposition relying heavily on support from the north (particularly the provinces of Chüy and Talas). The police and security forces are split between the two camps but so far they have been keeping both sides mostly apart in the capital.

The opposition had been holding large demonstrations in central Bishkek since 2 November, trying to force Bakiyev to approve a new constitution that would limit presidential powers and allow the largest block in parliament to form the government. Bakiyev, who under the constitution enjoys almost unlimited powers, refused. Both sides began rallying their supporters and what began as a dispute between political elites is rapidly drawing in larger numbers of ordinary citizens. The centre of the capital has been divided into two parts, with opposition supporters rallying at the main government compound, the “White House”, and government supporters gathering near the parliament building.

As further clashes appeared likely on 7 November, last-minute negotiations reduced tensions, but demonstrations from both sides are continuing and the possibility of conflict remains. The talks between Speaker of the Parliament Marat Sultanov and President Bakiyev produced agreement to present a compromise constitution to parliament, which adopted it on 8 November. President Bakieyev signed it the next day but it remains uncertain how he will implement it. Moreover, further action is required to shore up political processes. The truce remains very fragile.

Quick action is still needed from government, opposition and international community alike in order to take advantage of what may be no more than a brief lull. The following steps are needed:

  • the government and the opposition must both call on their supporters to vacate the squares in Bishkek they currently hold and urge their supporters in other parts of the country not to come to Bishkek to participate in demonstrations;
     
  • the EU, U.S., Russia, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and UN (through the Secretary-General in the first instance) must each appeal to President Bakiyev for restraint, especially to avoid using force to bring the situation under control;
     
  • the OSCE mission in Bishkek should be prepared to provide, if needed, a neutral venue for continuing negotiations between the government and the opposition;
     
  • the OSCE secretary general and the EU special representative for Central Asia should immediately visit Bishkek, work to draw in to the talks more representatives from both sides, and offer to mediate efforts to find a suitable mechanism for reaching a compromise on a plan for institution building; and
     
  • the Kyrgyz government and opposition, with active international support, should embark on a program of national reconciliation to ease tensions between the country’s various regions and factions.

Beyond the urgent need for rapid diplomatic action to defuse the immediate crisis, the OSCE, EU, Russia, Kazakhstan and U.S. all need to be more fully involved in helping negotiate an end to the political breakdown.

Bishkek/Brussels, 9 November 2006

Presidential candidate Sooronbai Jeenbekov casts his ballot at a polling station during the presidential election in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan October 15, 2017. REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov

Opportunities and Challenges Await Kyrgyzstan’s Incoming President

The inauguration of Kyrgyzstan’s new president on 24 November is a tribute to the country’s parliamentary democracy. But to overcome continued vulnerability, Sooronbai Jeenbekov must manage powerful southern elites, define the role of religion in society and spearhead reconciliation with Central Asian neighbours Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov will be inaugurated as Kyrgyzstan’s fifth president on 24 November, the victor of a tight, unpredictable, contested but ultimately legitimate election. The new leader, a loyal member of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), won 54 per cent of the vote and gained a majority in every province but Chui and Talas – the home territory of the defeated main opposition candidate Omurbek Babanov.

As president, Jeenbekov will face a number of challenges and opportunities, both at home and in Central Asia. The state Committee for National Security (GKNB) on 4 November opened an investigation against Babanov for inciting ethnic hatred based on a speech he made on 28 September in an ethnic-Uzbek area of Osh, a city in southern Kyrgyzstan’s Ferghana Valley. Babanov called on Uzbeks to defend their rights and for any Kyrgyz police officers who harassed Uzbeks to be dismissed. Some observers see the GKNB case as politically motivated.

While tensions remain high in Osh, the epicentre of violent ethnic clashes that left 400 mostly Uzbeks dead in June 2010, unrest could also occur elsewhere. Babanov travelled abroad after the campaign, but if he returns he could be arrested at the airport, raising the possibility of protests in his stronghold of Talas, a city 300km west of Bishkek. His arrest and trial would undermine Kyrgyzstan’s international credibility, lay bare the politicisation of the security services and the judiciary, and show unwillingness to tackle deep-seated inter-ethnic issues in the south.

While tensions remain high in Osh, the epicentre of violent ethnic clashes that left 400 mostly Uzbeks dead in June 2010, unrest could also occur elsewhere.

Former President Almazbek Atambayev, also from the SDPK, was sometimes unpredictable but managed to balance competing regional and business interests inside Kyrgyzstan, key factors in the ousting of Presidents Kurmanbek Bakiev in 2010 and Askar Akayev in 2005. Jeenbekov will have to replicate this balancing act and make a strategic decision whether or not to reestablish central government control in Osh, which operates like a fiefdom. The latter risks upsetting heavy-weight figures in the south with vested interests, but in the long term, a failure to do so will perpetuate internal political tensions.

The new president will also have the opportunity to shape the debate about the role of religion in society. For too long – and much like other Central Asian states – Kyrgyzstan has overly securitised its response to those practicing non-traditional forms of Islam, creating tensions and resentments, while politicians leading a secular state make public displays of piety integral to their political personas. Kyrgyzstan is widely perceived as an easy target for terrorist activity, as the August 2016 attack on the Chinese embassy demonstrated. It will be essential to find a balance between assessing what are real risks and what are questions of religious freedoms and civil rights.

As soon as he takes office, Jeenbekov should make every effort to repair Kyrgyzstan’s relationship with Kazakhstan, which deteriorated spectacularly after President Atambayev accused Astana of meddling in the Kyrgyz presidential election to bolster Babanov. Astana responded by introducing strict customs controls on the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border citing concerns about Chinese goods being smuggled through Kyrgyzstan. The disruption on the border is negatively affecting Kyrgyzstan’s economy and Kyrgyzstan has complained to the World Trade Organization and to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, a trade bloc of which Kazakhstan is a founding member. Russia has so far failed to make any meaningful comment on the standoff.

The degree to which Kazakhstan is motivated by anger at Atambayev or genuine concerns about cross-border smuggling is unclear. Still, it will fall to Jeenbekov to spearhead a reconciliation. How open-minded Kazakhstan will be to resolving the spat will also depend on whether or not they see Jeenbekov as a strong, independent leader or merely Atambayev’s puppet.

There is now scope to improve relations with Uzbekistan in a way that was unimaginable before President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office in December 2016. Much of the initiative is coming from the Uzbek side but the amount of progress made between the two states is remarkable. Regional cooperation, in the long term, will foster stability in Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan can play a leading role in both practicing and promoting the type of cooperation that defuses tensions in border areas and over shared resources such as water and energy. By doing so Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan can provide a model of collaboration and peacebuilding in the region.

Having been the first country in Central Asia to see a president voluntarily leave his post at the end of his constitutionally mandated term, Kyrgyzstan is in many respects light years ahead of its neighbours.

Kyrgyzstan is still a young parliamentary democracy in a difficult neighbourhood. If Jeenbekov is to continue Atambayev’s program of fighting corruption, efforts need to extend beyond targeting the SDPK’s political opponents. Kyrgyzstan and its partners should begin to address how corruption in politics can be tackled. Beyond the technical success of casting votes electronically, there are many opportunities for illegal practices. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) election observers said the presidential elections were legitimate, but local concerns focus on arrests of opposition figures, vote buying and the misuse of administrative resources.

Having been the first country in Central Asia to see a president voluntarily leave his post at the end of his constitutionally mandated term, Kyrgyzstan is in many respects light years ahead of its neighbours. Tajikistan could be facing a potentially destabilising transition in 2020, and Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 77, cannot hold power forever. Any regional stress will be quickly felt in Bishkek, another reason that Jeenbekov should focus on bolstering Kyrgyzstan’s long-term stability while the situation is calm.

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