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100's People Killed in Kyrgyzstan Protests

Published on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 by The Guardian/UK At Least 17 People Killed in Kyrgyzstan Protests as Government Stormed

Minister reportedly killed as demonstrations and clashes with riot police spread to capital Bishkek in declared state of emergency

by Luke Harding in Moscow and agencies

At least 180 people in Kyrgyzstan have been wounded and 17 killed in clashes between riot police and anti-government demonstrators.

[Image: kyrgyzstan-protests-001_0.jpg]Riot police during anti-government protests in Bishkek. (Photograph: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty)

Police opened fire when thousands of protesters tried to storm the main government building in the capital Bishkek and overthrow the regime.
Reporters saw bodies lying in the main square outside the office of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the central Asian republic's president, and opposition leaders said that at least 17 people were killed in the violence
Bakiyev declared a state of emergency, as riot police firing tear gas and flash grenades beat back the crowds. There were also unconfirmed reports that the country's interior minister had been beaten by an angry mob.

Opposition activist Shamil Murat told Associated Press that he saw the dead body of minister Moldomusa Kongatiyev in a government building in the western town of Talas.

Murat said the protesters beat up Kongatiyev and forced him to order his subordinates in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to stop a crackdown on an opposition rally there.

The protests, which began last week in several Kyrgz provincial cities, erupted today in Bishkek when around 200 people gathered outside the offices of the main opposition parties.

Demonstrators dodged attempts by police to stop them and marched towards the centre of the city, reports said. The crowd, armed with iron bars and stones, then tried to seize the main government building using an armoured vehicle. Several shots rang out from the building, the White House.

Opposition activists also took over the state TV channel, broadcasting speeches in support of the uprising.

The small central Asian republic is home to a major US airbase supplying Afghanistan, and has been a source of increasing tension between Moscow and Washington. The Kremlin is irritated by US presence in a region it regards as its backyard. It has also grown frustrated with the Bakiyev regime, which it believes has fallen under US influence.

Today's rolling violent protests appear to be largely spontaneous. All major opposition figures who might have led the uprising were arrested last night, and remain locked up. This morning's protests appear to be an explosion of popular frustration rather than a well-organised coup attempt.
Today one leading expert said a recent decision to impose punitive price hikes on water and gas had ignited the riots. "In the last few months there has been growing anger over this non-political issue," Paul Quinn-Judge, central Asia project director of the International Crisis Group, said. "The government thought they could get away with it. Most people agreed."

He went on: "But in the last few weeks we have seen several rumblings in the secondary towns and cities across Kyrgyzstan. There has also been a crisis inside government. Now it has all come together in one giant wreck."
In Naryn, a town in central Kyrgyzstan, around 3,000 anti-government protesters today seized the main government building. They ordered local governor Almazbek Akmataliyev to leave and then threw documents and a flag from the window of his office. The crowd then tried to seize the local police department.

Opposition supporters also occupied the building of the Chuy region administration in the town of Tokmak, located approximately 50km from Bishkek, Interfax reported.

Some 4,000 protesters also gathered on the main square in Talas, a small town in a picturesque valley on the border with Kazakhstan. Witnesses said protesters, throwing stones, were attempting to storm the Talas local police headquarters, a day after rampaging through the regional government's headquarters, fighting off police and burning Bakiyev's portraits.

According to Quinn-Judge, Kyrgyzstan was facing several power struggles – not just the one between the government and opposition, but also inside Bakiyev's family-run regime. "It's not a happy family. They don't get on," he said. "Some of them are upset that one of them is creaming off large parts of the economy."

The key question now was whether Bakiyev – who come to power in 2005 following the pro-reform Tulip Revolution – was prepared to use force to crush the revolt, he said.

Kyrgyzstan used to be the most progressive country in central Asia – a relative comparison given the region is run by democracy-averse super-presidents. In recent years it has moved quietly and steadily towards authoritarianism. There has been increasing pressure on the media, and clearly fabricated cases against opposition leaders.

Recently Bakiyev has mused that Krygzstan needs to emulate Russia's authoritarian model, which includes rigged elections, fake opposition parties and a controlled media. "The president has been talking about a new philosophy in the country. They really like Vladimir Putin's vertical of power. Unfortunately they can't organise it very well," Quinn-Judge noted.
Today Kyrgyz prime minister Daniyar Usenov condemned the opposition rallies, and said about 100 people were injured in the violence in Talas. "They are bandits, not an opposition movement," Usenov told reporters. "This kind of thing cannot be called opposition."

Russia, the main regional power, called for restraint. "We have consistently urged that all disagreements – political, economic and social – are resolved by the existing Kyrgyz democratic procedures without the use of force and without harm to the citizens of Kyrgyzstan," Interfax news agency quoted the Russian deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, as saying.

Last week, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon visited Bishkek and called on the government to do more to protect human rights. The United Nations said on Tuesday that Ban was concerned at events in Talas and urged all parties to show restraint.

Bishkek residents said internet access had been blocked in most households around the city, and that the main road between Talas and Bishkek had been entirely cordoned off by police.

© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller

with video.... 20 killed, 300 wounded

April 7, 2010

Kyrgyzstan And The Battle For Central Asia
Rick Rozoff

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was deposed five years after and in the same manner as he came to power, in a bloody uprising.

Elected president two months after the so-called Tulip Revolution of 2005 he helped engineer, he was since then head of state of the main transit nation for the U.S. and NATO war in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon secured the Manas Air Base (as of last year known as the Transit Center at Manas) in Kyrgyzstan shortly after its invasion of Afghanistan in October of 2001 and in the interim, according to a U.S. armed forces publication last June, "More than 170,000 coalition personnel passed through the base on their way in or out of Afghanistan, and Manas was the transit point for 5,000 tons of cargo, including spare parts and equipment, uniforms and various items to support personnel and mission needs.

"Currently, around 1,000 U.S. troops, along with a few hundred from Spain and France, are assigned to the base." [1]

The White House's Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke paid his first visit in his current position to Kyrgyzstan - and the three other former Soviet Central Asian republics which border it, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - in February and said "35,000 US troops were transiting each month on their way in and out of Afghanistan." [2] At the rate he mentioned, 420,000 troops annually.

The U.S. and NATO also established military bases in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for the war in South Asia, but on a smaller scale. (U.S. military forces were ordered out of the second country following what the government claimed was a Tulip Revolution-type armed uprising in its province of Andijan less than two months after the Kyrgyz precedent. Germany maintains a base near the Uzbek city of Termez to transit troops and military equipment to Afghanistan's Kunduz province where the bulk of its 4,300 forces is concentrated.)

In February of 2009 the Kyrgyz government announced that it was also evicting U.S. and NATO forces from its country, but relented in June when Washington offered it $60 million to reverse its decision.

Kyrgyzstan borders China.

It not only borders China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, but is only separated from Russia by a single nation, Kazakhstan. To gain an appreciation of Russian and Chinese concerns over hundreds of thousands of U.S. and NATO troops passing through Kyrgyzstan, imagine a comparable amount of Chinese and Russian soldiers regularly passing through Mexico and Guatemala, respectively. For almost nine years and at an accelerating rate.

It is not only a military "hard power" but also a "soft power" threat that the Western role in Kyrgyzstan poses to Russia and China.

The nation is a member of the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) along with Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - seen by many as the only counterpart to NATO on former Soviet space - and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with China, Russia and the three above-mentioned Central Asian nations.

According to U.S. officials, during and after the Tulip Revolution of 2005 not a single U.S. or NATO flight into the Manas Air Base was cancelled or even delayed. But a six-nation CSTO exercise scheduled for days afterward was cancelled.

The uprising and the deposing of standing president Askar Akayev in March of 2005 was the third self-styled "color revolution" in the former Soviet Union in sixteen months, following the Rose Revolution in Georgia in late 2003 and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in late 2004 and early 2005.

As the Kyrgyz version was underway Western news media were asking the question "Who's next?" Candidates included other former Soviet states like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Uzbekistan. And Russia. Along with Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan those nations accounted for ten of the twelve members of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

As Agence France-Presse detailed in early April of 2005: "The CIS was founded in December 1991 on the very day the Soviet Union disappeared....But over the past year and a half, three faithful Kremlin allies were toppled in...revolutions: Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia, Leonid Kuchma in Ukraine, and, last week, Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan....Even though Kyrgyzstan’s new interim leaders have vowed to continue their deposed predecessor’s Moscow-friendly policies, the lightning toppling of the government there has spawned speculation that the CIS would soon collapse." [3]

The leader of the "color revolution" prototype, Georgia's Mikheil Saakashvili, gloated over the Kyrgyz "regime change," attributing the "brave" actions of the opposition in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan "to the Georgia factor," and added, "We are not waiting for the development of events, but are doing our best to destroy the empire in the CIS." [4]

Shortly after the uprising former Indian diplomat and political analyst M.K. Bhadrakumar wrote of the then seemingly inexorable momentum of "color" revolts in the former Soviet Union:

"[A]ll the three countries [Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan] are strategically placed in the post-Soviet space. They comprise Russia's 'near abroad.'

"Washington has been expanding its influence in the arc of former Soviet republics — in the Baltics...the Caucasus, and Central Asia —
in recent years with a tenacity that worries Moscow.

"Ever since 2003 when Mr. Akayev decided on allowing Russia to establish a full-fledged military base in Kant he knew he was on the American 'watch list.' The political temperature within Kyrgyzstan began to rise.

"The Americans made it clear in many ways that they desired a regime change in Bishkek....The 'revolution' in the Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan has already thrown up surprises. A comparison with the two earlier 'colour revolutions' in Georgia and Ukraine will be a good starting point.

"First, the striking similarities between the three 'revolutions' must be duly noted. All three are meant to signify the unstoppable spread of the fire of liberty lit by the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11.

"But behind the rhetoric, the truth is that the U.S. wanted regime change in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan because of difficulties with the incumbent leadership. The leaders of all the three countries — Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia, Leonid Kuchma in Ukraine, and Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan — had enjoyed the support of the U.S. during most of their rule.

"Washington had cited them repeatedly as the beacons of hope for democracy and globalisation in the territories of the former Soviet Union.

"Their trouble began when they incrementally began to edge towards a resurgent Russia under Vladimir Putin." [5]

Seven weeks after Bhadrakumar's column appeared his analysis would be confirmed by no less an authority on the matter than U.S. President George W. Bush.

Visiting the capital of Georgia a year and a half after its "Rose Revolution," he was hosted by his counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili, former State Department fellowship recipient and U.S. resident, who seized power in what can only be described as a putsch but nevertheless said:

"Georgia will become the main partner of the United States in spreading democracy and freedom in the post-Soviet space. This is our proposal. We
will always be with you in protecting freedom and democracy."

Bush reflected Saakashvili's inflated estimate of himself: "You are making many important contributions to freedom’s cause, but your most important contribution is your example. Hopeful changes are taking places from Baghdad to Beirut and Bishkek [Kyrgyzstan]. But before there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq or Orange Revolution in Ukraine or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was a Rose Revolution in Georgia.” [6]

A few days after the Kyrgyz coup Bush welcomed Ukraine's "orange" president Viktor Yushchenko - who this January only received 5.45 per cent of the vote in his reelection bid - and applauded his U.S.-assisted ascent to power, saying it “may have looked like it was only a part of the history of Ukraine, but the Orange Revolution represented revolutions elsewhere as well....We share a goal to spread freedom to other nations.” [7]

Beyond the threat of the dissolution of the CIS and of the CSTO, in April of 2005 Der Spiegel featured a report with the title "Revolutions Speed Russia's Disintegration."

In part it revealed the prime movers behind the events in Kyrgyzstan:

"As early as February," Roza Otunbayeva - now the apparent head of the provisional government - "pledged allegiance to a small group of partners and sponsors of the Kyrgyz revolution, to 'our American friends' at Freedom House (who donated a printing press in Bishkek to the opposition), and to George Soros, a speculator who previously helped unseat Edward Shevardnadze's government in Georgia.

"Trying to help the democratic process, the Americans poured some $12 million into Kyrgyzstan in the form of scholarships and donations - and that was last year alone. Washington's State Department even funded TV station equipment in the rebellious southern province town of Osh." [8]

In June George Soros was obliging enough to confirm Otunbayeva's gratitude was not without foundation by stating, "I provided for Georgian public servants to get $1,200 a month....And now I am ready to support the creation of a fund like this in Kyrgyzstan." [9]

The two Georges - Bush and Soros - were not alone in fathering the "color" geostrategic transformations from the Balkans to the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. They received generous assistance from the likes of Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and other alleged non-governmental organizations.

A week after the "tulip" takeover the project director for Freedom House, Mike Stone, summed up the role of his organization with two words: "Mission accomplished." [10]

A British newspaper that interviewed him added, "US involvement in the small, mountainous country is higher proportionally than it was for Georgia's 'rose' revolution or Ukraine's 'orange' uprising. [11]

Assistance also was provided by Western-funded and -trained "youth activists" modeled after and trained by those organized in Yugoslavia to topple the government of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000:

Compare the names:

Yugoslavia: Otpor! (Resistance!)
Ukraine: Pora! (It's Time!)
Georgia: Kmara (Enough)
Kyrgyzstan: KelKel (Stand Up and Go)

Behind them all, deposed Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev identified the true architects of his ouster. On April 2 he stated "There were international organisations who supported and financed the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.

"A week before these events I saw a letter on the internet signed by the US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan. It contained a detailed plan for the revolution." [12]

The Kyrgyz Tulip (formerly Lemon, Pink and Daffodil) Revolution was as unconstitutional and as disruptive to the nation as its Georgian and Ukrainian predecessors were, but far more violent. Deaths and injuries occurred in the southern cities of Osh and Jalal Abad (Jalalabad, Jalal-Abad) and in the capital of Bishkek.

It was also the first "color" revolt in a nation bordering China. Not only did Russia and China voice grave concerns over the developments in Kyrgyzstan, Iran did also, seeing where the trajectory of "regime change" campaigns was headed.


In the four decades of the Cold War political changes through elections or otherwise in any nation in the world - no matter how small, impoverished, isolated and seemingly insignificant - assumed importance far exceeding their domestic effects. World political analysts and policy makers asked the key question: Which way would the new government align itself, with the U.S. or the Soviet Union?

In the post-Cold War period the question is no longer one of political philosophy or socio-economic orientation, but this: How will the new administration support or oppose U.S. plans for regional and global dominance?

With Roza Otunbayeva as chief spokesperson if not head of a new Kyrgyz "people's government," there is reason to believe that Washington will not be dissatisfied with the overthrow of her former "tulip" partner Bakiyev. She has already confirmed that the American base at Manas will not be closed.

Less than two months after the 2005 coup Otunbayeva, then acting foreign minister, met with her U.S. counterpart Condoleezza Rice in Washington during which the latter assured her that "the U.S. administration will continue to help the Kyrgyz government promote democratic processes in the country." [13]

Shortly after the March "democratic transformation," its patron saint, Georgia's Mikheil Saakashvili, boasted that "Roza Otunbayeva worked in Tbilisi in recent years and was the head of UN office in Abkhazia. During the Rose Revolution she was in Georgia and knew everything that was happening...the Georgian factor was a catalyst of many things going on there [in Kyrgyzstan].”[14]

>From the U.S. perspective she appears to have reliable bona fides.

Russia has put its air base in Kyrgyzstan on high alert, though comments from leading Russian government officials - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in particular - indicate an acceptance of the uprising which has already caused 65 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

But Russia attempted to put the best face on the revolt five years ago also.

Which direction the next Kyrgyz government takes will have repercussions far beyond the nation's small size and population (slightly over five million).

It could affect U.S. and NATO plans for the largest military offensive of the Afghan war scheduled to begin in two months in Kandahar province.

It could determine the future of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the two major potential barriers to Western military penetration of vast tracts of Eurasia.

The stakes could hardly be higher.

1) Stars and Stripes, June 16, 2009
2) Agence France-Presse, March 4, 2010
3) Agence France-Presse, April 3, 2005
4) The Messenger, March 31, 2005
5) The Hindu, March 28, 2005
6) Civil Georgia, May 10, 2005
7) Associated Press, April 4, 2005
8) Der Spiegel, April 4, 2005
9) Russian Information Agency Novosti, June 16, 2005
10) The Telegraph, April 2, 2005
11) Ibid
12) Associated Press, April 2, 2005
13) Interfax, June 15, 2005
14) Civil Georgia, March 30, 2005
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Black Tuesday in Talas. What will happen next?

7 04 2010 Black Tuesday in Talas. What will happen next?


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The photo of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev (taken by Reuters correspondent in Talas). This person sparks anger of opposition leaders and their supporters
April 6, 2010 is listed in the history of independent Kyrgyzstan as the day of desperate protest actions against current regime. The opposition between people and officials, initiated in the western city of Talas, turned into clashes with police and task forces. The government responded immediately, detaining the opposition leaders, directly and indirectly involved in the Talas events, throughout the republic. The civil disturbance may reach all other regions of the republic and Bishkek.
All previous news about the Talas events are available here (in Russian).
By the late evening of April 6 the opposition members, edged out by rubber bullets and tear gas, took over the local authorities building in Talas (Kyrgyzstan) again while the task forces were edged to the local internal affairs department (IAD) building. During the combat assault the task forces freed the oblast governor and arrested few opposition members.
The Ferghana.Ru correspondents report that the protesters set fire at the first floor. One of the law enforcement officers was severely injured during the fire. The opposition members did not let firemen in and extinguished fire. So far it is not clear whether medical assistance was provided to the injured person, considering the fact that entire city of Talas has only one ambulance car.
In the evening many residents of Talas left the central square, promising to come back in the morning.
However, there was still the number of inadequate people remaining, many of which were drunk. They were aggressive and forcing the cars drivers to pull over.
The few protesters assaulted two special operations soldiers and took away helmets and nightsticks. They were going to stay at the main square overnight although it was not safe.
The opposition leaders warned people it was against the law to attack the building of IAD and law enforcement bodies had the legal right to open fire.
By the end of Tuesday the stable situation was also undermined in other regions of the republic. The opposition leaders are being detained throughout the republic: Omurbek Tekebaev (one of the charismatic and popular leaders and the Chairman of the Ata-Meken party), Anvar Artykov (the former Governor of Osh Oblast), Emil Kaptagaev (the deputy head of United People’s Movement (UPM), Bolot Sherniyazov (former parliamentary deputy), Duishenkul Chotonov (Bakiev’s teammate in the tulip revolution), Turat Madalbekov (the member of the Ata-Meken party political council).
According to preliminary information, the opposition leaders were detained as witnesses on the Talas case.
In the morning of April 7 there were 400 people in the square of Talas. The sources indicate there were not soldiers or policemen. The building of the local authorities is destroyed.
It has to be mentioned that on April 7 the opposition leaders were going to organize the assembly around the country because the government did not satisfy their requirements, listed on March 17 and including the tariff cut, the return of earlier sold strategic state assets, the release of imprisoned opposition leaders, termination of politically motivated trials and displacement of president’s relatives from the official positions.
UN Secretary General Pan Gi Mun, currently visiting Kazakhstan, expressed his concern about the events in Kyrgyzstan and urged both sides to involve in constructive dialogue, says UN news center.
Entire Kyrgyz internet zone is either blocked or poorly functions, not letting the users visit KG zone websites.
In the opinion of Ferghana.Ru experts the sad conclusion of black Tuesday in Talas is that both government and its opponents in Kyrgyzstan dramatically got involved in “battle” opposition, not trying to find possible compromise. If in near future almost unmanaged process of street fights is not put into political discussion, Kyrgyzstan may expect “hot” summer.
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"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Embedded video here:
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Kyrgyz opposition says it has taken power–Over 100 Dead

8 04 2010 [We will know whether the leaders of the second Tulip revolution are more Western puppets, or real social democrats, if we see this turn into a new opportunity for American military moves into Kyrgyzstan. If they are of the people and not of the evil empire then the new anti-terrorism Scorpion Battalion training agreement recently signed with the US will be cancelled. It won't take long to find out, the United States is on life-support now. Obama must find a new home in Central Asia for those troops allegedly leaving Afghanistan. SEE: Obama’s Tulip Revolution Replay]
Kyrgyz opposition says it has taken power

Olga Dzyubenko and Maria Golovnina

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Troops fire on Kyrgyz protests

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Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov talks to the media in the capital Bishkek, April 6, 2010. REUTERS\/Vladimir Pirogov”}
BISHKEK (Reuters) – The Kyrgyz opposition said on Wednesday it had forced the Central Asian country’s government to resign after troops shot at protesters besieging government buildings, killing dozens.
“We have reached an agreement that the government will resign. That has not been signed on paper yet,” Galina Skripkina, a senior official in the opposition Social-Democratic Party and member of parliament, told Reuters.
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev had flown to the southern city of Osh. “Bakiyev has taken a plane from Bishkek to Osh and he has already landed there,” she said.
“The opposition is in full control of power,” an opposition leader, Roza Otunbayeva, said, Russian news agency RIA reported earlier.
The announcement followed a day of violent clashes in Bishkek and other towns. Spokesmen for the government and the president were not available for comment.
Another opposition leader, Temir Sariyev, said the opposition had entered the government building in central Bishkek and Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov had written a resignation statement, RIA reported.
“Bakiyev has left the White House … He is no longer in Bishkek,” said Sariyev, who was arrested on his arrival on a flight from Moscow on Wednesday, but later freed by the protest.
Bakiyev himself came to power after 2005 protests which ousted Kyrgyzstan’s first post-Soviet President Askar Akayev. Both men were accused by their opponents of concentrating power in the hands of their associates.
Political unrest over poverty, rising prices and corruption has gripped Kyrgyzstan since early March. About a third of the population live below the poverty line and remittances from workers in Russia have fallen during the global economic crisis.
The opposition said at least 100 people had been killed on Wednesday in clashes that have spread since last month across the ex-Soviet Central Asian country that hosts a U.S. military air base supporting troops in Afghanistan, and a Russian base.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier denied Russia — a major donor to Kyrgyzstan along with Washington and neighboring China — had played a hand in the clashes.
“Neither Russia, nor your humble servant, nor Russian officials have any links whatsoever to these events,” Putin was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.
Kyrgyz troops earlier shot at thousands of anti-government protesters who tried to smash two trucks through the perimeter fence of government buildings, a Reuters reporter said.
Around 1,000 people stormed the prosecutor-general’s office before setting fire to the building. Opposition activists also took control of state television channel KTR.
“There are dozens of dead bodies, all with gunshot wounds,” Akylbek Yeukebayev, a doctor at a Bishkek hospital told Reuters.
Many of the injured had gunshot wounds to their heads. “They are killing us,” said one wounded man on the emergency ward.
“About 100 people were killed today, possibly more. What kind of negotiations with the government can we talk about when they are killing our people?,” prominent opposition and human rights campaigner Toktoaim Umetaliyeza told Reuters.
The Kyrgyz Health Ministry said the official death toll in Bishkek was 40, with around 400 injured across the country.
Protesters seized government buildings in three other towns. In Talas, Kyrgyz First Deputy Prime Minister Aklybek Japarov and Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongantiyev were beaten. Kongantiyev was forced to shout: “Down with Bakiyev!,” two witnesses said.
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov earlier told Reuters by phone that he and the president were working in their offices.
“We daren’t even look out of the window,” Kamil Sydykov, the prime minister’s spokesman, said by telephone from inside the presidential building.
European security watchdog, the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, chaired by neighboring Kazakhstan, called for calm and offered to broker any negotiations.
“The OSCE recognizes that there are political, economic and social issues underlying the unrest, which need to be addressed through broad political dialogue. The Organization stands ready to facilitate such a dialogue,” Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev told Kyrgyz counterpart Kadyrbek Sarbayev by telephone.
Analysts said the violence was likely to continue.
“Given (Bakiyev’s) resolve in recent years to concentrate power in his hands only, it is difficult to see how a political compromise may be found,” Lilit Gevorgyan, political analyst at IHS Global Insight.
Smoke from burning buildings and makeshift bonfires billowed around the capital of the ex-Soviet state of 5.3 million people.
Around 5,000 people were in the center of Bishkek, some carrying rifles and holding red-and-yellow Kyrgyz flags, beyond a curfew which came into effect at 8 p.m. (1400 GMT). Some shops and restaurants in the main square were looted.
The protests spread to the capital after riots which began in Talas and Naryn the day before and continued into Wednesday.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Bishkek last week and called on the government to do more to protect human rights.
“The secretary-general is shocked by the reported deaths and injuries that have occurred today in Kyrgyzstan. He urgently appeals for dialogue and calm to avoid further bloodshed,” Ban’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said on Wednesday.
(Additional reporting by Alexander Reshetnikov in Bishkek; Guy Faulconbridge; Amie Ferris-Rotman and Conor Sweeney in Moscow; Sylvia Westall in Vienna; Writing by Robin Paxton and Alison Williams; Editing by Philippa Fletcher)
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Kyrgyzstan at the hub of superpowers’ plans

8 04 2010 Kyrgyzstan at the hub of superpowers’ plans

[Image: _47600289_008966179-1.jpg] The Manas base in Kyrgyzstan is vital for US troops in Afghanistan

By Nick Childs
BBC World Affairs Correspondent
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Reports of violence in the capital of Kyrgyzstan have prompted the US embassy there to express deep concern, and the Russian government to call for restraint.
These reactions help underline the strategic significance of Kyrgyzstan and the region it occupies.
Kyrgyzstan has found itself in the cockpit of what has been dubbed the new “great game” in the region – so-called because the modern big powers jostling for influence there appear reminiscent of the 19th Century contest between the British and Russian empires over access to India.
It has been a scramble for access to energy and other natural resources, trade routes, and more recently Western supply routes for operations in Afghanistan.
[Image: _47600290_009074458-1.jpg] Gunfire has broken out in the Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek

For Kyrgyzstan – one of the poorest of the neighbours in this region – the chief international focus has been access for military bases.
The Manas air base has become a key strategic staging post for the US military in Afghanistan – especially after the closure of the so-called K2 base in Uzbekistan .
That itself followed the souring of relations between the US and Uzbek governments in 2005, after the Uzbek authorities cracked down violently on an internal threat posed by Islamic militants.
But the sensitivities have been growing – not least from Moscow, as the US-led operations in Afghanistan, and therefore also Washington’s military interest in the region, have become ever more prolonged.
The Kyrgyz authorities have played Washington off against Moscow.
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev had already been pressing Washington for significant increases in the rental payments for Manas.
But in early 2009, on the back of a Russian promise of a huge aid package, he announced that the base would close.
[Image: _47600397_009004750-1.jpg] President Bakiyev asked for rent increases for the Manas base

It took a personal intervention by President Barack Obama to keep the Manas base open to the Americans. Even then it was on a compromise basis, under which Manas was to be described as a “transit centre”.
But the bumpy nature of relationships in the region has helped fuel a debate over how much commitment the West – and especially the US – should have in the region in the long term, particularly if operations in Afghanistan eventually tail off.
There are broader Western concerns about stability, governance, access to energy, and worries about the spread of Islamic militancy there.
But how these should be translated into long-term policy, against the background of Russian, Chinese and other local sensitivities, is very much open to question.

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"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Post-Soviet Tragedy

8 04 2010 Post-Soviet Tragedy

Violence in Kyrgyzstan follows a pattern of misrule and repression in Central Asia

The riots and clashes that have left scores dead in Kyrgyzstan have followed a pattern all too familiar in Central Asia. For months protests have been growing against the authoritarian rule of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who swept to power in the so-called Tulip Revolution of 2005, but has proved as inept, venal and corrupt as his predecessor. Despite the arrest of three leading opposition figures and the declaration of a state of emergency, the authorities have failed to halt the mounting protests that resulted in the storming of parliament, the burning of government offices and the capture of the television centre. President Bakiyev has, so far, refused to resign.
In the past decade there have been similar [American-engineered] clashes, crackdowns and arrests across most of Central Asia. The five countries that once formed the prosperous and relatively stable Muslim underbelly of the Soviet Union have, since independence, shown an abysmal record of authoritarian rule, economic stagnation, rights abuses and instability. In Uzbekistan, hundreds of people were killed in 2005 when troops fired on those demonstrating against the autocratic rule of President Karimov. Subsequent repression has led to the jailing of dozens of human rights activists, despite sanctions imposed by the European Union.
In Turkmenistan the bizarre and dictatorial rule of the megalomaniac first post-Soviet leader, Saparmurat Niyazov, led to widespread abuses, a sinister cult of personality and a catastrophic fall in educational standards. The small former Soviet republic of Tajikistan suffered prolonged civil war soon after independence. Only Kazakhstan, the largest and richest state, has prospered — but at the expense of democracy and human rights as President Nazarbayev has repressed, exiled or imprisoned almost all his political opponents.
In almost all countries, misrule has fuelled the growth of Islamist extremism and the withering of early hopes for democracy. The fertile Fergana Valley, where a jigsaw of borders drawn up by Stalin criss-crosses the historic Silk Road, has become a breeding ground for Islamist militancy, challenging established governments and threatening to spread the instability of Afghanistan right across the vast Central Asian region.
It is not only Russia that is concerned by the turmoil in its former Asian possessions. America has tried to set up forward bases in the region to supply its operations in Afghanistan. But the US was expelled from Uzbekistan after criticising President Karimov’s record, and the current turmoil in Kyrgyzstan threatens vital Nato supply lines that depend, more and more, on the northern routes into Afghanistan. Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, has been touring the area and has spoken out, with unusual and commendable candour, criticising the violation of human rights in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, [Moon added fuel to the fire, by encouraging the public in its demands for immediate improvement in human rights. If he wanted to help the people here he would lead a UN effort to create an international pipeline consortium that no single nation or group of nations could control. This would bring the money for development and improvements in the local human condition.] once seen as an island of democracy. On Sunday he visits Uzbekistan, where he will be under pressure to follow up on the sharp criticism of the UN Human Rights Committee two weeks ago.
Central Asia is vast, strategic and potentially very wealthy. The five nations are rich in resources much in demand by China, their neighbour to the East, and by the sub-continent. [The American great game is to create for itself the power to disrupt fuel supplies to competitors in Asia.] None, however, has understood that to attract outside investment, a minimum of good government, social cohesion and political tolerance is needed. Kyrgyzstan is just the latest example of this post-Soviet tragedy.
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

U.S. Supported Repressive Regime In Flames in Kyrgyzstan; Important Manas Air Base Future Threatened

The opposition is claiming that at least 100 have died in protests there. Russia today is reporting the government of Kyrgyzstan is stepping down. This most likely will spell trouble for the Manas Air Base, an important U.S. support base for the Afganistan conflict and according to the Christian Science Monitor, the "only air base the US has access to in Central Asia." It was only the repressive regime which has now stepped down which was allowing the U.S. to continue to operate the base.
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Twenty photo slide show: Multimedia

.refer .inlinePlayer .refer{font-size:1em}[Image: audio_icon.gif] Back Story With The Times's Clifford J. Levy

[Image: 0407-KYRGYSTAN-B.JPG] Photographs
Emergency in Kyrgyzstan Amid Mass Protests


[Image: 08bishkek-map-articleInline-v2.jpg]

April 8, 2010
Upheaval in Kyrgyzstan Could Imperil Key U.S. Base


MOSCOW — The bloody protests against the repressive rule of the president of Kyrgyzstan which forced him to flee the capital of Bishkek could pose a threat to a pivotal American military supply line into nearby Afghanistan.
Opposition politicians, speaking on state television after it was seized by protesters Wednesday, said they had taken control of the government after a day of violent clashes that left more than 40 people dead and more than 400 wounded. The instability called into question the fate of a critical American air base in the country.
Riot police officers fired rounds of live ammunition into angry crowds of demonstrators who gathered around government buildings to rally against what they termed the government’s brutality and corruption, as well as a recent decision to increase utility rates sharply. Witnesses said that the police seemed to panic, and that there was no sign of supervision. In several cases, demonstrators wrested their weapons away from them.
By early Thursday morning, opposition officials occupied many government buildings in Bishkek, and were demanding that the president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, sign a formal letter of resignation. Mr. Bakiyev has issued no public remarks since the protests began. An official at the Bishkek airport said Mr. Bakiyev was flying to Osh, a major city in the southern part of the country.
A coalition of opposition parties said a transition government would be headed by a former foreign minister, Roza Otunbayeva. “Power is now in the hands of the people’s government,” she said in a televised address on Wednesday evening.
Those same opposition leaders were angered last spring when Obama administration officials courted Mr. Bakiyev — who they admitted was an autocrat — in an ultimately successful attempt to retain rights to the military base, Manas, used to supply troops in Afghanistan. President Obama even sent him a letter of praise.
Russia had offered Mr. Bakiyev a sizable amount in new aid, which the United States interpreted as an effort to persuade him to close the base in order to limit the American military presence in Russia’s sphere of influence. After vowing to evict the Americans last year, Mr. Bakiyev reversed course once the administration agreed to pay much higher rent for the base.
An American official said late on Wednesday that flights into the base at Manas had been suspended. Lt. Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a spokesman for United States Central Command, said late on Wednesday that some troops and equipment scheduled to transit from Manas to Afghanistan were likely to be delayed because of the government upheaval and that the military was preparing to use other routes.
The American attitude toward Mr. Bakiyev ruffled opposition politicians in Kyrgyzstan, who said it was shameful for the United States to stand for democratic values in the developing world while maintaining an alliance with him.
The Kyrgyz president’s son, Maksim, had been scheduled to be in Washington on Thursday for talks with administration officials. The opposition views the younger Mr. Bakiyev as a vicious henchman for his father, and was infuriated that he was granted an audience. The State Department said late on Wednesday that it had canceled the meetings.
Opposition leaders have been divided in recent weeks over whether they would continue to allow the American military base to remain, but it seems clear that they harbor bitterness toward the United States. And neighboring Russia, which has long resented the base, has been currying favor with the opposition.
“The political behavior of the United States has created a situation where the new authorities may want to look more to Russia than to the United States, and it will strengthen their political will to rebuff the United States,” said Bakyt Beshimov, an opposition leader who fled Kyrgyzstan last August in fear for his life.
Mr. Beshimov was one of numerous opposition politicians and journalists who in recent years have been threatened, beaten and even killed. Kyrgyzstan, with five million people in the mountains of Central Asia, is one of the poorest countries of the former Soviet Union, and has long been troubled by political conflict and corruption. Mr. Bakiyev himself took power in 2005 after the Tulip Revolution, one of a series of so-called color revolutions that seemed to offer hope of more democracy in former Soviet republics. Since then, the Kyrgyz human rights situation has deteriorated. Mr. Bakiyev easily won another term as president last year, but independent monitors said the election was tainted by extensive fraud.
Tensions in Kyrgyzstan have been brewing for months, and seemed to be touched off in the provincial city of Talas on Tuesday by protests over soaring utility rates. Then on Wednesday, thousands of people began massing in Bishkek, where they were met by heavily armed riot police officers. Dmitri Kabak, director of a local human rights group in Bishkek, said in a telephone interview that he was monitoring the protest when riot police officers started shooting. “When people started marching toward the presidential office, snipers on the roof of the office started to open fire, with live bullets,” Mr. Kabak said. “I saw several people who were killed right there on the square.”
Dinara Saginbayeva, a Kyrgyz health official, said in a telephone interview that the death toll could rise, and that more than 350 people had been wounded in Bishkek alone. Opposition leaders said as many as 100 people may have died.
While the fighting was raging, security forces still loyal to the president arrested several prominent opposition leaders, including Omurbek Tekebayev, a former speaker of Parliament, and Almazbek Atambayev, a former prime minister and presidential candidate. They were later released after the government’s resistance appeared to wither.
While opposition leaders have promised to pursue a less authoritarian course, Central Asia has not proved fertile ground for democracy. Mr. Bakiyev himself took office declaring that he would respect political freedoms.
Whatever happens domestically, a new government will have decide how to balance the interests of the United States and Russia, which both have military bases in Kyrgyzstan and want to maintain a presence in the region. Paul Quinn-Judge, Central Asia project director for International Crisis Group, a research organization, said Russia had stoked anti-American sentiment in Kyrgyzstan in recent months, often over the issue of the base.
Nevertheless, Mr. Quinn-Judge said he suspected that opposition politicians would in the end decide to permit the base, though not before giving the United States a hard time. “My gut feeling is that it can be smoothed over,” he said. “But they have got to move fast to reach out to the opposition, and do it with a certain degree of humility.”
Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting from Washington.
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