Kyrgyzstan’s strange democracy and approach

Kyrgyzstan’s strange democracy and approach

By Elnura M. Kadyrova — A new president Sooronbay Jeenbekov was elected in Kyrgyzstan. Officially he will take office on December 1, 2018 having completed the six-year rule of Almazbek Atambayev who is considered the ambiguous leader of this country. Almazbek Atambayev rule will be remembered not by economic or political achievements of Kyrgyzstan, but by extremely odious behavior and scandalous statements that actually made Kyrgyzstan as a pariah state in the post-Soviet space.

After election the world expert community immediately stressed that Almazbek Atambaev won the elections pushing his ward protégé onto the political Olympus due to unprecedented interference in the electoral process.

On his page on Twitter, the former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul commented on Jeenbekov’s victory  –  “ Too bad. Kyrgyzstan had so much promise as a democracy.”  Many of foreign and Kyrgyz political scientists describe the current situation in Bishkek as “marasmus is growing stronger”.

In the same time Atambayev did not even hide his triumph and his determination to continue to twist the nuts of the super-powerful apparatus of great terror in Kyrgyzstan. Atambayev  used his effective administrative resource and dirty PR technologies in an attempt to blacken and knock down a serious and worthy political opponent Omurbek Babanov, as a result Atambaev succeeded to appoint his successor for the next Presidency.

Atambayev remains president until December, 2017 and according to him this time is quite enough to continue mass mopping up. “We imprisoned other people and go on this activity”, Atambaev intimidated.

Recently Kyrgyz Prosecutor General’s Office has started a criminal case against Babanov accusing him of “Public calls for violent change of the constitutional order” and “Raising national, racial or religious hatred”. Such revenge to the political opponent is not surprising. Atambayev has long been known as a vindictive person who does not shun the dirtiest methods of eliminating opponents.

In the end of August, 2017 in Bishkek “Freedom Forum” was held where participants discussed the level of freedom of speech and the political situation in Kyrgyzstan. The participants of this event sent an oral appeal to President Atambayev and urged to stop political persecution of opponents. According to human rights organizations there are 25 political prisoners in Kyrgyzstan (this is quite a lot). But their number may grow after Atambayev’s announcement.

“Journalists have self-censorship. Journalists began to limit themselves fearing judges and authorities. Even when they saw the injustice in society, they began to think: I probably wait better, I will not write about it, so that my channel is not closed or detained so that I will not be fined for 2 or 10 million soms. At such rates, tomorrow we generally will not be surprised at anything” –  Zhogorku Kenesh member (Parliament of Kyrgyzstan) Zhanar Akaev said.

Former speaker of Kyrgyz Parliament Medetkan Sherimkulov compared the state of freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan with the situation of the Soviet Union times. He cited the example of Brezhnev who limited himself to just dismissing the editor of one of the newspapers for an error in the title of his post, when instead of “chairman” he was listed as a “traitor”. Even in those totalitarian times, it never occurred to anyone to put a man in jail or close a news paper. In Kyrgyzstan, however the entire September TV channel was closed down simply for speaking true about situation in Kyrgyzstan.

Earlier, on claims for defending the honor and dignity of President Almazbek Atambayev the Prosecutor General’s Office filed multi-million claims against a number of information sites, TV channels and opposition activists. At the time of the elections peaceful rallies were banned in the republic but the authorities denied any statements about political persecution, calling them groundless. But it is hardly possible to ignore the publication of international ratings on the protection of freedom of speech.

All 2017 there are a lot of loud detentions and resonant lawsuits in Kyrgyzstan. Using the administrative resources and security structures to suppress Babanov’s positions, Atambaev actively involved criminalized intimidation of activists from the headquarters of the election opponent. Parliament member Kanat Isayev (opposition party of Republic) was arrested by using the help of the so-called “gangsters” and accused of preparing a coup.

According to political experts this story looks like a bad vaudeville or farce. Isayev arrest is a clear sign of the usurpation of power in the country, experts say. “No normal person will believe that the parliamentary, the leader of the parliamentary faction Kanat Isayev was preparing a coup d’etat,” Elmira Ibraimova, ex-head of the Accounts Chamber of Kyrgyzstan believes. He was arrested on the basis of just one conversation between two bandits who talked about big politics in Kyrgyzstan. Experts argue that the video posted on the Internet after the deputy’s arrest was mounted hastily and fake. But it became the key evidence against Isayev.

According to the same scheme another prominent politician and opponent of the incumbent head of Kyrgyzstan was “repressed”. Early in the morning of February this year the permanent leader of the oldest party of the country “Atamken” Omurbek Tekebaev was arrested on charges of corruption and fraud. According to sources the main motive of his arrest was investigation into the tragedy of with Boeing 747 which fell on residential buildings near the Manas airport as a result – death of nearly four dozen people. Tekebaev crossed the road to Atambaev intending to reveal the truth about the collapse of aircraft.

The investigation was taken by Tekebaev who received evidence that the plane was transporting to Bishkek a contraband cargo belonging to president Atambayev and his wife. Evidence was sent to him from Turkey, whose airlines belonged to the Boeing and where supposedly it was traveling from Hong Kong through Bishkek. Omurbek Tekebaev wanted to present these documents in the Parliament testifying to the involvement of Atambayev. But he was suddenly detained by law enforcers. However, the conflict between the two politicians has an even longer history. Earlier Tekebayev accused Atambayev of seizing elite plots of land under Bishkek that once belonged to former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Currently Kyrgyzstan is increasingly becoming an island of fear for human life and freedom, analysts note with regret. The main way of Atambayev is threats to opponents and beating up electoral rivals mixed with the arrest of prominent politicians on falsified charges. The official Bishkek chose the wrong path and now people who feel dissatisfied with the policy of Almazbek Atambaev is growing on tremendously. Residents of the Talas region gather for the meeting and demand an apology from the head of Kyrgyzstan. They demand improvement of the situation that has gone too heavy on them. But unfortunately he continues to ignore the demands, like in other parts of the country.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The views and comments expressed in the article reflect the author’s opinions and observation and are not necessarily the views of the publisher and editor of


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