Former President Askar Akaev has apologized for what he describes as the country's economic and political problems and his own "personal mistakes" during his tenure as independent Kyrgyzstan’s first president between 1990 and 2005.
Akaev spoke in an interview with RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service on the eve of the country's Independence Day on August 31.
"For over 14 years I had served as your president with your trust during our country’s establishment. Yes, there were some failures, big mistakes made," Akaev said.
"Because of that, let me use this moment and ask for all the Kyrgyz people's forgiveness if my mistakes negatively affected Kyrgyzstan during my presidency, or even afterward."
The scientist-turned-politician was ousted as president in the wake of antigovernment protests in March 2005 and has been living in Moscow since then.
Akaev said that "one of his major mistakes" was the promotion of Kurmanbek Bakiev from director of a small factory to the position of the regional governor, and later to the post of prime minister.
Akaev, 67, said Bakiev "did lots of harm to the people and the country."
'Island Of Democracy'
Bakiev subsequently replaced Akaev as president, sweeping to power in the wake of Kyrgyzstan's 2005 Tulip Revolution.
Bakiev was himself ousted during violent antigovernment demonstrations in 2010 amid popular discontent with widespread allegations of corruption and nepotism surrounding Bakiev.
About 100 people were killed during that upheaval. Bakiev, who has been living in exile in Belarus, is wanted by the Kyrgyz authorities for prosecution over those deaths and over corruption allegations.
Akaev expressed hope that a new generation of politicians will enter Kyrgyzstan's political scene and the country will restore its reputation as an "island of democracy" in Central Asia.
The former president said Kyrgyzstan needed "stability, the rule of law, and justice," as well as unity to establish itself as a "strong democratic state."
An impoverished mountainous nation of some 5.5 million, Kyrgyzstan has had several episodes of major unrest.
Bloody ethnic clashes erupted in Kyrgyzstan's southern regions in June 2010. Around 450 people, mostly ethnic Uzbeks, were killed in violence in the Jalal-Abad and Osh regions, and thousands of people lost their homes and livelihoods.
Kyrgyzstan became Central Asia's only parliamentary democracy following October 2011 elections.
Political leaders are currently negotiating a new government after the four-party ruling coalition collapsed earlier this month amid disagreements over the handling of the sluggish economy and the fight against corruption.