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Kyrgyz President Cancels Russia Visit, Sends PM To CIS Summit After Lambasting Kazakhstan


Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev also criticized long-ruling Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev for holding power for decades.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has canceled a trip to Russia for a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit this week, citing what he said were fears of violent unrest during Kyrgyzstan's October 15 presidential election.

Atambaev's press service said on October 9 that the Kyrgyz delegation to the CIS summit in Sochi will be led by Prime Minister Sapar Isakov, as Atambaev had chosen to remain in Bishkek.

"Considering the evidence that...certain politicians are planning mass riots on election day, involving criminal elements, and also the financial support of these candidates from abroad, the president has decided to cancel his working visit in order to personally ensure order and security in the country," Atambaev's office said.

The announcement comes two days after Atambaev publicly accused neighboring Kazakhstan of meddling in the presidential campaign and of openly supporting one of the candidates, Omurbek Babanov. In the same remarks, Atambaev criticized long-ruling Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev for holding power for decades.

Nazarbaev is expected to attend the summit of the CIS, a loose grouping of 10 former Soviet republics.

Atambaev is constitutionally barred from seeking a second term.

He has faced criticism from opponents for openly backing the candidate from the ruling Social Democratic Party, his former Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

In September, Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security arrested a lawmaker who backs Babanov -- who is also a former prime minister -- and accused him of plotting riots and a violent coup.

With reporting by Reuters
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