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Visiting President Cites Kyrgyz 'Love' For Putin

Almazbek Atambaev (left) with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2010
Kyrgyzstan's freshly inaugurated president, Almazbek Atambaev, said during an official visit to Moscow that the people of Kyrgyzstan respect and love Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Atambaev, speaking to radio station Golos Rossii, said Kyrgyzstan had "no other choice" but to strengthen ties with Russia.

"We're connected historically," he explained.

"I won't hide [the fact] that in Kyrgyzstan there is a special attitude toward Putin," said Atambaev, who was elected in October and sworn in in December, when he described Russia as "our strategic partner."

On the third day of his latest Moscow visit, Atambaev said, "The people of Kyrgyzstan respect very much, and I would say even love Putin."

Kyrgyz Finance Minister Akylbek Japarov said ahead of Atambaev's trip that part of the Kyrgyz president's agenda in Moscow would be to secure a loan of some $107 million within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community, an organization within the CIS led by Russia.

Based on ITAR-TASS, Interfax Russia, and reporting