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Majlis Podcast: A Russian Ingredient In A Kyrgyz Feud


Happier times. Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov (left ) and former President Almazbek Atambaev at the new president's inauguration ceremony at the state residence in Bishkek.

Kyrgyzstan’s current president, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, and former president, Almazbek Atamabaev, have been feuding for months. Towards the end of July, Atambaev was barricaded inside his family compound on the outskirts of the capital, Bishkek. It appeared his days of freedom could be numbered, as investigations into former members of Atambaev’s administration seemed to be leading to Atambaev himself and at the end of June, parliament voted to strip Atambaev of the immunity from investigation or prosecution he had as a former president.

Then on July 24, Atambaev left his compound and, unhindered, drove to the Russian-controlled Kant military air base some 40 kilometers from Bishkek, and flew on a private Russian airplane to go meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.

Speaking alone to the media after meeting with Atambaev, Putin said, in a nutshell, that Russia supported the government of President Jeenbekov, but thought in the interests of stability in Kyrgyzstan, it might be better to stop any legal proceedings against Atambaev.

So, what is the situation in Kyrgyzstan now? Is the feud between two presidents over? Or is a new phase of the Atambaev-Jeenbekov battle starting?

RFE/RL's Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderated a discussion that looked at these recent events and what they might mean going forward. There’s a lot of background in the discussion also.

From Washington, Erica Marat, associate professor at the National Defense University, joined the discussion. From Kyrgyzstan, Talant Sultanov, the spokesman for former Prime Minister Sapar Isakov, participated in the podcast. Also taking part from Kyrgyzstan was Edil Baisalov, a veteran Kyrgyz political analyst who is soon headed to take up new duties as Kyrgyzstan's ambassador to the United Kingdom. And, as usual, I also had a few things to say.

Majlis Podcast: A Russian Ingredient In A Kyrgyz Feud
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes.

About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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