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Prospect of ‘Mt. Putin’ Sparks Kyrgyz Protest

Plans to name a mountain after Vladimir Putin in Kyrgyzstan's Chui region have sparked controversy.
BISHKEK -- An opposition party in the Kyrgyz parliament has protested a government proposal to name a mountain peak after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Ata-Meken (Fatherland) faction member Joomart Saparbaev told RFE/RL on January 26 the proposal violates a Kyrgyz law that bans giving geographic locations the names of living politicians and prominent people.

Saparbaev said that "unfortunately, our laws are being violated on a regular basis, but we have to make sure that the government and the parliament respect the laws."

He said it was "impermissible" to make government decisions "simply to satisfy someone's political ambitions" or "dictated by the current political situation."

Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev made the proposal to parliament in December after returning from a visit to Moscow. He said the idea to name the mountain peak in the northern Chui region after Putin came from the Moscow district in Chui.

Atambaev and other Kyrgyz political party leaders made several trips to Moscow before and after the October 10 parliamentary elections. Some people criticized the visits as showing too much deference to the Kremlin in forming the Kyrgyz government.

Read in Kyrgyz