Attack on Otunbayeva’s Home

by Nathan Hamm on 3/7/2005

Though it happened a few days ago, I haven’t seen anyone else mention that a small explosive was thrown at the home of Roza Otunbayeva. No one was hurt in the incident. From RFE/RL’s coverage:

Otunbaeva, speaking at a media conference in Bishkek, said the explosion shows that democracy is in danger in Kyrgyzstan.

“I think this has the handwriting, the attitude, of the government toward the opposition,” Otunbaeva said. “Not only the [independent] press, but [the whole of] democracy is in danger in this country. But we will not give them any chance [to ruin democracy].”

Presidential press secretary Abdil Segizbaev denied any government role and said an investigation has been launched. He told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service that he believes Otunbaeva is using the incident as a provocation.

“Ms. Otunbaeva made her statement [at the Bishkek forum devoted to protection of independent mass media],” Segizbaev said. “She talked about the bomb, grenade, etc. But this is worth nothing. This is [just] a provocation. She wants to make her name known, she wants to incite people. Her statement was made in such a mood.”

UPDATE: More from RIA/Novosti:

It’s all part of a big show opposition is staging, says Abdil Seghizbayev, press secretary to President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan.

The drama came a few hours before a civil forum to protect the media opened in Bishkek, Kyrgyz capital. Opposition is active in the event-so the blast merely made a noisy start for the show. “The public has lost interest in those people, and they will go to all ends to get it back,” the presidential spokesman remarked to Novosti.

The culprits will be tracked down, he promised. “I am sorry our law enforcement officers will have another job to do-they have enough problems, as it is, to fight real crime,” added our interviewee.

He suspects the people behind the blast also meant to show their overseas friends in what a plight they were.

Characteristically, our informant went on, leading Kyrgyz opposition are major functionaries who lost their high posts and so are bearing grudges against the regime-suffice it to mention a former Prime Minister, a former Foreign Minister, and several dismissed ambassadors. “These people cannot offer anything constructive. They are out to get back their cozy jobs at all cost.”

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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