Will Russia Intervene in Kyrgyzstan?

by Laurence on 3/21/2005 · 7 comments

This graf leaps out of Eurasianet’s roundup:

Meanwhile in Russia, Dmitry Rogozin, a vocal nationalist in the Russian Duma, called on the Kremlin to intervene in the building confrontation. In an interview with Echo Moskvy radio, Rogozin suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration should consider the immediate dispatch of a CIS peacekeeping force to southern Kyrgyzstan. Political observers in Bishkek say any effort to deploy CIS peacekeepers would meet with strong resistance from Kyrgyz opposition leaders, who would deem such action as an effort by Moscow to prop up Akayev’s administration and to broaden Russian influence in Kyrgyzstan.

If things don’t calm down soon, Russia might indeed move in–just to show that Putin is not intimidated by the USA…

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Nathan March 21, 2005 at 3:39 pm

Like I said earlier, I highly doubt it. I think Putin’s fairly clumsy on the international stage, but he’s gotta know this is a situation he doesn’t want to get involved in.

Russian nationalists saying wacky things in the Duma are a dime a dozen.

Laurence March 21, 2005 at 3:45 pm

I remember having a conversation in Tashkent , during the Nord Ost Theater hostage crisis, with a US State Department official just about to leave the country. He was adamant that Putin would not storm the building, because of the VIPs among the hostages. Putin wouldn’t risk killing innocent civilians, he said to me. I answered that I didn’t see that Putin had any alternative other than storming the theatre. In the end, Putin stormed the theatre, killing some VIPs.

I’m not saying that it is inevitable that Russia will act, but that unless some alternative presents itself, such as the rebellion calming down, that Russia will be forced to act, just as Russia acted in Tajikistan, after things got out of control…

Laurence March 21, 2005 at 3:52 pm

BTW, I think, at least at one point, Rogozin was chairman of the State Duma Committe on International Affairs–so he may be plugged-in to what the Kremlin is thinking about…

Tim Russo March 21, 2005 at 4:47 pm

The Russian army, particularly in that neck of the woods, has probably long since pickled itself with homemade mulberry vodka. I would imagine it might have a hard time intervening in civil unrest.

Laurence March 22, 2005 at 2:06 am

Tim, you have a point. Maybe Russia will do nothing, and Akaev will step down.

Alexei March 22, 2005 at 2:49 am

Nathan, how are ethnic divisions in Kyrgyzstan playing out in the unrest? I understand Osh has seen several outbursts of Uzbek-Kyrgyz ethnic violence since the late 1980s.

As an aside, Rogozin is acting like an imperialist more than a nationalist. (He’s probably a puppet of the Kremlin playing the part of a vocal supporter of Russian interests.) A true nationalist like me should object to Russian troops being sent to risk their lives for no compelling reason.

Nathan March 22, 2005 at 12:04 pm

You’re right. Poor choice of words. Imperialist is better.

As for ethnic divisions, I’ve seen nothing that indicates that they’re a factor. They have been a problem in Osh in the past… I did hear something in passing about Osh residents not being entirely with the protesters in the city (many of whom I’ve also heard are not from the city itself). That would seem to indicate that analysts who said minorities support Akayev might be right. I’m not quite sure though.

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