International Press Reaction

by Laurence on 3/28/2005 · 3 comments

There’s a collection of articles from around the world, reprinted in The Moscow Times. One that you might not see in the west is by Semyon Novoprudsky in Russia’s Gazeta.ru:

Askar Akayev — a man I have a lot of sympathy for, an intellectual and physicist lacking serious dictatorial tendencies — won more votes the second time he was elected president than President Vladimir Putin did. There is also no doubt that pro-Akayev forces won the very same parliamentary elections that led to the revolution. The opposition only hoped to win at most a third of the seats and in reality did not get any more than that, even if the elections were somewhat flawed.

Why was this man, who in general was not a bad guy, forced to flee the country so suddenly and shamefully?

The Kyrgyz overthrew their president not because everyone was against him, but because he had been in power too long, almost 15 years. In that time, not enough people had their lives change for the better.

If Akayev had not had his son and daughter run for parliament, if he had let the opposition get its 30 percent of the vote, he would have had to share power. But this would also have meant sharing responsibility. He would have had to leave anyway when his term ran out. He could have stepped down gracefully instead of fleeing the country.


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{ 3 comments }

Nathan March 28, 2005 at 4:06 pm

Exactly.

Alexei March 29, 2005 at 1:29 am

Odd that Novoprudsky doesn’t mention corruption. Apaprently, Akayev’s clan controlled or had a share in every major business in the country.

Venichka March 29, 2005 at 4:11 am

Askar Akayev — a man I have a lot of sympathy for, an intellectual and physicist lacking serious dictatorial tendencies — won more votes the second time he was elected president than President Vladimir Putin did.

As Putin received slightly less than 50 million votes at his 2nd election (according to the official figures), and the entire population of Kyrgyzstan is something like one-tenth of that, I guess percentage vote is what is meant. This is true (Akayev – 74.5% in 2000; Putin 71.3% in 2004).

Apart from that minor slip-up, I think this analysis is pretty sound. And, after Georgia and Ukraine, unfortunately, I think Kyrgyzstan concludes the trio of “semi-democracies” in the CIS, as opposed to repressive or authoritarian dictatorships or kleptocracies.

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