Russian Information Agency Praises Putin’s Role

by Laurence on 3/28/2005

Angela Charlton, writing for Russian Information Agency Novosti concludes : “Putin, however, showed his critics that for all his worries about his own career, he’s ready to accept democratic change when it serves Russia’s interests. ”

Russia faced a tricky and treacherous task as Kyrgyzstan’s leadership collapsed this week. Vladimir Putin, to the surprise of many in the West and at home, avoided playing instigator or oppressor and instead took on the unusual role of peacemaker.

Moscow got off to a shaky start in the Kyrgyz crisis, with Russian media initially defending the government and the troubled elections that prompted the standoff, and deriding the protesters as drug-smuggling terrorists. But when the opposition overtook the capital on Thursday and deposed President Askar Akayev, the Kremlin acted swiftly and shrewdly. Putin immediately acknowledged Kyrgyzstan’s interim leaders, but offered Akayev refuge in Russia.

Most of the credit for the relatively peaceful resolution of the crisis goes to the Kyrgyz police and protesters. And tensions could still re-ignite. But Moscow may have played a crucial role in averting a civil war in the heart of volatile Central Asia.

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