MGIMO Expert: Akayev Betrayed Kyrgyz Clans

by Laurence on 3/31/2005

RFE/RL reports

Sergei Luzyanin of the Moscow Institute for International Relations (MGIMO) says Akaev made several cardinal mistakes that weakened his rule. The first was to violate an unspoken power-sharing agreement between representatives of the country’s northern and southern clans. Akaev, a northerner, kept all the patronage posts for his northern allies.

“Traditionally, especially at the local government level, even back in the Soviet period, there was a regular alternation between the northern and southern clans,” Luzyanin says. “Under Akaev, this regular exchange was disrupted, and the northern clan — Akaev’s clan — controlled the southern regions and the southern clans were dissatisfied. This is why Osh, Jalal-Abad, Batken blew up — because a feeling of social injustice has accumulated there during the 14 years of Akaev’s rule. The unspoken rule [about the alternation between north and south], which had always been observed, was broken.”

Akaev went one step further, gradually bringing his extended family into the political process. Such nepotism came at the expense of even his northern political backers, breeding resentment within his own bureaucracy. This turned into his Achilles’ heel, says Luzyanin, as civil servants lost any sense of loyalty to the regime.

“[The civil servants] all were saying: ‘We’re against him. But we’re biding our time, and as soon as we see the first signal, we will hand over our boss.’ Which is exactly what happened…

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