The Bashkir Comment

by Nathan Hamm on 4/24/2006 · 8 comments

Kommersant has a brief article on Bakiev’s ultimatum to the US on payments for the Manas airbase, connecting it to his trip to Russia. It contains the following curious bit.

Nevertheless, there could be one more reason that prompted Bakiev’s ultimatum. “The statement is a bit hasty and is aimed at solving a short-term task – to please the Kremlin before Bakiev’s visit to Russia, which is slated for April 24-25,” said Muratbek Imanaliev, former foreign minister of Bashkortostan.

Well, it seems curious anyway. Why would the former foreign minister of Bashkortostan be commenting on this? And why would a former Bashkir official be commenting in such a way?

I suppose it makes much more sense to assume that they mean Muratbek Imanaliev, former foreign minister of Kyrgyzstan. Assuming that to be the case, I am wondering whether or not charging Bakiev with being subservient to Moscow gets much traction in Kyrgyzstan.

Subscribe to receive updates from Registan

This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

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.

For information on reproducing this article, see our Terms of Use


Peter April 24, 2006 at 3:42 pm

He’s only referred to as the ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Russian version of the article, which obviously means the Kyrgyz Minister of Foreign Affairs in the context. It was probably just a translator’s lapse of concentration.

Nathan April 24, 2006 at 6:49 pm

I am certain you’re right. When I first read the story last night, I missed the “former” and thought it was weird that Bashkortostan’s government would be commenting. Not wanting to abandon a mostly written post, I added the last bit about whether or not the expressed sentiment is one that gets much traction in Kyrgyzstan. I’m actually kind of curious about whether or not most Kyrygz would be too put off by their government bowing to pressure from Moscow. There seems to be a bit more faith in the Russian government than local ones in many parts of Central Asia.

KJ April 24, 2006 at 9:37 pm

As an expat in Bishkek and involved in the perifery of this debate, it always amazes me how quickly the Kyrgyz fall for the Russians when the Muscovites treat their dogs better than the Kyrgyz that sweep their streets and clean their toilets. The stories you hear of constant harassment and degradation in Russian and Kazakhstan of the Kyrgyz people goes on and on. There is no balance to the relationship. Every month Moscow makes another promise of economic development that is not filled (tourism facilities, airport upgrades, smelters…) The Kyrgyz only see America as an ATM machine and Russia as their master. If and when things ever calm down in Afghanistan, this place will be vacated by US interests and then what? Kant Airbase, that hasn’t flown a training mission in over 17 months will protect them. And from what? Their shadows…

Rustam April 25, 2006 at 4:32 am

KJ- agree with You for 100%!!!!!
BUT, the fact that it is so, that Kyrgyz and partly Uzbek looks at Russia as a master is partly the fault of the US Foreign Policy in the region. What ordinary Kyrgyz or Uzbek got from the US so far? in Uzbekistan ordinary people did not get a lot, very little could be said. All the assistance to the Republic is channelled through the corrupt government which eats everything up than to give to the final beneficiaries, mainly financial backing was security related to support the torture machine and so called anti-narcotics campaign when ordinary Uzbek knows that it is mostly those who was supposed to stop it are doing the trade and keeping the money received from the US. With K-2 some people were selling ordinary bread and stuff at local bazars then government took away this income as well, centralised, monopolised the services and what the US said nothing. No real US company in the country apart from crumbling BAT and now Newmont, people who found a “common language” and did not use the Washington to pressure government for economic and judicial reform, transparency in the government itself. In addition ACCELS programmes, FSA and Muskie which was supposed to support cultural exchange was always very limited and now as I know completly stopped (may be I am mistaking) and work visas are given to very few people, if ever given, where as 1000s are working in Russia. AND what US did to defend OSI Soros, Internews and others – nothing. SO in my view US State Dep should look for the answer inside itself, why it is not taking the bull by its horns, where is the propaganda campaings of the US values, where are real demands on democratization, why there is a horse trading with dictatorship, employ young people from this region who have studied in the US through the ACCELS, who speak Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, who know the traditions and culture, let them do the work if You can not?
America an ATM – great!!!! I liked it a lot.
Let the ordinary people know that it is not, now in Uzbekistan after Andijon, when people thought that Putin would take their sides and the opposite took place, peole were looking for the US with great enthusiasm but nothing happened, big lose for the US was the info in Uzbekistan about Almatov in Germany, people could not believe that after all for US and its ally EU, it is realpolitik not the blood of Uzbeks.

jamilya April 25, 2006 at 9:22 am

who could have doubted? the state department were more concerned with the “autocratic regime” in kyrgyzstan than a more liberal business partner that they found in Karimov. until andijon incident, they were not shy about displaing their loyalty and affection to their beloved partner in the region… i mean how more double standard can be applied in this situation??? i have never seen such a hypocrytical government and its top politicians that are so self-interested in every action that they take which they later curtail as the democratizaion. first, united states should get rid of their OWN corrupt government and banditism and then teach other countries what to do. the hypocricy of it all – that’s what drives me mad. and about foriegn policy, indeed it doesnt look very optimistic, when half of the world hates your government so viciously, and its about time americans fully ask from their leaders to rethink about the global strategy before this HATE is too strong there would be no way to turn things around.

Nathan April 25, 2006 at 10:57 am

i have never seen such a hypocrytical government and its top politicians that are so self-interested in every action that they take which they later curtail as the democratizaion.

So, you’ve never been to Uzbekistan, I take it.

I’d say that I’ve never seen such a hyperbolic statement in my life, but I don’t like being hyperbolic myself.

Rustam April 25, 2006 at 12:07 pm

Come on Nathan!!!!!! Girl with such a beautiful name and I am sure that she is more beautiful than her name and You treat her like this!!!!

Nathan April 25, 2006 at 12:09 pm

I don’t give anyone a pass, Rustam. She may be the nicest, most beautiful girl in the world, but that was a quite hyperbolic statement.

Previous post:

Next post: