Atambayev, the info war and Bishkek grafitti

by Teo on 4/11/2007 · 4 comments

In today’s opposition protests in Bishkek, the new moderate prime minister Almaz Atambayev came out to address the crowds but was booed off stage before he could finish. When he was first appointed just two weeks ago, I thought someone like Atambayev, while definitely a last minute swap on Bakiyev’s part, could promote some reasoned dialogue. The hatred people were expressing today was pretty suprising however. [And not necessarily logical either. The photo above says ‘bridge’ in Kyrgyz – suggesting he’s either temporary or an intermediary] There’s some good analysis of Atambayev’s position in Vecherniy Bishkek – is he a Trojan horse, a turncoat or a simply presidential wannabe?

The constitutional amendments submitted today by a committee led by Atambayev are only to be considered by Parliament next Monday,the 16th. With bad weather forecasted, it’s possible that demonstrators may get restless well before then.

The numbers of protesters reported range from MP Eshimkanov’s laughable 50,000 to the government’s 3,500, with most sources citing 6-10 thou. IWPR has a good piece on the information war that I had mentioned in a post. Still with more than 30 yurts already with the parts for many more and over 60 army-issue tents already set up, it’s clear that more people are expected over the next few days.

Bakiyev Leave!Finally, I’ve noticed more of these signs around town of late. Apparently, Bakiyev is commonly referred to as ‘Baks,’ which sounds like the informal term for the US dollar. [‘Ket’ is the Turkic root for leave or just the imperative ‘get out.’] The slogan has a pretty catch sound to it and the symbol holds a whiff of corruption and I think, anti-Americanism — and by extension, all foreign influence. After all, this is from the same opposition that was so vehemently anti-HIPC just recently.

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Nathan April 11, 2007 at 6:56 pm

Again, thanks for these updates.

Have you seen this joke that is apparently making the rounds?

Botir April 12, 2007 at 10:58 am
Botir April 12, 2007 at 11:00 am

ooopps…forgot to tell… it is the kyrghiz revolution online

teo April 12, 2007 at 11:18 pm

Actually, I hadn’t heard the first joke and neither had anyone local I knew. At first read, it isn’t very funny but I guess it grows on you. For non-Russian readers, here’s a broad-brush translation :
A plane crashes in the ocean. Only three survive – a French, a Russian and a Kyrgyz. They swim to an island, where it turns out Robinson Crusoe has led a precarious existence for 20 years now. Crusoe greets them and sez: “Listen, I don’t have much to offer or share with you, but here are some tools. Eke out your own existence.” A few weeks pass and Crusoe gets curious about how they’re doing. He peers through the forest and sees the French man in a nice house surrounded by vineyards. Then he checks out the Russian, who’s put in some potatoe patches. Finally, he spies on the Kyrgyz, who’s got absolutely nothing. Crusoe doesn’t understand what’s going on. The Kyrgyz is on the bank, surrounded by tribesmen chanting : “Crusoe Ketsin! Cursoe Ketsin!”

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