The following is a guest post from Myles Smith, who currently works in Kyrgyzstan and has worked in the past throughout Central Asia. — Nathan
Though it had been a few days since anything bad had happened in Kyrgyzstan, no one was expecting a trend.
According to reports from AkiPress, 24.kg, Kloop.kg, and other local sources, counter-revolutionary forces took the regional administration building in Osh and Batken yesterday, and may have kidnapped the governor of Jalal-Abad Province.
On Thursday evening, Otunbayeva named Defense Minister Isakov the PG Special Representative for the Southern Region. Seems that he is basically in charge of everything, which might be a welcome change from no one being in charge of anything. This may explain the rumor that circulated the city this evening that the Provisional Government (PG) had been overthrown by the military (ostensibly because Putin was tired of waiting for the ‘pro-Russian’ revolution to start paying pro-Russian dividends).
In Bishkek, competing demonstrations through the last few days have called for the reinstatement of the popular Mayor of Bishkek Tyuleev, others called for the distribution of land rights, still others protested the proposed removal of the word ‘secular’ from the description of the nation in the draft Constitution.
All told, the numbers involved appear to be small. No more than 3000 were demonstrating on the Old Square and Ala-Too square at any point in the last two days, inclusive of all positions.
The overtly counter-revolutionary forces were still smaller. In Osh, it seems a group of 500 supporters of the former governor were enough to force the PG-appointed governor to negotiate, while in Batken, no more than 150 were involved in retaking the regional capital.
If the PG can’t muster the force necessary to hold their regional capitals against a few hundred men, it is hard to see what hope the government has to make it to September. Its already gotten to the point where the stated PG endgame: a new constitution, referendum, elections, and a democratic parliamentary government by Fall; is considered likely by approximately no one.
UPDATE: By midnight on Thursday, the same sources were reporting that these points were retaken by PG forces. PG Minister of Finance – yes, finance – Temir Sariev announced on state television that Isakov and Interior Minister Alymbekov were in the South and on the job.
Jalalabad PG Governor Asanov reappeared on AkiPress, announcing that the Bakiev supporters who had taken his office would be arrested Friday. He boasted that they numbered only 60, so it should be an easy task. Hopefully he will pardon those of us in Bishkek for our lack of faith: he also announced that a new security force would be formed, assumedly from his own supporters, as local police had deserted their posts the previous day.