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Russia’s muted reaction

I’ve only been able to find one official comment from Russia about the events in Kyrgyzstan today. From the looks of it, Russia is keeping its mouth more or less shut while it reconciles itself to the changing face of Kyrgyz politics. This is from RIA Novosti:

"In the current situation the appeal to return the development of the events into the legal channel is very actual. It is necessary to abide by the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan, to refrain from any actions, which may threat civil peace and public security and to restore the rule of law," Alexander Yakovenko, the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said.

Russia has been pretty badly burnt by its failures in Ukraine and Georgia, and it won’t want to repeat those here. The Kremlin has, for the last few weeks, been trying to avoid overly favouring President Akayev over the opposition – in public at least. Akayev is thought to have flown to Moscow at the weekend in an attempt to meet with President Putin, but he was rebuffed. The Kremlin has, however, had meetings with several key opposition leaders in recent weeks. I’d say that Russia’s basic policy at the moment is to hunker down and hope that the world will forget about Kyrgyzstan and that the new government in Kyrgyzstan will in time turn out to be as relatively pliable and emi-authoritarian as its predecessor. If Tim Russo, at Democracy Guy, is correct, Russia, for once, may have hit on a reasonably effective policy.

Let’s remember…we are talking about Kyrgystan. Whatever anyone may say about it’s geopolitical strategic importance in the post 9/11 world, this place is so remote, so poor, so forgotten, there is almost no incentive for either the west to really get engaged, or Kyrgyz authorities to care who’s watching when they crack down.

I’d like to be optimistic about the future for Kyrgyzstan, but it the new government really will need outside support if it is to succeed in developing a stable democracy.

Cross-posted at

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