- “People of Kyrgyzstan, regain consciousness!” – such was the cry issued by Kyrgyzstani Kloop blogger Kadam [kyrg/eng] on May 15. His country descended into a cataclysmic cycle of rallies and counter-rallies last week, beginning with a rally in support of the former Mayor of Bishkek [capital of Kyrgyzstan], Nariman Tyuleev, and culminating in the restoration of order in Kyrgyzstan’s three southern provincial capitals, following a spate of short-lived power seizures by supporters of the deposed president Kurmanbek Bakiev.
- With regard to Tyuleev, it is worth noting that he is one of the few politicians that appears to enjoy genuine support in Bishkek. Referring back to a post dated April 30, Aelita [ru] recalls words that the former Mayor spoke during his time in office, urging Kyrgyzstani citizens not to leave the country:
“Yes we can see that active forces want to divide us on the basis of North and South, divide us on ethnic grounds, split us into two camps and make us weaker…I ask you, find in yourselves hope and understanding… Only together, brick by brick, will we be able to create a truly democratic and economically developed modern state where law and order will prevail…and where the identity of the multi-ethnic people of Kyrgyzstan will not be lost.”
“If only Kurmanbek Bakiev could have shown such love for his country,” the blogger had concluded wistfully.
Ten days on and Tyuleev supporters were taking to the street, voicing their anger at the provisional government for replacing their protagonist with the less popular Isa Omurkulov[ru] in the aftermath of the coup on April 7. While a rally organized by Alzambek Atambayev later on during the same day drew an even larger crowd, it is evident that Tyuleev, who served as Mayor of the city for 2 years, is not without his sympathizers.
Still more people, however, saw these demonstrations as additional, unnecessary upheavals, occurring just as it seemed the provisional government had restored a modicum of stability to the country as a whole. Among these were students [ru] of the American University of Central Asia (AUCA), some of whom were taking final examinations when they were forced to evacuate the university as a result of the nearby demonstrations.
- Nevertheless, these generally orderly demonstrations turned out to be a mere prelude to the series of violent clashes between supporters of the provisional government and supporters of ousted President Bakiev in the cities of Batken, Jalal-Abad and Osh. Those meetings resulted in all three regional administrative buildings falling under the temporary control of governors appointed during the reign of Kurmanbek Bakiev and a medley of young men dressed in sports tracksuits.
- Darttarr [ru] wrote that the conflict had traces of the Uzgen events, ethnic clashes which took place outside Osh during the summer before the collapse of the Soviet Union. He also joined others in questioning the legitimacy of the self-appointed provisional government:
“They say that in our country there was a revolution. They even invented a new term – the “people's revolution” to define a coup d'etat. But was the revolution made by the people? It's just shifting the responsibility for an anti-constitutional intervention and the overthrow of the state system by specific individuals onto a generalized notion of the people.”
The blogger went on to make it known that he didn’t support President Bakiev, but that the nation itself was partly at fault for being passive in the face of widespread corruption and electoral fraud. “Every country deserves the leader they get,” he summarized grimly.
- While by May 14, the provisional government had restored peace in the south of the country, arresting Ishak Masaliyev and Usen Sydykov [eng] in connection with the unrest, polls taken by local citizen media website kloop.kg at the peak of the disorder demonstrated users’ lack of faith in the temporary administration’s ability to secure short-term stability in the state.
On the positive side, rumours predicting [ru] scenes of mass unrest in the capital on Monday May 17, failed [eng] to bear fruit. The new week commenced with a memorial for those that died on April 7 in Bishkek, and a demonstration against ethnic discrimination in Dostuk, Jalal-Abad oblast.