Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Kyrgyz Talk of Having Their Country Join Russia Typical Pre-Election Tactic

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 14 – Four days ago, Raimkul Attakurov, the former Kyrgyz ambassador to Moscow and current head of the Kyrgyz diaspora there, said that many people in his country would like to see it become part of the Russian Federation and trigger the formation of “a USSR 2.0” (pravda.ru/world/1527065-kirgiziya_rossiya/).

            Attakurov said that the two countries share much in common, that Russian is already a state language in Kyrgyzstan, and that the Kyrgyz would like to be together with the Russians rather than separated by a state border. At a time when many are talking about the future of the Union state of Russia and Belarus, that comment naturally attracted attention.

            Was this an indication that the Kremlin is pushing for something more grandiose than just Belarus? Or was it a new move by Bishkek to curry favor in Moscow in the hopes of getting more support for its ailing economy? In fact, as Sergey Masaulov of the Information and Analytic Center for Moscow State University says, the truth is far less dramatic (ia-centr.ru/experts/sergey-masaulov/otvlech-ot-vyborov-komu-vygodna-tema-prisoedineniya-kyrgyzstana-k-rf/).

            According to the Central Asian specialists, some Kyrgyz officials have raised the issue of a possible reunification of Kyrgyzstan with Russia every time there has been a political crisis or even the threat of one in Kyrgyzstan.  In three weeks, Kyrgyzstan faces elections; and so a Kyrgyz official is acting as others have before earlier elections.

            Such talk attracts attention but it also has the effect of distracting people from the real issues and real prospects of Kyrgyzstan in the coming months. Masaulov suggests that is what Attakurov’s words are all about and that they should be dismissed as nothing more than the normal election period commentaries in Kyrgyzstan. 

            As all too often happens, the real story is far less dramatic than the first reports suggest. 

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