Moscow should help to resolve the conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, categorically stated the outgoing President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev. According to him, the tense relations between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan threaten the integrity of the Eurasian economic Union (EEU). “As you know, I recently held a meeting with his friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and I told him frankly said: if you need the EEU, you can’t continue to watch calmly as his ramshackle”, — quotes RIA “news” words of the head of Kirghizia.
Last week, Atambaev signed a law on denunciation of the agreement with Kazakhstan on assistance in the framework of the EAEU. The agreement was signed by the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in 2016 and included the provision of assistance to Kyrgyzstan from Kazakhstan in the amount of $ 100 million “to promote the integration of the Kyrgyz Republic in the Eurasian economic Union”.
Denunciation against the backdrop of deteriorating relations between the two countries after Atambayev accused Kazakhstan of attempted interference in the elections of the President of Kyrgyzstan.
Kazakhstan, in turn, for no apparent reason introduced enhanced security measures on the border with Kyrgyzstan, resulting in the daily number of border crossing of citizens decreased on average by 2.5 times. In addition, sharply reduced the number of Kyrgyz goods to the neighbouring Republic. Kyrgyzstan has imposed retaliatory measures on restriction of import of Kazakhstani goods.
Should Russia, as urged Atambayev, to get involved in the conflict between Astana and Bishkek, and what are the real causes of this conflict?
— I do not think that Russia in this particular situation it is necessary to take sides or engage in some kind of arbitration, — says head of Department of Central Asia and Kazakhstan of Institute of the CIS Andrey Grozin. — Outgoing head of the Kyrgyzstan people absolutely peculiar. He set the stage for conflict with any country to resolve its current electoral issues. And in order to “drag” their candidate in the presidential elections Almazbek Atambayev has seriously damaged relations with the “big brother” in Central Asia.
Now he turns to Russia, urging them to pull Kyrgyzstan out of the puddles that he and put it. And what sense are we now “having lifted up trousers, to run behind Almazbek”?
No matter how much he told Kyrgyz officials that the accession to the EEU was a deliberate choice of the country — anyone except the Eurasian Union, Bishkek, by and large, are not needed. To threaten us with the shift to China is somewhat funny. Yesterday, I flew in from Shanghai, where he spoke with Chinese colleagues, including, in the Kyrgyz topic. I saw in the expert community of China any desire to take on what is happening in Central Asia, particularly in Kyrgyzstan. What you need to get to Beijing from Bishkek, he gets. More poor Central Asian country can not offer, even if you really want to. Only accession to the EEU will somehow save the economy from further degradation. Indeed, the attempt to rebuild the economic model in connection with membership in the EEU only has started to give its first positive results. But to recovery the socio-economic situation in the country is still very far away.
The man who had created a critical situation in the relations with the state, whose economy is 30 times more than the economy leads the country now for a few days before the end of his presidential term talks about friendship with Vladimir Putin and trying to involve us in the conflict of two “Central Asian economic actors.”
“SP”: — What are the prospects of relations between Bishkek and Astana after the change comes a new Atambayev, President of Kyrgyzstan, Sooronbai Jeenbekov?
— Start with the fact that the current situation on the border with Kazakhstan — exponential flogging Nazarbayev outgoing colleagues. They say, “great Eurasian power” will not tolerate when someone tries to “dish it out”. At the same time, I want to note that many of Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Russia in particular, for many years convinced that he is the wisest ruler, who is only some misunderstanding have not yet received the Nobel peace prize.
It is clear that in the current conflict, lost both sides and both sides are interested that this conflict be resolved. However, we must understand that the loss from the blockade on the part of Kyrgyzstan to Astana is not so critical, just because of the disparate capacities of their economies. Kyrgyzstan’s GDP is only from those losses that we have now from the blockade, according to world Bank estimates, will decrease by a third of a percent. This despite the fact that on the Kazakhstan side of the blockade itself, in the full sense of the word is still no.
It is clear that if this situation drags on, the Kyrgyz elite, which already have substantial economic losses and start looking for culprits. Therefore, Atambayev, referring to his “friend Vladimir Putin”, is nothing more than an attempt to protect the political intra-elite configuration, which for the last six months carefully lined. It is clear that if the economy of Kyrgyzstan will begin to crumble because of Kazakhstan “polyploidy”, with it will collapse and the elite structure, which Atambayev has linked his future political career. Kyrgyzstan has accumulated rich experience intra “shuffle”, when street unrest over coup that receive the proud name of revolutions. Atambayev understands that with him, and with his protege can happen anything. So his current pathetic statement, in my opinion, dictated not so much by a desire to bring the country out of the difficult situation, as the desire to save himself and his political future.
“SP”: — there is a feeling that the more we write Kyrgyzstan as its allies, the more ambiguous behaves its elite towards us. Only one public holiday to commemorate the “uprising against the Russian Empire” in 2016, which is worth. It was then just massacred thousands of defenseless Russian settlers, mostly women, children and the elderly, because men over fought on the fronts of the First world war. Maybe we do not do it?
— As for the above example, here is largely affected by a strange position of Russia itself. We used to Express discontent behind the scenes, unable to endure dirty linen in public. While it would be quite possible to publicly raise questions on the official level on all issues that concern us. Whether it’s a Latin Kazakh, Kyrgyz holidays or something. However, our elite believes that it can negotiate in their own interests on economic matters with our partners of the EAEC. And this is important. What is there to talk about some Latin if Gazprom failed to supply gas to Kyrgyzstan at the expense of what we supposedly can permanently affect this country. The establishment of a joint military base in Kyrgyzstan this year, I think, in the eyes of our elite is much more important than “historical twist” of our neighbors.
It is difficult to say how justified this approach. You have to understand that for geopolitical influence to pay. Americans pay their allies often much more than we do.
Moreover, the conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan highlighted one interesting feature of the current situation. Our Kazakh partners over the past 20 years, several spoiled. With material concerned part of the Russian expert community, they have convinced themselves and us in the great importance of Kazakhstan in Eurasia and around the world. However, once again in the framework of the EEC — and not only — all are convinced that the final settlement of the issues in the former Soviet Union should go to Moscow. Not to Beijing, which turned the Central Asian Republic for loans (investing in Kyrgyzstan means more than Russia), not in Brussels or Washington who are not interested to resolve Asian disputes. And all was once again convinced that without the goodwill of Russia is in Central Asia not to change for the better.
“SP”: — Maybe it makes sense just using the conflict of Bishkek and Astana, to demand that a new President to repeal offensive to Russia, the holiday imposed by its predecessor?
— The fact that we in Russia can not understand how the us relates to the events of a century ago. Atambayev just said that the uprising was not anti-Russian and anti-Imperial. But then in Soviet times, Kyrgyzstan was released in the end of the tunnel, and owe much to the Soviet Union. Therefore, the monument of Lenin there is not demolished. We’re on the centenary of the events of October 2017 so, by and large, not been able to agree among themselves, was it a revolution or a coup. And whether the Soviet time for Russians a blessing or a disaster. But “Diakonie Kyrgyz”, as they called them Nikolai Danilevsky in his book “Russia and Europe”, when the Soviet Union came to the less modernized nation. It is enough to compare “our” Kyrgyzstan with the ethnic Kyrgyz living in Afghanistan, for example. Themselves the post-Soviet Kyrgyz perfectly understand all this.
And today, because of the “metropolis” is not a clear signal, is it possible to hurt “Russia’s Imperial past”, Kyrgyz, like other peoples of the former USSR, are to the best of my understanding, in the interests of building their own historical myths. Virtually all post-Soviet republics need to convince their own population that their independent existence was not the result of historical misunderstandings, and was conquered as a result of “centuries of persistent struggle.”
“SP”: — However, in relation to the Chinese smuggling that goes through Kyrgyzstan in the post-Soviet space seem to be two opinions can not be, it would be in the interests of the EAEU is better to cover?
— Of course, statistics are imported to Kyrgyzstan from China goods at odds almost four times. Where the Kirghiz account of goods a billion a bit of dollars per year, the Chinese indicate the amount of more than $ 4 billion. By the way, in Kazakhstan, though in a much more modest scale, you may find something similar. There is even a version by some Chinese experts that the problem is on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan is an attempt by Astana to win over part of the flow of goods from China. And in General I’m not so sure that only Kyrgyz money spinning in smuggling from China. Probably, in Russia these products only get some miracle. And our regulatory authorities are not able to see a huge mass of commodities entering into our territory on the gray schemes. Maybe it was that Russia did not show its position in the conflict Astana and Bishkek.