Ex-premier Felix Kulov elaborates on his plans to return to the opposition
Former prime minister Felix Kulov called a press conference in Bishkek on March 5.
Kulov became the prime minister in the wake of the March Revolution (2005) when released from the prison he had been in, sentenced to five years behind the bars for embezzlement.
Kulov and Kurmanbek Bakiyev made a pact: the latter will run for president and make the former his prime minister. According to the terms of the pact, should one politician resign for any matter, the other should follow suit.
Kulov resigned on December 19 and found himself unable to come back when the Jogorku Kenesh (national parliament) voted him down twice in a row and Bakiyev decided against nominating him for prime minister again. No more the prime minister, Kulov returned to the opposition.
Was Kulov going to run for president?
Journalists wanted to know if Kulov intended to run for president. The politician denied any such plans for 2010 but, since the United Opposition Front kept insisting on early election of the head of state, Kulov said it was quite possible in an early campaign (before 2010).
What did Kulov discuss on a visit to Moscow?
Asked to say a few words on his consultations in Moscow, Kulov replied that he had met with Senior Deputy Premier Sergei Ivanov. "Diplomatically speaking, atmosphere of the meeting was quite friendly. I'm absolutely satisfied," Kulov said. Kulov was then asked who had initiated the meeting (he himself or the Kremlin) but ducked the question. He added that should the authorities decide to use the army against the United Opposition Front, the latter would appeal to the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization and OSCE.
Did the opposition intend to disrupt the summit of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation?
Kulov said that all claims that the opposition was after disruption of the summit were mean speculations. "We support all organizations our country is a member of. Our domestic affairs are not going to interfere with the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation or its summit. On the other hand, our national budget lacks the money for it," Kulov said.
(Omurbek Abdrahmanov, one of the opposition leaders, once said that protest actions and the summit might take place simultaneously.)
Did it ever occur to the opposition that it was splitting the country into the north and south?
"The United Opposition Front is not a regional structures. Promoting some Northerner to the head of state is not what we are after," Kulov replied. "What we want is establishment of a system that will preclude all and any regional discord."
And yet, the territorial factor is certainly present in the confrontation between the powers-that-be and the opposition. Citizens of Kyrgyzstan are informally divided into Southerners and Northerners. Bakiyev himself is from the south, Kulov from the north.
Did the United Opposition Front have a program of economic measures?
No, it didn't, Kulov admitted. "What's the use suggesting anything without installation of a new political system?" was how he put it.
Who was financing the opposition?
Kulov said that the United Opposition Front enjoyed support from ordinary people in the regions. "There are the businessmen as well who found themselves in trouble these last eighteen months. They are prepared to sponsor the opposition too," Kulov said.
Whoever didn't speak Kyrgyz was indifferent with regard to what would happen to Kyrgyzstan?
"If somebody does not speak Kyrgyz, it does not make him a non-Kyrgyz," Kulov replied. "There are lots of Russians here who are true patriots. The heart takes precedence over language."