20 november 2017

Central Asia news

Atambayev criticises oligarchic milieu of Nazarbayev

18.10.2017 15:48 msk

Fergana


Almazbek Atambayev
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev admits he "was wrong" when he spoke emotionally about President Nursultan Nazarbayev recently. "He is as confiding man as I am, and he probably has more problems," the president’s press service quotes the Kyrgyz leader stating at the ceremony of awarding the presidential scholarship to the excellent students, .

President Atambayev admits his words about the head of the neighbouring state dated 7 October was not entirely correct. Then, Atambayev criticised the Kazakh leadership and Nazarbayev personally for allegedly interfering in the internal affairs of Kyrgyzstan and imposing his presidential candidate on Bishkek. Moreover, the Kyrgyz leader claimed that he was giving Astana a "bad example of fair power" while the Kazakh authorities were engaged in "enriching the oligarchs" (a full transcript of the Kyrgyz president's speech in Russian is available here).

However, President Atambayev in his speech today again criticises "oligarchs" and "billionaires" making up the milieu of his Kazakh colleague, he believes, "do not think about Kazakhstan or Nazarbayev, but about their future." "Their accounts are in Western banks," he stressed.

According to Atambayev, Nazarbayev's entourage is to blame for the complicated situation on the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border, where cargo trucks and people have been crowding for a week because Kazakhstan has unilaterally strengthened its control.

President Atambayev believes Kazakhstan is trying to "cut off" Kyrgyzstan from Russia. "I think President Nazarbayev does not even suspect this," he added.

The Kyrgyz leader adds that the oligarchs in the milieu of Nazarbayev are wishing to please the US and trying to spoil relations with Russia. "Apparently, Kazakhstan is not going to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet for nothing - it is cutting off from Russia. There are joint exercises of the military of Kazakhstan and the US marines on the border with Russia... For the past several years, we see that Kazakhstan's actions aim at the collapse of the Eurasian Economic Union (which includes Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia - note by Fergana)," summed up the president.

Some Kazakh media consider today's statement of Atambayev as an apology for Nazarbayev. The Diapazon.Kz newspaper published the corresponding headline, in particular. NUR.kz titled the news with the Atambayev's phrase that he was wrong. Tengrinews.kz correspondent turned to the expert to find out whether this is an apology or not.

At the same time, according to Fergana sources close to the administration of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan is waiting for a letter of apology from his Kyrgyz colleague.

On 7 October, Almazbek Atambayev during his speech at the ceremony of presenting state awards accused the Kazakh authorities of "imposing their candidate" on the past presidential election in Kyrgyzstan. In response to these attacks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and the Prime Minister of this country Bakytzhan Sagintayev made statements in which they called Atambayev's statements "provocative" and "unacceptable."

The aggravation of political relations between the states has also affected ordinary citizens. Kazakhstan transferred the border troops to a reinforced regime of service, and then set checkpoints with armed servicemen on the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border, explaining it by the presidential election in Kyrgyzstan, and in fact - complicated the citizens of Kyrgyzstan to cross the border. As a result, at all checkpoints, long queues from the Kyrgyz side emerged.

The Ministry of Economy of Kyrgyzstan complained to the Eurasian Economic Commission (ECE) and the secretariat of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) about strengthening of control by Kazakhstan on the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border.

According to Daniyar Aitman, a well-known columnist from Kyrgyzstan who lives in Canada, Atambayev spoiled relations with Kazakhstan for the sake of victory of his protégé in the presidential election held in the country.

"It was a well-thought-out, cynical operation to discredit Babanov (the presidential candidate Omurbek Babanov, the main rival of the power nominee Sooronbai Jeenbekov - note by Fergana) as an "agent "of Kazakhstan and to mobilise the electorate against him in the wake of chuchuk patriotism ('chuchuk' is a Kyrgyz traditional sausage mentioned to name jingoism - note by Fergana). Everything was well planned and staged. Up to "letters of the intelligentsia" and wiretapping. It was a political and technological operation," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Fergana News Agency