Author`s name Lyuba Lulko

Kyrgyzstan next: Eurasian Economic Union falling apart?

Another political crisis, similar to the one in Belarus, is brewing in Kyrgyzstan after the parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic.

Parliamentary elections were held in Kyrgyzstan on October 6. The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced that following the elections, four political parties would be able to enter the new parliament.

The following parties crossed the seven-percent limit: Birimdik (24 percent), Mekenim Kyrgyzstan (23 percent), Butun Kyrgyzstan (7 percent) and Kyrgyzstan (9 percent).

It is only Birimdik party that entered the Kyrgyz parliament (Jogorku Kenesh) this year from all the parties of the previous convocation. The ruling Social Democratic Party, led by convicted ex-President Almazbek Atabmbayev, has disintegrated.

Birimdik is the only parliamentary party in the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) that proclaimed Eurasianism as part of its party ideology along with democratic socialism. Its full name is the Party of Democratic Socialism - Eurasian choice. It should be noted that the program emphasizes the role of the Russian language as the official language in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The lists of candidates from Birimdik includes the brother of the head of state Sooronbai Jeenbekov, Asylbek Jeenbekov, who served as speaker of the legislative assembly from 2011 to 2015 and currently acts his current deputy. Therefore, the party is considered a pro-presidential one, although Jeenbekov himself says that he represents the people, not a party.

The Mekenim Kyrgyzstan (MK) party stands out for its focus on China, which is seen as the main investor in infrastructure projects in Kyrgyzstan, such as, in particular, the construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway and a large Chinese logistics center in Naryn. Such a turn towards cooperation with China is not accidental. It stems from the sponsorship of MK, which is closely connected with having business relationship with China.

Mekenim Kyrgyzstan is also considered a pro-presidential party, since it has people closely associated with Jeenbekov, for example, his matchmaker Aliyarbek Abzhaliev. At the same time, Mekenim Kyrgyzstan and Birimdik parties are in conflict with each other, and it comes to public fights at times.

The "Kyrgyzstan" party includes clans of northerners who, according to media reports, are also loyal to Jeenbekov, a southerner.

The only opposition party is Butun Kyrgyzstan, which focuses on the dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in Kyogizia, which peaked in June and July 2019. In particular, the party proposes to set up a commission that should study the reasons that led to the crisis in the health care system.

Another Belarus is brewing in Kyrgyzstan

On October 5, 10 of 12 opposition parties that lost the elections refused to recognize the preliminary results of the vote. Rallies in Bishkek are held by five parties: Reform, Meken Yntymagy, Chon Kazat, Yiman Nuru and Ordo (the parties had previously signed a resolution on unification. The leader of the Bir Bol party, Altynbek Sulaimanov, called for new elections excluding the parties associated with the government. This is the first time when Kyrgyzstan faced such dirty elections, Sulaimanov said.

Alexander Sobyanin, the head of the Asian Military-Cultural Center of the Eurasian Integration Assistance Fund, told Pravda.Ru that the rallies with calls to overthrow the government show that Kyrgyzstan may see massive riots, similar to those that take place in Belarus.

According to the expert, Russia and the current president of Kyrgyzstan are to blame for this in the first place.

According to Alexander Sobyanin, Russian security forces are behind all the parties that became part of the parliament, including the opposition one. This, in his words, is "very unpleasant" because Russia "is not interested in dealing with prosperous Kyrgyzstan - instead, Russia is only interested in full administration and control over Kyrgyzstan."

"This is not brotherly behavior," said Alexander Sobyanin.

According to the political scientist, the current government's fault lies in the fact that "the president, just like President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, for some reason assigned more votes to himself."

"He oversees two parties at once, Birimdik and Mekenim Kyrgyzstan," explained Alexander Sobyanin.

Birimdik represents northern oligarchs and entrepreneurs, whereas Mekenim Kyrgyzstan represents billionaire Raiymbek Matraimov - an odious customs officer who finances many parties. There was no point in this falsification, like in Belarus, because the money they had guaranteed them many seats in the parliament," the political scientist noted.

Opposition of Kyrgyzstan

Alexander Sobyanin said that the opposition of five parties has nothing but two things in common:

  • they put the fight against bribery and thieves at the forefront;
  • they have many young people and women in the ranks, which is official parties do not have. Official parties attach most priority to big money in the first place, whereas women are only figuratively present there.

Moscow and Bishkek need to hear the people of Kyrgyzstan

Moscow and Bishkek, the expert said, must make the right decision not to deal with yet another large-scale crisis in the EAEU.

"Russia needs to stop playing and manipulating Kyrgyz parties and organizations. The Kyrgyz authorities need to understand that the responsibility will ultimately be personal. The republic has seen several revolutions, two of them were violent and bloody revolutions. The people of Kyrgyzstan are not just nomadic people - they are an ancient people with ancient military organizations," the expert warned.

The Kyrgyz people have two requirements. They want social justice and dignity," Alexander Sobyanin concluded.

Kyrgyzstan remains pro-Russian nation

According to the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan, a political party that won the elections can count on a maximum of 65 deputy mandates. The parliamentary majority can nominate the prime minister who, according to 2017 amendments to the Constitution, holds significant powers in Kyrgyzstan.

The amendments also significantly complicated the procedure for a faction of a particular party to leave the coalition of the parliamentary majority. To do this, now it is required to collect not just a simple majority, but not less than two-thirds of the total number of deputies of the faction. Prior to this, the governments, which were formed by the parliamentary majority, had to resign without functioning even for one year.

Leaders in Kyrgyzstan also changed quite frequently to represent either northern or southern clans. The current president is the fifth in the history of Kyrgyzstan. Ukraine can boast of the same, which does not make these countries stable states. However, unlike Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan has never become an anti-Russian state, probably because the West does not see a reason to gain a foothold there: Kyrgyzstan is poor in resources and shares no common border with Russia.

It is worthy of note that Kyrgyzstan has a few gold ore deposits, but the largest one of them is already controlled by China. In modern-day Kyrgyzstan, the majority of young people prefer to go to work to Russia.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov said that in the past ten years alone, labor migrants and compatriots living abroad transferred over $19 billion to Kyrgyzstan. This figure is larger than the amount of foreign direct investment ($8.3 billion over the same period) and exports of Kyrgyzstan ($18 billion).

Until recently, Kyrgyzstan has had a very difficult border conflict with Tajikistan because of the Tajik enclaves on its territory, where armed conflicts occur on a regular basis and lead to casualties.