A self-exiled deposed president of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev, has revealed in an interview that he plans to return to his home country following his retirement.
Speaking to Russia’s TASS news agency, Akayev, 78, said in the interview published on June 27 that he will continue for now to work at Moscow State University.
“As long as I still have the strength, I will work at Moscow State University,” Akayev said.
The former president’s permanent return to Kyrgyzstan would mark his definitive rehabilitation since he was overthrown in a mass uprising in 2005. Since that time, Akayev, a mathematician by training, has lived in Moscow and taught.
Akayev remains a highly contentious figure in his home country. His legal problems have, however, been resolved.
In January, the Prosecutor General's Office announced that it was dropping its case against the ex-leader on charges of abuse of office during the negotiation of a mining license contract with Canada-based company Cameco in 1992 and the subsequent renegotiation of the deal in 2003. Prosecutors cited the statute of limitations as the reason for their decision.
Letting Akayev off the hook appears more like a political gesture than one based in law, though.
In February, President Sadyr Japarov caused widespread surprise by revealing that he had convened a secret meeting in Dubai of all the country’s ex-presidents. Attendees included Akayev and the man who replaced him, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was himself ousted in a bloody uprising in 2010.
Japarov sold the meeting as a bold gesture designed to cultivate unity.
“My only thought was for the supporters of each president, for the inhabitants of the seven regions [of Kyrgyzstan] to concentrate [their energies] in one direction, to leave politics to one side, to think about the development of the nation, of the economy,” he was quoted as saying at the time.
As described by Japarov, the whole event played out as a therapeutic and cathartic exercise. All the presidents forgave one another of their mutual grievances, he said.
“If we want to strengthen our sovereignty, independence and develop Kyrgyzstan, let's put aside the past, our grievances and our complaints,” Japarov later commented.
Akayev definitively settling in Kyrgyzstan would close the book on at least one story.