Every shashlik cook worth his salt knows the secret is to give the meat a good marinade before sticking it on the skewer.
A similar softening-up approach was adopted before the head of Kyrgyzstan’s state economic crimes service was ejected from his post.
Bolot Suyumbayev has had a rollercoaster of a month. At the start of April, he occupied a powerful role as deputy head of the State Committee for National Security, or GKNB, the successor agency to the KGB. His main qualification for the job appears to have been that he was previously a security guard for ex-President Almazbek Atambayev, whose term ended in November.
But then on April 7, he got the pink slip from a presidential administration intent of shooing all of Atambayev’s old cronies out of positions of influence. Having been thrown out of the door, Suyumbayev crept back in through the window on April 16, when Prime Minister Sapar Isakov (another Atambayev ally who has since been fired) appointed him to the anti-corruption role.
Journalists have since then been scratching their heads over the bull-necked, one-time film stuntman’s resumé. He worked as an auditor for private company in the 1990s and then took over as head of security at a local retail bank. In 2000, he ran security for a sparkling white wine factory. And then for about seven years, from around 2001, he worked in some capacity in the Interior Ministry, although it is not quite clear as what.
His ascent to the deputy chairmanship of the GKNB happened in May 2015, an appointment he bagged after several years of providing personal protection to Atambayev.
And that isn’t all. Some media have been insinuating in the past few days that Suyumbayev may have obtained his academic qualifications by means foul.
Not true, insisted Toktobek Imanaliyev, rector of Bishkek’s Academy of Physical Culture and Sport. Suyumbayev got his diploma as a physical education teacher fair and square, although it did take him 25 years to do it.
Imanaliyev told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyzstan service, Radio Azattyk, that Suyumbayev enrolled at the academy in 1987, but was expelled twice.
“It turns out he is an orphan. According to the documents in his case, which we have in our possession, he was brought up by his grandfather. It appears that there were situations when he could not devote enough time to his studies and so he was excluded, although he was later readmitted,” Imanaliyev said.
Suyumbayev finally polished off his studies in 2012.
“We got letter from the presidential administration and the ministry asking to allow him to complete the final courses — the fifth and sixth — as an external student,” Imanaliyev said.
The drip-drip of stories designed to embarrass Suyumbayev now all look like a planned precursor to his ouster at the hands of lawmakers, who voted for him to be fired from a job he had filled for barely 10 days.
Nurjamal Djanibekova is a journalist based in Bishkek.