Kyrgyzstan’s Winners Make Moscow Pilgrimage
No sooner had Kyrgyz voters picked their fab five, then a gaggle of the winners were off to Moscow to seek instructions on how to form a coalition, and who should lead it. In the days up to the October 10 vote, there were signs of a possible coalition involving Ar-Namys, Ata-Jurt, and Respublika, the three parties who’s leaders, according to Vremya Novostei, were in Moscow yesterday. Though the parties lie on opposite ends of the political spectrum, with Ata-Jurt riding a wave of nationalism to the winning position, Ar-Namys’ Felix Kulov (whose billboards show him shaking Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s hand) promising stability and closer ties to Moscow, and Respublika’s Omurbek Babanov campaigning on a centrist pro-business and youth platform, they all made overtures to Moscow during the campaign. Arkady Dubnov writes in Vremya Novostei:
Why have the three politicians gone to the Russian capital, of all places, in search of consensus? (According to Vremya Novostei’s sources, only on the airplane did some of them realize that they had wound up in the company of their opponents.) For the part of the Kyrgyz political spectrum represented by Ata-Meken and the Social Democratic Party (SDPK), the answer to this question seems humiliating – “again Moscow, again big brother is dictating to us how to live.” And they would have been absolutely right, had they gotten as much support in the elections [as the opposition].
Potential problem: Kulov and Babanov both want to be prime minister. If they don't strike a "Moscow deal" with Ata-Jurt and each other, then either could offer his services -- the support of his party’s MPs in exchange for the PM’s post – to the so-called pro-government coalition. The defrocked Social Democrats and Ata-Meken are desperately looking for friends. Today, 24.kg reports, Social Democrat leader Almazbek Atambayev (a known foe of Kulov’s) went to Moscow as well. That must leave Ata-Meken leader Omurbek Tekebayev, who was smeared in the Russian press just before the elections and is seen as the most pro-Western party leader, feeling scorned.Will Tekebayev make the pilgrimage to the Third Rome?
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.