At 3 pm on May 13, just a couple of hours before he would be ousted from office, Bektur Asanov, the provisional governor of Kyrgyzstan’s southern Jalal-abad province, appeared calm and unaware of looming danger. He even insisted that the provisional government faced no threat of a counter-strike by supporters of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, whose administration collapsed in early April. But there he was, at 7 pm, being unceremoniously escorted from his office by people shouting "Bakiyev, Bakiyev" and carrying banners reading, “Bakiyev is our president.”
Jalal-abad was not the only southern province caught up in the rip tide of counter-revolution. Bakiyev supporters also ousted the provisional governors of Osh and Batken provinces. The sudden developments effectively split Kyrgyzstan in two, with loyalists of the ousted president in control of the South and the provisional government remaining in charge of the North.
Provisional government representatives have vowed to restore their authority in southern regions. But it was not immediately clear what the leadership in Bishkek could do to make good on their intentions.
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David Trilling is EurasiaNet’s Central Asia news editor.