Who will be more popular in Kyrgyzstan come New Year’s Day: newly appointed Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev or his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin?
During his maiden trip to Moscow as premier, Atambayev secured a beautiful deal: Putin promised to drop, as of January 1, the punitive oil export tariffs he had instituted several days before Kurmanbek Bakiyev was overthrown last April. At the time, it seemed Putin was punishing Bakiyev for reneging on a promise to evict the Americans from their airbase at Manas.
The move could result in a 25 percent reduction of gasoline prices at the pump, and trickle down support throughout the ailing Kyrgyz economy.
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