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Kyrgyzstan Accuses Kazakhstan of Political Meddling

Omurbek Babanov, a candidate in Kyrgyzstan’s upcoming presidential election, meeting with voters at a rally in the town of Aravan on September 14, 2017. (Photo: Danil Usmanov/EurasiaNet.org)

Kyrgyzstan is brimming with indignation at what it perceives as the meddling of neighboring Kazakhstan in its upcoming presidential election.
 
On September 19, the office of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced he had met for talks in Astana with Kyrgyz presidential candidate and multimillionaire businessman Omurbek Babanov. The meeting was given wide coverage in Kazakhstan’s media.
 
One particular passage from Nazarbayev’s chat with Babanov drew particular attention.
 
“I have known you for a long time. You have been doing business and gained great experience. You were head of the government,” Nazarbayev said, speaking in Kazakh and referring to Babanov’s stint as prime minister from December 2011 to September 2012. “I remember all this.
If the Kyrgyz people will throw their support behind a person like this, a person like you, then Kazakhstan will also throw its weight behind that person at any time. And I hope this doesn’t offend anybody.”
 
Alas, somebody was offended.
 

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Kyrgyzstan Accuses Kazakhstan of Political Meddling

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