Will Kyrgyzstan’s Next President Be Bare-Knuckled?
A leader of Kyrgyzstan’s largest parliamentary faction, and a rumored contender for president, Kamchybek Tashiev, is gaining a reputation for using his fists to conduct official business. In addition to the widely reported smashup with a deputy from an opposing party earlier this month, some confirmation seems to be leaking out about a more physically damaging brawl between Tashiev and one of his fellow party members a day earlier. Parliamentary deputy Bakhadyr Sulaimanov alleges Tashiev beat him so badly on March 31 that he suffered a concussion, 24.kg reports. The two are members of the same party, Ata-Jurt, and reportedly the altercation came about after Sulaimanov refused to give up his seat in the legislature. Still in hospital, Sulaimanov is pressing charges, the Prosecutor General’s office announced on April 12. (Someone claiming to be Sulaimanov gave a colorful account of the fight on the popular Diesel Forum.)Tashiev, who holds parliamentary immunity, denies the allegations. If the assault really did take place, the reasons behind it are not clear. But then, little ever is in the struggle for power among Kyrgyzstan's politicians. The day after the alleged ruckus with Bakhadyr Sulaimanov, Tashiev exchanged blows with a deputy from the Respublika Party, Altynbek Sulaimanov (no relation reported). Spilling into the parliament’s corridors, that fight (photo here, Tashiev on right) prompted the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) to lock down the building, but not before seizing 11 guns, including an assault rifle. Those two have since held a kiss-and-make-up ceremony, complete with kalpakexchange.Tashiev knows a thing or two about fighting. The head of the National Boxing Federation for 15 years, he told EurasiaNet.org last October, “I go to the gym very often – to get my anger out on the punching bags.” Perhaps he’s not getting to the gym often enough.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.
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