Kyrgyzstan “on brink of civil war”..”could become 2nd Afghanistan” – Medvedev
The Russian president was speaking after attending the nuclear security summit in Washington.
“Some (Kyrgyz) political leaders will have to make a decision about their fate,” he said, after Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev offered to resign for the first time since he was ousted in bloody protests last week.
The Russian leader called for officials to avoid further bloodshed after the protests left 83 dead in the strategic Central Asian country.
“The risk of Kyrgyzstan breaking apart – into the south and the north – really exists,” Medvedev warned after giving a speech at the US think tank, the Brookings Institution.
The Russian leader rejected assertions however that Moscow had been angered by Bakiyev’s decision to allow a US military facility in Kyrgyzstan to remain open. “How can Russia object to decisions of a sovereign state?” he said.
Kyrgyzstan stands on the brink of civil war and threatens to become a “second Afghanistan,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says.
“As I understand it Kyrgyzstan is on the verge of civil war,” Mr Medvedev told an audience at a Washington think-tank, suggesting ousted Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev should formally step down.
“Certain political figures should take responsible decisions,” he said.
Kyrgyzstan is currently ruled by a self-declared interim government after a bloody uprising last week left 79 people dead.
Mr Bakiyev fled to the southern Jalalabad region and insists he will not resign.
This past week saw another key success in Russia’s resurgence in former Soviet territory when pro-Russian forces took control of Kyrgyzstan.
The Kyrgyz revolution was quick and intense. Within 24 hours, protests that had been simmering for months spun into countrywide riots as the president fled and a replacement government took control. The manner in which every piece necessary to exchange one government for another fell into place in such a short period discredits arguments that this was a spontaneous uprising of the people in response to unsatisfactory economic conditions. Instead, this revolution appears prearranged.
Opposition forces in Kyrgyzstan have long held protests, especially since the Tulip Revolution in 2005 that brought recently ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to power. But various opposition groupings never were capable of pulling off such a full revolution — until Russia became involved.
In the weeks before the revolution, select Kyrgyz opposition members visited MOSCOW to meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. STRATFOR sources in Kyrgyzstan reported the pervasive, noticeable presence of Russia’s Federal Security Service on the ground during the crisis, and MOSCOW readied 150 elite Russian paratroopers the day after the revolution to fly into Russian bases in Kyrgyzstan. As the dust began to settle, Russia endorsed the still-coalescing government.
There are quite a few reasons why Russia would target a country nearly 600 miles from its borders (and nearly 1,900 miles from capital to capital), though Kyrgyzstan itself is not much of a prize. The country has no economy or strategic resources to speak of and is highly dependent on all its neighbors for foodstuffs and energy. But it does have a valuable geographic location.
Central Asia largely comprises a massive steppe of more than a million square miles, making the region easy to invade. The one major geographic feature other than the steppe are the Tien Shan mountains, a range that divides Central Asia from South Asia and China. Nestled within these mountains is the Fergana Valley, home to most of Central Asia’s population due to its arable land and the protection afforded by the mountains. The Fergana Valley is the core of Central Asia.
To prevent this core from consolidating into the power center of the region, the Soviets sliced up the Fergana Valley between three countries. Uzbekistan holds the valley floor, Tajikistan the entrance to the valley and Kyrgyzstan the highlands surrounding the valley. Kyrgyzstan lacks the economically valuable parts of the valley, but it does benefit from encircling it. Control of Kyrgyzstan equals control of the valley, and hence of Central Asia’s core.
Moreover, the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek is only 120 miles from Kazakhstan’s largest city (and historic and economic capital), Almaty. The Kyrgyz location in the Tien Shan also gives Kyrgyzstan the ability to monitor Chinese moves in the region. And its highlands also overlook China’s Tarim Basin, part of the contentious Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
Given its strategic location, control of Kyrgyzstan offers the ability to pressure Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. Kyrgyzstan is thus a critical piece in Russia’s overall plan to resurge into its former Soviet sphere.
mock horror from medvedev..i am sure he is happy with the outcome here..