WELCOME TO IWPR'S REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA, No. 529 Part 1, January 31, 2008

have been pushed to the limits by this winter’s prolonged sub-zero 
temperatures.   By Jyldyz Mamytova in Bishkek and Yaroslav Razumov in Almaty

ASHGABAT PRESSES IRAN FOR HIGHER GAS PRICE  While both sides engage in a war of 
words, Turkmenistan holds most of the aces in this regional energy dispute.  By 
Abdujalil Abdurasulov in Almaty

TURKMEN “SACRED TEXT” HEADS FOR OBLIVION  President’s decision to unveil his 
own ideology marks another step away from the personality cult fostered by his 
predecessor.   By IWPR staff in Central Asia

stability and prosperity arouses a good deal of scepticism in a country where 
poverty remains the norm.   By Gulnara Mambetalieva and Tolkunbek Turdubaev in 


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Ageing electricity networks have been pushed to the limits by this winter’s 
prolonged sub-zero temperatures. 

By Jyldyz Mamytova in Bishkek and Yaroslav Razumov in Almaty

The worst winter in decades has hit Central Asia with one of the worst energy 
crises in memory, forcing factories to close and leaving people shivering in 
the darkness. 

Abnormally low seasonal temperatures, plunging to 30 or 40 degrees below zero, 
have pushed electric consumption to a record high. 

In Kyrgyzstan, a state rich in hydroelectric power, daily consumption is ten 
per cent higher than it normally would be at this time of year. The jump in use 
caused water levels in the main reservoir at Toktogul to fall alarmingly as the 
turbines were kept running in an effort to keep up with demand. 

In Tajikistan, which suffers from annual winter energy crises despite its 
substantial hydroelectric generating capacity, savage power cuts have inflicted 
severe damage on industrial output and raised questions about the competence of 
the political leadership. 

Even energy-rich Kazakstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have experienced power 
cuts as sharply-rising domestic consumption overwhelms capacity. 
An observer in the Balkan region of western Turkmenistan described the energy 
crisis in schools and hospitals as critical. 

“The worst situation is in the schools,” said this source. “All the local 
schools have had their boilers cut off, and as a result most teachers hold 
classes for only 15 minutes and then let the children go.” Vadim, a businessman 
in Kazakstan whose scrap-metal recycling firm relies on electrical power, says 
the cuts have inflicted major damage on his company. 

“The smelting process uses up a lot of electricity,” he explained. “Now we are 
suffering big losses and experiencing technological problems.” 

Energy industry experts say the Kyrgyz electricity grid had failed a crucial 
test as a result of the abnormal cold. 

Almaz Abdrahmanov, a resident of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, said that despite 
freezing daily temperatures of around 20 below zero, the new residential 
district of Archa-Beshik had been without power for three days. 

The electricity shortages come as consumers across the region faces problems 
with supply of natural gas, again as a consequence of the harsh winter 
conditions. Major producer Uzbekistan is struggling to cope with increased 
demand at home and curtailing exports to its neighbours. (See IWPR reports on 
this: Uzbekistan Sees Rare Protests Over Gas Shortage and Sparks Fly as Tajiks 
Endure Power Cuts, RCA No. 528, 25-Jan-08.) 

In Kazakstan, Petr Svoik, an economist and former minister who once ran a power 
station, says even this energy-rich country cannot cope with the current high 
rates of demand. The crisis, he says, has highlighted the failure to carry out 
long-overdue repair work to cables and power plants. 

Experts note that the country is capable of producing a maximum of 70 billion 
kilowatts per hour, not enough to for crisis situations such as the recent hard 

However, given the continuing lack of investment in the system, an immediate 
increase in electricity production looks unlikely. 

“A unified energy system for the whole of Kazakstan has not yet been created,” 
Svoik said. “In practice, it consists of a number of regional energy 

Svoik said relatively little was being done to modernise the power grid. “The 
authorities have not yet decided which facilities to build first, and when it 
comes to what to build and who will supply the money, there’s been an absolute 
failure,” he said. 

While Kazakstan’s electricity industry has received some investment over the 
last four years, experts say about 70 per cent of the system remains unfit for 

“If immediate and resolute measures are not taken to renovate energy 
facilities, the power supply system will inevitably collapse, and this will 
have many negative social and economic consequences,” said Alexander Trofimov, 
head of Kazselenergoproekt, which works on electricity projects for rural areas 
of Kazakstan. 

In Kyrgyzstan, besides fundamental problems with generating capacity, there is 
the additional and widespread problem of illegal diversion of power supplies, 
which goes on largely undetected and leads to large revenue losses. 

Gulya Muratalieva, spokesman for the Severelektro power company in Bishkek, 
says most of the theft appears to occur in Bishkek, a city that is home to more 
than a million people. 

“It’s difficult to calculate how many customers Severelektro serves in the 
capital today, since no one knows what the real population of Bishkek is,” 
Muratalieva told IWPR. “People connect cables to transmission lines without 
permission and so use up energy without it being recorded on a meter.” 

The capital is also inefficient in its use of electricity. Most people use 
homemade heaters in their apartments that consume about five times more power 
than modern factory-produced heaters. 

Another problem is that the meters are worn-out and inaccurate. Most of 
Severelektro’s customers have old meters that often act up in the extreme cold 
and fail to record consumption accurately. 

But as one Bishkek resident told IWPR, few people worry about stealing 
electricity when their homes are freezing. 

He and his family were forced to move into a hotel for several days when it 
became intolerable to remain in their cold home. 

“Our area has no central heating or gas heating,” he said. “There are no 
coal-fired stoves in the houses, either – the rooms are heated with electricity 
and we cook on electric stoves, too,” he explained. 

“When the power is cut, we practically freeze and go hungry.” 

Jyldyz Mamytova and Yaroslav Razumov are IWPR contributors in Bishkek and 
Almaty, respectively. 


While both sides engage in a war of words, Turkmenistan holds most of the aces 
in this regional energy dispute.

By Abdujalil Abdurasulov in Almaty

A worsening energy dispute between Iran and Turkmenistan may have dealt a fatal 
blow to plans to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Europe, running 
through Iran, experts say.

The crisis, which erupted in late December when Turkmenistan halted gas exports 
to northern Iran, has bloomed into a full-scale diplomatic standoff between the 

Officially, Turkmen officials said the gas supply was cut because Tehran had 
failed to pay its bills, thus obstructing vital maintenance work to the 
200-kilometre Korpeje-Kord Koy pipeline to Iran.

“Iran’s failure to fulfill its obligations and pay for previous natural gas 
shipments… is holding back completion of the repairs and maintenance work [to 
the pipeline],” said a foreign ministry statement. 

Iran’s deputy oil and gas minister, Akbar Torkan, denounced the decision to cut 
off the gas during the freezing winter as “immoral”. Tehran said problems over 
unpaid bills ought to have been discussed bilaterally before Turkmenistan 
resorted to extreme measures. 

Iran claimed the real reason Turkmenistan halted exports was to increase the 
pressure on Tehran to accept a doubling in the gas price from 75 to 140 US 
dollars per 1,000 cubic metres. 

In the meantime, the proposed Turkmenistan-Iran-Turkey pipeline seems likely to 
become a casualty of the quarrel. 

Since the early Nineties, Iran, Turkey and Turkmenistan have been discussing a 
1,400 km-long pipeline with an annual capacity of 28 billion cu m, and last 
year they signed another memorandum confirming their plans. 

With little sign of reconciliation in sight between two of them, work on the 
scheme now looks unlikely.


While the two sides trade recriminations over the causes of the dispute, most 
energy experts agree the pricing issue is central. 

The original gas agreement between the two countries was signed in 1998, and is 
intended to cover the period to 2024. This agreement has been periodically 
updated since then, with new arrangements for pricing and export volumes. 

In 2006, Iran agreed that its neighbour could raise the gas price from 42 to 65 
dollars per 1,000 cu m, while Turkmenistan pledged to increase annual exports 
from 5.8 to eight billion cu m in 2006 and then to 14 billion in 2007. 

However, the increase in export volumes did not happen at the anticipated pace, 
and experts say no more than eight billion cu m went to Iran in 2007. 

Last year, the Iranians agreed to another price rise, to 75 dollars per 1,000 
cu m. One industry source quoted by Iranian media claimed this agreement 
included a pledge not to increase prices again for three years. 

Many energy analysts believe the stoppage in December was an attempt to force 
Tehran to accept Ashgabat’s terms.

Oleg Lukin, an Ashkhabad-based analyst with the Neftegazovaya Vertical 
magazine, said price disputes were the only possible explanation. “If Tehran 
had agreed to pay a higher price, no repair works… would have stopped the gas 
exports,” he said.

Jonathan Stern, from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, also expressed 
doubt in the truth of the Turkmen assertion that repairs to the pipeline had 
become essential. 

However, Murad Esenov, an expert on Turkmenistan and editor of the 
Swedish-based Central Asia and the Caucasus Journal, maintained that apart from 
pricing issues, there were other factors at play, such as the dilapidated state 
of the Turkmen gas industry and its inability to meet even current demand. 

Esenov said Turkmenistan had spent too little on developing its gas industry 
and had not attracted foreign investment. “For all these years, they have been 
using what was left over from the Soviet Union,” he said. “The gas industry has 
not been modernised at all.” 

As a result, Esenov believes Turkmenistan has recently been finding it 
difficult to produce enough gas to meet all its export commitments. In 
addition, he says exports have recently been curtailed to meet soaring domestic 
demand over the unusually cold weather. 

“They simply reduced their exports in order to meet domestic needs,” he said. 
“Exports to Iran stopped completely and shipments to Russia and Ukraine were 
also significantly reduced.” 

Turkmenistan has denied reducing gas supplies to Russia. In a press statement, 
the foreign ministry said the industry was “fulfilling its obligations and 
carrying out deliveries of Turkmen natural gas to Russia in strict compliance 
with contractual terms.”


The text of the 1998 agreement governing gas exports to Iran was never made 
public, so it is hard to judge who has the upper hand when disputes occur. In 
the current case, though, most experts believe Turkmenistan is in a better 
position to dictate terms. 

Stern says there can be only two possible outcomes to the current row - either 
Iran agrees to the Turkmen conditions, or it does not get any more gas from 
this source. 

Lukin agrees that Tehran is more likely to blink first. “It is not beneficial 
for Iran to lose the gas supplier for its northern provinces,” he said, 
explaining that while the Iranians are themselves rich in gas, it would cost 
them a good deal of money to build a new pipeline connecting their gas fields 
in the south to their northeaster provinces. The current Korpeje-Kord Koy 
pipeline meets this demand at a reasonable cost. 

Tehran is now suggesting that it has the right to seek international 
arbitration on the dispute. Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini 
said last week that the terms of the original contract give Iran the right to 
appeal to “international legal authorities in the eventuality of a breach of 
the gas agreement”. 

But Stern doubts the original contract made provision for such arbitration, and 
if it did, he says, the legal case “would turn on the detail of the price 
clause(s) in the contract”. 

According to Jonathan Hines, a lawyer from Dewey & LeBoeuf, a firm specialising 
in energy matters, contracts normally set out a fixed or escalating price table 
with reference to standard market indicators. The contract cannot simply have 
nothing to say about prices, he says. 

Hines believes a mutually agreed solution to the dispute is more likely than an 
Iranian surrender. “They are neighbouring countries, not a private company,” he 
says. “They cannot go away from each other; they have to deal with one another 
on a daily basis.” 


Turkmenistan has shown before that it can play hardball over energy. In 1997, 
it cut off gas supplies to Russia for two years after the two countries failed 
to agree on new prices. 

Because Russia was the only major purchaser of Turkmen gas, Turkmenistan was 
eventually forced to make concessions. But the situation is now changing. While 
Moscow remains the dominant player, there are more potential buyers lining up 
in anticipation of future opportunities, not least China, which is planning to 
lay a pipeline to bring Turkmen gas to its energy-hungry economy. 

Tehran will also have to face the fact that Russia has already agreed to pay 
more for Turkmen gas than the 100 dollars per 1,000 cu m it was charged last 
year. In November, the giant gas company Gazprom agreed to pay 130 dollars per 
1,000 cu m for the first half of 2008, and then 150 dollars for the rest of the 
year. The price could well rise even further in 2009. 

China, too, seems prepared to accommodate higher tariffs. Citing China 
Securities Journal, Reuters recently reported that Beijing had agreed to a 
price of 195 dollars per 1,000 cu m from 2009. 

In other words, if Tehran does not agree to pay more, Turkmenistan may sell its 
gas to others at the most advantageous price. 


While the crisis may have torpedoed any remaining hopes of constructing a 
pipeline to transport Central Asian gas to Europe via Iran and Turkey, analysts 
note that other practical difficulties had already rendered the project highly 

For one thing, the United States is bitterly opposed to any pipeline project 
that involves its arch-enemy Iran. 

Meanwhile, what may look like a localised dispute has had a kind of domino 
effect on other states in the region. After Turkmenistan suspended the supply 
of gas to Iran, Tehran stopped exporting to Turkey, which in turn halted sales 
of the fuel to Greece. 

Experts say that given the unstable relations between states in this region, 
chain reactions of this kind will always be a risk. 

According to Stern, one lesson is clear – in order for pipeline projects to 
succeed, it is important that they involve “as few transit countries as 

Abdujalil Abdurasulov is an IWPR contributor in Almaty.


President’s decision to unveil his own ideology marks another step away from 
the personality cult fostered by his predecessor. 

By IWPR staff in Central Asia

Turkmenistan’s president ruler has set out a new ideological framework for his 
isolated country, leading observers to conclude that his predecessor’s book, 
the Ruhnama, which was accorded near-sacred status, is about to be displaced.

President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov formally unveiled the new national 
ideology, entitled “A State for People”, on January 19.

The main goal of the ideology, he said, was a spiritual reawakening for 
society, a new sense of awareness based on a “national creative revival” and 
the education of a new generation of young people. He said it would contribute 
to the development of a secular society underpinned by the rule of law and 
market economic principles.

“I believe my main task is to protect human rights and freedoms, to ensure 
equality and the observance of laws by all citizens of the country, and to 
build a highly developed society,” said Berdymuhammedov. 

The announcement of the new ideology has been seen as a sign that the regime is 
distancing itself from the eccentric policies and personality cult propagated 
by Berdymuhammedov’s predecessor, Saparmurat Niazov, who died in December 2006.

Under Niazov, the former Soviet republic became an increasingly closed society 
where people were force-fed a diet of propaganda in praise of Niazov’s alleged 

Resources were diverted towards lavish prestige projects glorifying the regime 
and its leader, including gold-plated statues of the man who styled himself 
Turkmenbashi or Leader of the Turkmen.

While “foreign” cultural influences brought in by the Soviets, including 
Russian literature, the opera and the ballet, were downgraded or closed down 
entirely, Niazov’s philosophical ruminations, the Ruhnama or Book of the Spirit 
became the obligatory text.

Extolled as the fount of wisdom on morality and ethics, the Ruhnama gathers 
together Niazov’s thoughts on Turkmen folklore, history and mythology in a 
compendium designed as a handbook to life. Under his rule, it became a 
mandatory subject in primary and secondary schools and in universities, and 
civil servants and others were tested on their knowledge of it. 

The work was cited everywhere. Each day, before the main TV news programme, 
announcers would read out 20 pages from the “sacred book”. Officials fired for 
poor performance and pardoned criminals showed their repentance by placing 
their hands on copies of the Ruhnama. 

The quasi-religious significance attached to the book jarred with the beliefs 
of a predominantly Muslim population, and the chief Islamic cleric was sacked 
after raising his voice against an order to place copies of the Ruhnama in the 
mosques, thus equating it with the Koran.

Berdymuhammedov has already signalled his distaste for some of the cultural 
excesses of the former regime, such as the disbandment of the national opera 
and ballet companies. In his January 19 speech, the president said his new 
ideology envisaged the revival of opera, ballet and circuses – forms of 
entertainment that Niazov regarded as “alien elements”. 

Less obviously, Berdymuhammedov has also started dismantling the cult of the 
Ruhnama, observers say. Since his legitimacy stems from being the successor to 
Niazov, it will be difficult from him to perform a complete about-face on the 
regime’s symbolic centerpiece.

“The role of the ‘sacred book’ is decreasing substantially,” one observer from 
Ashgabat told IWPR. “People are now getting jobs in ideological [educational] 
institutes without having to pass exams on the Ruhnama. The book is mentioned 
far less often on radio and television, and the hours-long readings have become 
a thing of the past.” 

Other observers report an atmosphere of “abandonment” at the numerous Ruhnama 
propaganda centres set up in towns and villages across Turkmenistan.

“The staff at the Ruhnama centres are in a state of uneasy expectation,” said 
one staff member. “Now that the authorities no longer hold any ceremonial 
events here, we’re afraid we will be closed down.” 

He added somewhat forlornly, “We truly hope the Ruhnama will be replaced by 
another work written by the current president or by his scribes.”

A media analyst from the Dashoguz region in the north of the country said it 
was just a matter of time before the Ruhnama was consigned to oblivion.

“There is no point in Berdymuhammedov leaning on somebody else’s book and ideas 
as he tries to form his own ideology and personality cult,” he said. 

However, some people complain that the new ideological direction outlined by 
Berdymuhammedov so far is lacking in substance. 

“The president wants culture to become the instrument of a new ideology that 
does not yet exist in reality,” said one employee of an environmental 
organisation in Ashgabat.

A radio journalist also voiced strong doubts about the value and sincerity of 
the president’s change of course. 

“Big deal!” he said. “They are restoring the opera, the circus and the Academy 
of Sciences, but are there any real changes?” he asked. “We don’t have any more 
freedom as a result.” 

Despite the fact that Berdymuhammedov has lifted restrictions on people’s 
freedom of movement at home and subscription to some foreign publications is 
now allowed, the jails still host a good many political prisoners and the media 
remains strictly censored.

The government has shown it is determined to retain control over access to 
information, and has recently been clamping down on satellite television. 

Turkmenistan counts as one the least free countries in the world in most 
international rankings.

Rights activists say the president’s call for ideological renewal will be taken 
more seriously when he makes real moves to allow democratic freedoms. 

“The new ideology ought to be based on the creation of democratic institutions, 
if the president really yearns for societal renewal according to his declared 
principle of a ‘state for people’,” said a civil activist in the western Balkan 

The media analyst from Dashoguz agreed, adding, “The government needs to move 
away from total control over society, to give people real freedom, permit an 
independent media and allow them to criticise the government, permit 
non-governmental organisations and in general allow everything that 
Turkmenbashi prohibited.”

A school head said he feared the new ideology would be much like the old cult, 
as it was being built on praise for Berdymuhammedov’s so-called “era of a great 

“History is repeating itself,” the teacher claimed, “and the fact that one of 
the additional hours allotted for studying the Ruhnama has been removed from 
the school timetable does not fill me with optimism. It’s early to rejoice - 
the Ruhnama may simply be replaced by something else.”

But other observers in Turkmenistan are more optimistic, noting the broad 
support that the plan for cultural revival has won. 

One singer said the president recently received a standing ovation at a 
gathering of the country’s intelligentsia when he outlined his vision of the 

“When the president announced the new ideology at this meeting, the famous 
musician Solmaz Muhammedova thanked Berdymuhammedov for rescuing some of the 
people’s favourites from oblivion and we all stood up and applauded him,” he 

An employee of the newspaper Nesil was similarly upbeat, saying, “Now 
everything will be different. The president has waited for the anniversary of 
Niazov’s death to pass, and a real transformation is about to start.” 

(The names of interviewees have been withheld out of concern for their 


President’s bullish talk of stability and prosperity arouses a good deal of 
scepticism in a country where poverty remains the norm. 

By Gulnara Mambetalieva and Tolkunbek Turdubaev in Bishkek

Declarations by the leader of Kyrgyzstan, one of the poorest states in the 
former Soviet Union, that an economic breakthrough is just around the corner 
have been met with incredulity in many quarters. 

President Kurmanbek Bakiev has said that the eight per cent economic growth 
rates and the massive rise in the government budget seen in the last two years 
show the economy is on the right track. 

Bakiev, who came to power after street protests toppled his predecessor Askar 
Akaev in March 2005, also holds Kyrgyzstan up as a model of political stability 
since the December 2007 election awarded the pro-presidential party Ak Jol most 
seats in parliament. 

“The recent parliamentary election… has turned a new page in our country’s 
political development,” Bakiev boasted in a national address in late December. 

“We were able to resolve a number of important social and economic issues... 
and I’m convinced the successes we achieved will form the basis for 
strengthening the foundations we have already laid.” 

Few would question the fact that Kyrgyzstan now appears fairly calm following 
three years of political turmoil.

After the street riots of 2005 that brought Bakiev to power, the new president 
himself came under pressure from recurrent demonstrations in 2006 and early 
2007. However, he has regained momentum, getting a new constitution passed by a 
national referendum last autumn and then calling the election which left his 
supporters in Ak Jol in control of the legislature.

Murat Shaimkulov, who works in the presidential administration’s department for 
economic and social policy, says the new balance of power between parliament 
and executive will pave the way to economic progress. 

“Now that we have achieved political stability in society, a new era of 
coordinated work between all branches of government – the legislature, 
executive and judiciary - has begun,” he said. 

“The foundations for an economic breakthrough have been laid, and the eight per 
cent real growth of gross domestic product points precisely to this.” 

Economy Minister Akylbek Japarov cites gold mining as another likely source of 
prosperity, given the marked rise in world gold prices. He predicts that 
hydroelectric power will become an additional money-spinner for Kyrgyzstan, 
saying that only a tenth of the country’s potential to generate power had been 
exploited so far. 

Outside the world of government officials, however, economic predictions are 
far less rosy.

Analysts point out that Kyrgyzstan’s growth rates will depend not only on 
political stability but on the success of privatisation policies, especially in 
the energy sector.

The Kyrgyz government is currently launching the last phase of privatizing 
several major energy companies including Kyrgyzgaz, Severelektro and carbon 
fuel-fired power plants in the Bishkek, Osh and Jalalabad. 

Experience has also made ordinary people far less optimistic about the future 
than government officials. 

Anara Abisheva, a teacher from Bishkek, said that even if economic growth rates 
proved healthy, she doubted it would make any difference to her family as 
rising inflation was devouring their savings and more than canceling out salary 

Even the official figures concede that inflation hit the 20 per cent level in 
2007, making basic foodstuffs much more expensive for shoppers and hitting the 
poor hard. 

“I haven’t noticed any economic growth,” said Abisheva, 55. “My salary is only 
enough to buy food, and sometimes I can’t afford so much as a sausage. 

“All I see is that some people are getting richer and that there are many 
expensive cars in Bishkek, whereas honest folk like us can hardly make ends 

Most economic indices paint a fairly dismal portrait of endemic poverty, 
inefficiency and corruption.

Kyrgyzstan has one of the highest levels of labour out-migration of any of the 
Central Asian states, and remains unable to attract significant foreign 
investment because of perceptions that its business climate is unwelcoming, its 
tax legislation opaque and its legal system far fromtransparent. 

A recent World Bank study placed Kyrgyzstan near the bottom of a ranking of 
countries by tax regime and ease of starting a business, while the watchdog 
Transparency International rated Kyrgyzstan 145th out of 163 countries in terms 
of corruption, for the year 2006. 

Former finance minister Taalaibek Koichumanov says it is absurd to make 
optimistic predictions on the economy given the unfavourable investment 
conditions in the country. 

“As for the investment climate, the situation here is still quite wretched,” 
Koichumanov told IWPR. “This is connected to the poor potential of most state 
institutions, the lack of transparency in decision-making, and corruption.” 

Ishenbay Abdrazakov, who heads Project for the Future, a political think tank, 
says that if Kyrgyzstan is to escape the economic doldrums, it needs to do more 
than achieve a minimum level of political stability. 

He identifies the key challenges as introducing modern technology into 
industry, recruiting people with higher skills across the economy, and 
establishing cast-iron legal safeguards for business. 

“We just don’t have any of those things here,” he said. “And without them, I 
can scarcely believe we are on the verge of an economic breakthrough.”

Encouraging qualified graduates to remain in Kyrgyzstan will remain difficult 
as long as the brain drain continues to suck the most enterprising people out 
of the country to Russia, Kazakstan and beyond. About a million Kyrgyzstan 
nationals – a fifth of the population - now live abroad as labour migrants.

Opposition politician Ravshan Jeenbekov says a country that cannot keep 
talented young people at home is doomed to stagnation. 

“The whole point is that our system has not created any competition of ideas, 
people and business,” he said. 

Sapar Orozbakov, director of the Bishkek Centre of Economic Analysis, offers an 
equally bleak view of Kyrgyzstan’s prospects. 

“My forecast for the near future is quite grim,” he said. “Our economic growth 
last year was achieved mainly… as a result of unusually high economic growth in 
neighbouring states, Kazakstan in particular.” 

Because Kyrgyzstan’s prospects were dependent on the knock-on effects of 
prosperity in other economies, Orozbakov said it was unwise to take its current 
growth levels for granted.

Gulnara Mambetalieva and Tolkunbek Turdubaev are IWPR contributors in 

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