POLITICIAN’S MURDER SHAKES KYRGYZSTAN  Police say investigation is looking at 
all possible motives for the shooting of parliamentarian Sanjarbek Kadyraliev.  
By Anara Yusupova and Ayday Tokonova in Bishkek

financial model that some argue offers lower risks to borrowers.  By Asyl 
Osmonalieva in Bishkek

KAZAK POLICE FOIL ANTI-NUCLEAR DEMO  Activists oppose plan for Kazakstan to 
play host to enriched uranium stocks for the international community.  By 
Aygerim Beysenbaeva in Almaty

**** NEW 

NEW VACANCIES AVAILABLE http://iwpr.net/vacancies 

KURT SCHORK AWARDS: 2009 CALL FOR ENTRIES http://iwpr.net/kurtschork09 

BECOME A FAN OF IWPR ON FACEBOOK: http://iwpr.net/facebook 


CENTRAL ASIA RADIO: http://iwpr.net/centralasiaradio

CENTRAL ASIA PROGRAMME HOME: http://iwpr.net/centralasia 

IWPR COMMENT: http://iwpr.net/comment 


**** www.iwpr.net 

REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA RSS: http://www.iwpr.net/en/rca/rss.xml 

RECEIVE FROM IWPR: Readers are urged to subscribe to IWPR's full range of free 
electronic publications at: http://iwpr.net/subscribe 

GIVE TO IWPR: IWPR is wholly dependent upon grants and donations. For more 
information about how you can support IWPR go to: http://iwpr.net/donate 

**** www.iwpr.net 


Police say investigation is looking at all possible motives for the shooting of 
parliamentarian Sanjarbek Kadyraliev.

By Anara Yusupova and Ayday Tokonova in Bishkek

The murder of a member of Kyrgyzstan’s parliament has set nerves further on 
edge in an already febrile political atmosphere as the country heads for a 
presidential election this July.

Sanjarbek Kadyraliev, 32, was killed outside his home on April 14. According to 
Kyrgyzstan’s interior ministry, an unidentified lone gunman shot him once in 
the back of the head. 

Kadyraliev was a member of the governing Ak Jol party, which has a massive 
majority in parliament and has close ties with President Kurmanbek Bakiev. 

His murder comes a month after the political establishment was shaken by the 
death of leading politician Medet Sadyrkulov in a car accident. 

The assassination is the first time an MP has been murdered since 2005, when 
there were three in a row in the months that followed the largely peaceful 
revolution of March that year, which brought the current president Kurmanbek 
Bakiev to power. 

Police investigators say they are mainly focusing on the MP’s public life as a 
politician, but are not ruling out the possibility that the murder had 
something to do with his business activities, or that it was simply a criminal 

Interior ministry spokesman Bakyt Seyitov told IWPR that political and business 
leads were being followed up simply because the dead man had been an MP and 
before that a businessman. He said he wanted to make it clear that while police 
were looking at the possibility the underworld was involved in the murder, 
there was no implication that Kadyraliev had himself had criminal connections. 

Kadyraliev’s fellow party members have expressed regret at his death. 

Ulukbek Ormonov, who heads Ak Jol’s parliamentary group, praised his late 
colleague for being a “very promising young MP”. 

Ormonov urged the media to refrain from reporting negative things about 
Kadyraliev’s past until his funeral was over. 

Kubanychbek Isabekov, another Ak Jol legislators, described his late colleague 
as a “sociable” and “harmless” character who enjoyed sport. 

Commentators outside the party suggest the late MP was more of a businessman 
than a politician. 

Political scientist Toktogul Kakchekeev notes that Kadyraliev was not a 
particularly high-profile MP, and he doubts a connection can be made with the 
forthcoming presidential election, in which Bakiev is standing for a second 

Nor do the analysts interviewed by IWPR draw parallels with the car crash that 
killed Sadyrkulov a month ago. Police have said his death was an accident, and 
reject claims from some opposition leaders that it was a political 
assassination. (See Kyrgyz Politician’s Death Widens Opposition-Government 
Gulf, RCA No. 570, 16-Mar-09.) 

Sadyrkulov had been President Bakiev’s chief of staff until he resigned in 
January, after which he is believed to have put out feelers to the opposition. 

Investigators have made little progress in the case of another politician, 
Ruslan Shabatoev, a parliamentarian from the opposition Social Democrats, who 
disappeared without trace at the end of September. 

Prior to that, the last major assaults on parliamentarians occurred in the 
summer and autumn of 2005, starting with the shooting in broad daylight of 
Jyrgalbek Surabaldiev in June, the killing of Bayaman Erkinbaev, the MP 
previously involved in a clash with Kadyraliev supporters, and the death of 
Tynychbek Akmatbaev during a visit to a prison in October. (See Pro-Akaev 
Politician Gunned Down in Kyrgyzstan; Politician’s Murder Rocks Kyrgyzstan; and 
Prison Riot Sparks Political Row in Kyrgyzstan, on the Surabaldiev, Erkinbaev 
and Akmatbaev murders, respectively.) 

Following the death of Kadyraliev, just as after the three killings in 2005, 
Kyrgyzstan has been swirling with talk of the linkages between organised crime 
and the world of politics, which many people believe proliferated after the 
March revolution and led to an increase in violence. 

“The criminal world and [political] power go hand in hand, and that is regarded 
as being in the order of things,” said Tashbolot Baltabaev, a leading member of 
the opposition party Ata Meken. “So the shootouts and contract killings will 

Political analyst Zholbors Zhorobekov cautions against making over-hasty 
judgements on this specific case. 

“The moment something unpleasant happens in Kyrgyzstan…. The opposition are 
pleased since they get a chance to criticise the authorities,” he said. “The 
same thing is happening with Kadyraliev’s death. Some politicians immediately 
began making capital out of the idea that the authorities are connected with 
the criminal world, or that Kadyraliev himself comes from that world.” 

Zhorobekov called on such government critics to show restraint and avoid 
“scoring political points on the back of a tragedy”. 

The Kyrgyzstan parliament has summoned the security services to report on 
progress on the Kadyraliev murder on April 17. 

Anara Yusupova and Ayday Tokonova are pseudonyms used by reporters in 


New law offers a financial model that some argue offers lower risks to 

By Asyl Osmonalieva in Bishkek

Supporters of Islamic banking say it offers a viable alternative to the 
conventional financial mechanisms used in Kyrgyzstan in these uncertain 
economic times. 

Opponents, however, say granting approval to practices borrowed from the 
Islamic world is a worrying sign as it suggests this Central Asian state is 
losing sight of the secular principles on which it is founded .

After a three-year pilot project, the Kyrgyz parliament passed legislation on 
March 31 this year enabling any bank to apply the principles of Islamic finance 
if it so wishes. 

Instead of a model where the lender assumes financial risk in return for 
interest on loans, the idea is that banks and their clients form a partnership 
and share the profits. Interest rates are prohibited under Islamic law’s 
proscription of usury, and money cannot be lent to venture that go against 
religious principles, such as selling alcohol or encouraging gambling.

“In this case, the bank is a partner that shares profits and losses with the 
client, so it will back promising projects because it has an interest in the 
success of the venture,” said Timur Jusupov, deputy chair of the board of 
EcoBank, which has been offering some of its loans according to Islamic legal 
tenets since 2006, when President Kurmanbek Bakiev approved the pilot project. 

The bank’s risk manager, Alexander Strelkin, says it will switch over to 
Islamic principles completely by the end of 2010. 

Nurbek Elebaev, who chairs the board of directors of Kyrgyzstan’s stock market, 
believes that EcoBank and any others that begin applying Islamic principles 
offer the country a new mechanism for attracting funding, at a time when it is 
suffering under the impact of the global financial crisis.

Kyrgyzstan is experiencing a downturn in foreign investment, and Elebaev sees 
this as part of a wider phenomenon. 

“Countries where the Islamic banking model dominates have not been hit as hard 
by the crisis,” he said.

Although supporters of Islamic finance say it will never supplant conventional 
banking, merely complement it, and that it is simply an alternative way of 
doing business, some in Kyrgyzstan are fundamentally opposed to it because of 
its religious connotations. 

Kyrgyzstan has a Muslim majority population, but its Soviet past and its 
constitutional principles make it a firmly secular state. 

Communist Party leader Ishak Masaliev led the opposition to the Islamic banking 
bill when it was debated in parliament. He expressed fears that “we will lose 
Kyrgyzstan’s secularism” as a result.

The head of the human rights group Citizens Against Corruption, Tolekan 
Ismailova, agreed that this was a step in the wrong direction. 

“Through this move we are showing that that Kyrgyzstan’s development 
orientation is towards Muslim states,” she said. “One has to understand that 
Kyrgzstan is not a Muslim country; there are more than 80 ethnic groups living 
here. If we give precedence to one religious confession, we violate the rights 
of others and provoke a conflict of interests.”

Others, however, say Islamic finance instruments should be allowed to compete 
in the marketplace, where ideology is of lesser importance and clients will 
look for the best deals. 

“People who need loans will be guided above all by a sober calculation about 
how good the loan terms are,” said Rustam Sarybaev, PR manager for the Union of 
Banks of Kyrgyzstan. “They won’t let their decision be clouded by stereotypes.” 

Strelkin noted that one-fifth of EcoBank’s clients are non-Muslims.

Islamic banking instruments may fill gaps where it is currently hard to get a 
conventional loan in Kyrgyzstan, such as to fund a long-term project or a small 
farming business.

“Interest-free credit based on Islamic principles will stimulate the growth of 
small and medium enterprises,” said Dinara Moldosheva, a member of parliament 
from the governing party Ak Jol. “Many people who want to set up their own 
business or develop an existing one find it impossible to pay the interest on a 
loan. I’m not saying the conventional banks are in effective, but one has to 
admit they have strict rules. Islamic principles are less harsh and more 

Sarybaev said Kyrgyzstan’s banks “have no money [to lend] for the long term. 
Banks operating on Islamic principles can occupy this niche.”

According to Elebaev, the likely obstacles will range from “resistance on the 
part of some banks operating exclusively according to the traditional model” to 
“bureaucracy and red tape”.

He noted that Islamic banking had been slow to take off in Kazakstan and 
Russia, adding, “That may be related to the size of those countries. Kyrgyzstan 
is a small country and we might be able to do it more quickly and successfully.”

Asyl Osmonalieva is an IWPR-trained contributor in Bishkek.


Activists oppose plan for Kazakstan to play host to enriched uranium stocks for 
the international community.

By Aygerim Beysenbaeva in Almaty

Police in Almaty have prevented a small protest by opponents of a Kazak 
government proposal to host a “nuclear fuel bank” that would provide a secure 
supply to power stations across the world.

It was never going to be a big demonstration, just 30 or so like-minded 
representatives of non-government groups involved in human rights and similar 
areas. But it did not even get off the ground.

As they were setting out from their office for Almaty’s main square on April 
14, Bahytjan Toregojina and two of her colleagues from the rights group 
Ar.Ruh.Hak were detained by police. Seven members of the opposition party Azat 
and two journalists were picked up separately. 

All 12 were taken to a police station and released after making statements. 

However small in number, the would-be protesters had a serious point to make. 
Kazakstan renounced nuclear weapons soon after independence in 1991, and it has 
had to live with the ecological and health problems around the giant 
Semipalatinsk testing ground where over 450 atom bombs were set off by the 
Soviet authorities between 1949 and 1989.

The test site was closed down in 1991, and Kazakstan subsequently renounced the 
development and use of nuclear arms. 

Kazakstan is still a major producer of uranium for peaceful purposes – it has 
about 20 per cent of the world's ore reserves and plans to triple production to 
15,000 tonnes by the end of the decade. 

Yet other voices in Kazakstan say times have moved on, and the country’s 
uranium-extraction industry and its exemplary action on nuclear arms makes it 
the ideal location for the “fuel bank”, where stocks of enriched uranium would 
be held for the world’s nuclear reactors. 

The scheme, which would be supervised by the International Atomic Energy 
Agency, IAEA, would provide a secure and controlled source of fissile material 
for peaceful use. Countries would no longer have an excuse to develop uranium 
enrichment programmes, which carry the risk of being deployed to make warheads. 
Instead, they would simply buy fuel from the bank when they needed it.

After the IAEA first came up with the idea in 2005, Kazakstan and Russia signed 
an agreement with the agency to look at setting up a storage facility in the 
Siberian city of Irkutsk, which has a uranium enrichment plant. 

Now Kazakstan has offered its own facilities. President Nursultan Nazarbaev 
revealed the proposal when Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the 
capital Astana on April 6 that prompted Kazak NGOs into action.

“Kazakstan could consider the possibility of locating it [fuel bank] on our 
territory, as a country that has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and 
voluntarily given up nuclear weapons," he said. 

The Prague-based radio station RFE/RL reports that the Kazak authorities have 
approached the new administration of President Barack Obama in the United 
States, and that their offer is being given serious consideration. 

For opponents of the plan, the legacy of Semipalatinsk, plus the risk that the 
fuel bank will not be secure, constitute serious objections.

In a statement, the seven NGOs which planned the protest meeting said the lack 
of government transparency on issues like the nuclear one should raise 

Toregojina, who was one of the organisers of the protest, told IWPR that in 
Kazakstan, “everything can be stolen”. 

“There is no guarantee for this bank, and no guarantee that double accounting 
won’t be practiced,” she said.

In addition, she said, Kazakstan would have little control over what happened 
to enriched uranium once it left the country under IAEA auspices. 

“We will be selling fuel for nuclear energy production, but outside the gates 
[it could go] to terrorists,” she said said.

Mels Eleusizov, who heads the leading environmental group Tabigat, agreed that 
the risks are too high for Kazakstan, adding, “I think that right now, we have 
enough problems of our own.”

By contrast, Bulat Auezbaev, who heads the department for foreign policy 
research at Kazakstan’s Institute for Strategic Studies, believes the country 
has the right pedigree to host a neutral facility, and would benefit greatly 
from doing so. 

“This initiative will bring political dividends. We will advance our position 
and strengthen our non-proliferation status. And we can provide guarantees that 
the fuel will be used for peaceful purposes,” he said. “Secondly, of course 
there’s the investment. There would be start-up capital, and participating 
states would [each] have to contribute five or ten million dollars.”

“And thirdly, Kazakstan will be in a position to develop its own nuclear 
infrastructure, which would be worthwhile.”

Auezbaev acknowledged that public opinion in Kazakstan was divided on the 
issue, and that the history of weapons testing, in particular, made this a 
sensitive subject. 

“But the world doesn’t stand still, and nuclear energy is used in all 
densely-populated regions. Moreover, cheap energy helps to develop industrial 
capacity,” he said.

On the streets of Almaty, the opinions of people interviewed by IWPR reflected 
both sides of the debate. 

“Make Kazakstan a dumping ground for nuclear fuel? As if we didn’t have other 
problems,” said university student Galia.

A businessman who gave his first name as Bolatbek expressed worries about the 
security risks, saying, “I don’t want Kazakstan to become a magnet for 
terrorism. I don’t think such sites will be as securely protected as they need 
to be.”

Taxi driver Vasily, on the other hand, pointed out that this had nothing to do 
with weapons testing, and said it was crucial for the authorities to deliver a 
message to Kazakstan’s people that the plan was beneficial rather than 

Teacher Adilkhan Raev explained that public concerns about the issue came from 
Kazakstan’s recent history of divesting itself of nuclear arms and living with 
the consequences of testing.

“Anything where nuclear fuel is mentions produces an ambivalent reaction,” he 
said. “We’re still dealing with the consequences of the nuclear test site at 
Semipalatinsk. So President Nazarbaev’s initiative is not going to be warmly 
received or understood by the majority of Kazakstan’s inhabitants.”

Aygerim Beysenbaeva is an IWPR-trained journalist in Almaty.

**** www.iwpr.net 

REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA provides the international community with a unique 
insiders' perspective on the region. Using our network of local journalists, 
the service publishes news and analysis from across Central Asia on a weekly 

The service forms part of IWPR's Central Asia Project based in Almaty, Bishkek, 
Tashkent and London, which supports media development and encourages better 
local and international understanding of the region.

IWPR's Reporting Central Asia is supported by the UK Community Fund. The 
service is published online in English and Russian. 

The opinions expressed in Reporting Central Asia are those of the authors and 
do not necessarily represent those of the publication or of IWPR.

REPORTING CENTRAL ASIA: Editor-in-Chief: Anthony Borden; Managing Editor: Yigal 
Chazan; Senior Editor and Acting Central Asia Director: John MacLeod; Editor: 
Caroline Tosh; Central Asia Editor: Saule Mukhametrakhimova.

IWPR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT: Executive Director: Anthony Borden; Chief 
Programme Officer: Mike Day.

**** www.iwpr.net 

IWPR is an international network of four organisations which are governed by 
boards of senior journalists, peace-building experts, regional specialists and 
business professionals.

IWPR builds democracy at the frontlines of conflict and change through the 
power of professional journalism. IWPR programmes provide intensive hands-on 
training, extensive reporting and publishing, and ambitious initiatives to 
build the capacity of local media. Supporting peace-building, development and 
the rule of law, IWPR gives responsible local media a voice.

IWPR - Africa, P.O. Box 3317, Johannesburg 2121
Tel: +2 711 268 6077

IWPR - Europe, 48 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT, UK
Tel: +44 20 7831 1030

IWPR – United States, 1325 G Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005, 
United States
Tel: +1 202 449 7717

1515 Broadway, 11th Floor, New York, New York 10036, United States
Tel: +1 202 903 1073

Stichting IWPR Nederland, Eisenhowerlaan 77 K, 2517 KK Den Haag, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 338 9016

For further details on this project and other information services and media 
programmes, go to: www.iwpr.net 

ISSN: 1477-7924 Copyright © 2009 The Institute for War & Peace Reporting 

**** www.iwpr.net 

If you wish to change your subscription details or unsubscribe please go to:  

Reply via email to