politicians claim serious irregularities marred July 23 poll.  By Timur 
Toktonaliev in Bishkek (RCA No. 585, 28-Jul-09)

motives for offering to station troops close to its borders.  By Timur 
Toktonaliev in Bishkek (RCA No. 585, 30-Jul-09)

**** NEW 

2009 KYRGYZ ELECTION UPDATES: http://iwpr.net/kyrgyzelection09 

??????? ????????????? ??????? ? ??????????? – 2009:  

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

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

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER at http://twitter.com/iwpr 


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 



Monitors and opposition politicians claim serious irregularities marred July 23 

By Timur Toktonaliev in Bishkek 

Voting irregularities have been alleged by local and international 
organisations and the opposition in the re-election last week of Kyrgyz 
president Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Bakiev, leader of the ruling Ak Jol party, was re-elected with 76.12 per cent 
of the votes in the July 23 poll, according to final figures from the Central 
Electoral Commission, CEC. 

His re-election comes in very different circumstances from his first victory in 
March 2005 when he became president on the wave of the so-called Tulip 
revolution, a popular uprising that ousted the then president Askar Akaev. 

Since then Bakiev – a former opposition leader – has gone on to strengthen his 
authority. He pushed for a new constitution in a referendum in 2007, curtailing 
the power of the parliament in favour of his own.

Some of his alienated former associates joined the opposition camp and in 
November 2008 set up an umbrella group, the United People’s Movement, UPM, with 
the aim of ousting Bakiev. 

Bakiev’s main opponent, Almazbek Atambaev, the leader of the Social Democratic 
Party and nominated by the UPM, came second with just 8.41 per cent of the 

The other four candidates scored about ten per cent of the total vote. Temir 
Sariev, the leader of Ak Shumkar party, was third with 6.74 per cent and 
Toktaim Umetalieva came fourth with 1.14 per cent.

The leader of the Joomart Patriotic Movement and co-leader of the Kyrgyz Muslim 
Union, Nurlan Motuev, scored only 0.93 per cent and Jenishbek Nazaraliev, a 
doctor specialising in treating drug users, took sixth place with only 0.83 per 

According to the CEC, the turnout was 79.1 per cent of the 2.7 million eligible 
to vote. The population is five million.

Rights groups and international organisations criticised the conduct of the 
election, alleging vote-rigging and other irregularities. They also criticised 
new regulations that introduced voting on a working day – polls were previously 
held at the weekend – the recognition of a driving licence for voter 
identification and dropping the use of indelible ink to mark voters.

Critics say voting on a weekday enables the authorities to bus public sector 
workers to the polls en masse; allowing the use of the driving licence weakens 
identity checks; and not using ink marking increases the risk of multiple 

Around 10,000 local and 516 international observers monitored the presidential 
election, according to the CEC. Their preliminary findings were published the 
day after the election on July 24.

The Union of Civic Organisations, UCO, said that the election was held with 
“massive violations” which included ballot-box stuffing, the failure on the 
part of electoral committee members to provide election minutes to the UCO 
observers, and “the use of administrative resource in favour of one of the 

In its letter to the CEC, the UCO said that elections should be held at the 
weekend, the ink-marking of voters’ fingers should be resumed, the list of 
identification documents should be reduced, and photo- and video-coverage 
should be allowed during the voting and the vote count. 

The UCO representatives said all the violations will be reported to the CEC. 

Observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, 
said in their preliminary report that the election “again fell short of key 
standards Kyrgyzstan has committed to as a participating state of the OSCE”. 

“We have concluded that sadly the election did not show the progress we were 
hoping for . . . The conduct of the election on the voting day was a 
disappointment,” said Radmila Sekerinska, the head of the OSCE observer mission.

“The election day was characterised by many problematic issues and violations, 
including ballot-box stuffing, mistakes in voters’ lists, and some evidence 
that some people voted several times. The process has deteriorated during the 
vote count and summing up of the vote,” said the interim report. 

In its preliminary report, the European Network of Election Monitoring 
Organisations, ENEMO, found similar violations.

The CEC did not deny that there were some irregularities during the election. 
However, its representatives said that these were minor and did not affect 
election results. 

Kudaybergen Bazarbaev, who heads the CEC administration, told IWPR, “Any 
election process may include some mistakes. The CEC decisions are governed by 
the law and facts.

“Anyone can point out flaws. We do not work with anonymous complaints.”

Bakiev’s election team disagreed with the critics, saying the election was 
legitimate and fair despite some minor violations.

“There have been no grave and massive violations during the election that could 
impact the final election results,” said the first deputy chairman of the Ak 
Jol party, Tabyldy Orozaliev. 

“Bakiev’s convincing victory shows that people trust the president,” Ulugbek 
Ormonov, the head of the Ak Jol faction in parliament, said.

Other candidates’ observers and local groups are still sending their complaints 
about violations to the CEC. 

According to CEC member Alexey Eliseev, the CEC has received about 100 appeals, 
all of which would be given proper consideration. 

All six candidates, except Bakiev and Motuev, were critical of the election. 

Atambaev, Bakiev’s former prime minister, called the election “illegitimate” 
and promised to start protests on July 29. His election team said the poll was 
held with “unprecedented violations” and “falsifications”. 

According to Bakyt Beshimov, who heads Atambaev’s election team, the Social 
Democrats held their own exit poll on the election day, which indicated that 
Atambaev was winning the election with 60.6 per cent, while Bakiev was losing 
with 25.1 per cent. 

The candidate from the Ak Shumkar party, Temir Sariev, who earlier left the 
UPM, questioned the fairness of the vote count, although his comments were not 
as strong as that of the UPM representatives. 

“We have had a unique chance, we wanted to take part in fair election. But I 
can say that there has not been a fair election,” said Sariev. 

Toktaim Umetalieva, who heads the Association of Non-Commercial and 
Non-Government Organisations, said the turnout was actually much lower – about 
60 per cent – than the 80 per cent reported by the CEC. 

Despite reassurances by the CEC that it will deal with complaints, Atambaev’s 
social democrats are planning countrywide protests on July 29 to claim that 
votes were cast for him but not counted.

On July 23, immediately after polls closed, Atambaev and Nazaraliev held a 
concert and rally near Atambaev’s office. The event lasted just two hours after 
the minister of the interior, Moldomusa Kongantiev, said that unauthorised 
meetings would be prevented from taking place. 

Both analysts and the president’s supporters doubt that people are in the mood 
to protest. Some are busy working, those who are on holiday are not interested 
and some will fear getting in trouble with police, they say. 

Ormonov said people will not support Atambaev because of his refusal to take 
part in the election on polling day. 

“They campaigned with great commitment but then he abandoned them. I think 
people will not go,” Ormonov said.

Political analysts believe that people are unlikely to support the opposition, 
as Bakiev’s political strategists did a good job in persuading the electorate 
to vote for him by increasing salaries and pensions and creating jobs. 

According to political scientist Mars Sariev, the situation has changed from 
March 2005. The public’s negative sentiment towards Bakiev is as strong as 
their dislike of Akaev, who ruled the country for 15 years, he said.

In addition, Sariev said, Bakiev’s circle will find ways to calm down his 
opponents and even to buy them out. 

“Political strategists will try to engage [opposition members], offer some 
posts, probably change the government, and elect the new parliament,” Sariev 
said. “I do not know how much the opposition will be able to withstand the 

Timur Toktonaliev is an IWPR-trained contributor.


Uzbekistan fears Moscow’s motives for offering to station troops close to its 

By Timur Toktonaliev in Bishkek 

Russian plans to open a second military base in Kyrgyzstan are being seen as a 
challenge to neighbouring Uzbekistan, which regards itself as the dominant 
power in the region. 

Tashkent is clearly unhappy about a scheme which would see a highly mobile 
force of foreign troops stationed close to its border in the unstable Fergana 

Moscow’s existing military facility at Kant in northern Kyrgyzstan is used for 
combat aircraft and is seen as a counterbalance to the United States airbase 
located only a few kilometers away. 

The new one, if it came into being, would be located far to the south, near the 
Kyrgyz border with Uzbekistan. 

Formally, the force deployed there would, like the Kant airbase, come under the 
Collective Security Treaty Organisation, CSTO, a post-Soviet security grouping 
that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well 
as Russia and Kyrgyzstan. 

The CSTO already has a joint force for rapid deployment, but in February 2009, 
members agreed to a Russian proposal to create a more powerful military 
formation, the Collective Rapid-Reaction Force, consisting of 20,000 soldiers 
drawn from CSTO states with armoured units and artillery. It is this new force 
that would have a presence in southern Kyrgyzstan. 

When the CSTO signed an agreement on the new force on June 14, Uzbekistan and 
Belarus refrained from doing so. 

Rumours that southern Kyrgyzstan was under consideration as one location for 
the CSTO troops started circulating after a July 7 meeting between President 
Kurmanbek Bakiev and Russia’s deputy prime minister Igor Sechin and defence 
minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Neither government would confirm that the base was 
discussed at these talks, but on July 29 the Russian news agency RIA Novosti 
quoted Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko as saying, "Everything has 
been agreed, in principle." 

Speaking ahead of a CSTO meeting in the Kyrgyz resort town of Cholpon Ata 
scheduled for July 31, Prikhodko stressed, "In essence, this is not a Russian 
base. These are efforts in line with CSTO plans to set up a joint 
rapid-reaction force." 

In interviews for the New York Times and Reuters news agency in mid-July, 
President Bakiev described the proposal in slightly different terms, as a 
Russian-Kyrgyz counter-terrorism centre that would be used for training 

Analysts in Kyrgyzstan offer a variety of reasons why Moscow might want to take 
on a second military commitment in Kyrgyzstan. 

One obvious explanation is continuing concern over continuing violence in 
Afghanistan, and the possible spill-over of Islamic insurgency into Central 
Asia. Such concerns will have been increased by recent violence in Tajikistan, 
which lies between Afghan territory and the Kyrgyz south; and before that in 
Uzbekistan. (On the Tajik unrest, see Taming Tajikistan’s Eastern Valleys, RCA 
No. 584, 23-Jul-09, and Chasing Phantoms in the Tajik Mountains, RCA No. 581, 
24-Jun-09; and on the attacks in Uzbekistan in late May, Andijan Attackers’ 
Identity Still Unclear, News Briefing Central Asia, 27-May-09.) 

The Kyrgyz perception that security needs to be bolstered on its southern 
periphery is understandable, given the recent history of this part of the 
country, from incursions by guerrillas from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan 
in 1999-2000, to clashes between police and suspected militants this year 
(reported by IWPR in Upsurge in Militant Presence in Kyrgyzstan, RCA No. 582, 

Logically, this is an area where Bishkek and Tashkent should share a common 
interest. But the Uzbeks are wary of any external power taking up residence 
near their borders. 

While the Uzbek government has not formally commented on the planned location 
of the base, an anonymous senior official told the RIA Novosti that “Tashkent 
categorically objects to new foreign military bases being established in 
neighbouring states”. 

Meanwhile, an Uzbek foreign ministry press release issued four days after the 
June 14 meeting contained implicit criticism of the terms under which the 
rapid-reaction force had been conceived. 

It stressed that the purpose of CSTO joint military action must only be to 
respond to threats emanating from outside member states, rather than to help 
deal with internal strife, and added that any decision to intervene must be by 
a consensus among members. 

Mars Sariev, a political analyst in Kyrgyzstan, suspects that the talk of 
stationing troops near the Uzbek border is no more than a tactical ploy 
designed to make Tashkent more compliant with Russia’s wishes, specifically to 
force it to sign up to the Collective Rapid-Reaction Force. 

“It’s creating an arena for talks with Uzbekistan – a new base as an instrument 
by which the CSTO can pressure Uzbekistan into accepting the rapid-reaction 
force. If that happens, it’s possible the base will then recede as an issue,” 
said Sariev, who regards the issue as a “diplomatic battle between Russian and 
Uzbekistan, with Kyrgyzstan merely used as the weapon of choice”. 

Farhod Tolipov, a political analyst from Tashkent, sees the entire project as 
misconceived, especially if it is intended as a threat to Uzbekistan, which has 
never done anything so offensive to Moscow as to warrant this kind of tactic. 

“As it tries to exert its influence, Russia is more liable to exacerbate 
problems by introducing a military dimension. Influence needs to be exerted by 
political methods, diplomacy and negotiations,” he said. “Uzbekistan has never 
displayed hostile intentions towards Russia or other members of the 
Commonwealth of Independent States or the CSTO. If it holds back in certain 
areas, especially when it comes to defence, that doesn’t mean it has turned its 
back on the [CSTO] organisation or on Russia itself.” 

For the moment, the future of the CSTO base in the south appears to have little 
bearing on relations between Kyrgyzstan and another great power, the United 

Visiting Bishkek, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William 
Burns told a July 12 press conference that this was entirely a matter for 

“Any step that strengthens the sovereignty, independence and security of 
Kyrgyzstan is a sensible one,” he said. 

The issue of a second Russian base might have had more resonance earlier in the 
year, when it seemed the Kyrgyz authorities were about to evict the Americans 
from their air base outside Bishkek, However, in early July a new agreement was 
signed under which the base is re-designated as a freight transit hub but 
basically stays in place. (See US Base in Kyrgyzstan Renamed but Remains, RCA 
No. 581, 26-Jun-09.) 

Timur Toktonaliev is an IWPR-trained journalist in Kyrgyzstan. 

**** 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; Central 
Asia Editor: Saule Mukhametrakhimova.

IWPR PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT: Executive Director: Anthony Borden; Head 
of Programmes: Niall MacKay; Head of Strategy: 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:  

This electronic mail message and any attached files are intended solely for the 
named recipients and may contain confidential and proprietary business 
information of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) and its 
affiliates. If you are not the named addressee, you should not disseminate, 
distribute or copy this e-mail.

Institute for War & Peace Reporting. 48 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8LT, UK. 
Registered with charitable status in the United Kingdom (charity reg. no: 
1027201, company reg. no: 2744185); the United States under IRS Section 
501(c)(3);  The Netherlands as a charitable foundation; and South Africa under 
Section 21.

Reply via email to