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'High Political Motivation at March 27 Protests'
Interview with Bakyr Beshimov, a leader of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan
Ryskeldi Satkeev (ryskeldi64)     Print Article 
Published 2009-03-30 10:53 (KST)   

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Ryskeldi Satkeev: What was the outcome of the March 27 United Opposition protests?

Bakyt Beshimov: I wish to emphasize that the desire of the Kyrgyz people to freedom and democracy continues to be a hope for all progressive forces in Central Asia. Sooner or later neighbouring nations go our ways but they are taking Kyrgyz experience already. Political opposition to the proposed aim to organize rallies throughout the country with joint efforts, to discuss the current political situation and to see how people support the opposition plans. In general we could hold meetings as scheduled despite the fact that our activists in Osh city, Talas, Alay and Kara-Kulja regions were arrested by police. Proposals on how to establish the Central Election Commission's structure by all district electoral formula 50 by 50, i.e. 50 of the opposition and 50 from the current government along with reorganizing 8 law enforcement agencies plus an equal access to the national TV and radio channels which was supported by the protesters unanimously. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of the demonstrators demanded current President [Kurmanbek] Bakiev's candidacy withdrawal from the elections.

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Has the opposition union decided on the unified candidacy from the party?

The meeting warmly endorsed the decision of the opposition to the election on unified movement and one candidate.

Yes, this decision all consider to be the most reasonable approach.

What is your perspective on President Bakiev's next move?

The current president has two ways to go. The first line is a structural policy aimed at finding a compromise and setting reasonable dialogue. Past demonstrations provided an important chance for the government to support this policy. We can say their position was strengthened by the protesters and now if they can have a significant impact on the adoption of important public decision-making process the country can go on a more predictable and stable path.

But, there is a second line of the policy which is a violent repression. Rallies have shown that the authors of this policy can't be right and more dangerous for the nation as well as for the President. There is no better way permanently discredit the presidents credibility among the population and especially grip than the efforts of the Bakiev's current administration. The people as rallies has showed us already retreated from the shock of a recent abductions and killings so it moved across the fear line. We saw many people ready for decisive actions. Therefore the most constructive approach for the government is a completely new paradigm for relations with the opposition parties and the people. Sharply positive attitude by the president and the government could correct the situation. The main thing needs to be considered the opposition even the radical one must have a constructive dialogue with the government. In connection with this parliamentary fraction SDPK (Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan) issued a statement to the authorities on dialogue but not repressions.

Were there attempts to destabilize the situation by the authorities during the demonstrations?

Everywhere. But they felt the mentality of the people so they hesitated to use their normal means and understood the force wouldn't help them moreover it would be counterproductive. In addition, we have found people responded to provocations. There were directives that any provocateurs must be brought to the light of justice.

People have photographed, identified and collected materials on police officers, government security agents for consideration and accountability. I have heard many times from people saying "as after 2005 there will not be impunity and we no longer tolerate it." People are right. Impunity corrupts society. That is a signal to all government officials.

Foreign news agencies closely monitor the political processes in Kyrgyzstan including the press of neighbouring states as China and Russia. Do you think Kyrgyzstan has become a collision arena for geopolitical interests of Russia, China and the United States?

The mistake made by President Bakiev on airbase Manas paved the way for the development of such a script - transformation of Kyrgyzstan in to the spot of the interests for powerful states and not only mentioned countries but also for different radical movements as well. The country's leadership made this unfortunate move because of a desperate financial / economic situation. They are waiting for Russian investments in order to save the presidency. An announcement of the election which is planned for July 23 means an attempt to disrupt the spring agricultural work cycle and tourist season. Also it is taking measures to strengthen the authoritarian rule while increasing tensions in the society as well as applying violence which has happened in the southern town of Nookat -- i.e. all its eggs put in one basket. System errors encourage the authorities to put Kyrgyzstan on a very dangerous path.

In terms of theory and practice of the small countries security the best option is to establish and maintain multilateral relations and balance of forces. Biased one side or hit strong dependence on strong country could bring a risk and have negative consequences. For instance, look at the South Korea's and Japan's systems of national security neighbouring with North Korea and China or as small European countries under the umbrella of NATO. It is clear that current leadership has not put any reasonable strategy on Kyrgyz national security.

In your interview to a recently closed newspaper named "Lizza," you indicated that Bakiev's PR managers are the same people who contributed to the Russian President Vladimir Putin's past election campaign. Do you think these PR specialists were designated by the Kremlin to strengthen a lost position in Central Asia?

There are two aspects in your question. The first on Russia and the second on the role of the PR technologies. Russia will seek to strengthen its influence in Central Asia. Therefore, Kyrgyzstan should build mutually beneficial relations with Russia. If Russia is interested in Kyrgyzstan then we should use this benefit. Today, in my view, financial and economic situation in Russia could not ensure fully its geopolitical ambitions so it is important to strengthen relations with Russia throughout the format of interests but Kyrgyz interests are always first without any risks for us.

As far as foreign PR makers concerned to them it is important to earn money so they don't really care about Kyrgyzstan. It is dangerous to allow them to make important public decisions especially with the election process. Unfortunately, our country has become the place for different international adventurers from the beginning of independence in the fault of both presidents.

I don't understand why these people should be imposing their vision on Kyrgyz nation. The president's speech should be clear and understood by all and they should come from the underlying foundations, world view and philosophy of the Kyrgyz. Policy of the president shall represent the alloy and modernism then it will work on the unity of the nation. The last public speech given by the president is far from reality.

Judging from the local and foreign press publications protests went peacefully without complications. How does the opposition intend to monitor the progress in further demonstrations if the authorities provoke them as in 2007?

The March 27th protests demonstrated a high political culture but the authorities were intended to create a chaos. The opposition held despite the obstacles very cultural peaceful meetings and support from people. This day showed two things: increased level of political culture of opposition turning it into a serious political force as well as the backwardness of the authorities, the lack of its dialogue with the opposition.

How difficult it is for opposition party members to work outside the main cities and in the regions?

The work is much more difficult in the regions, particularly in the South. Events on March 27 show that the regional map continues to be a main card for a specific group in power. The more they try to establish full control over the South, the sooner the population will be prepared to challenge them. Apparently they didn't explain it to the PR foreign managers that a fear is not going to work and it could be a "carvings foiled" consequence of which is a public protest. They are underestimating the Kyrgyz mentality. Bribery is also a temporary phenomenon along with taking gifts, people will certainly be interested in "from where those givers came from and what's the reason."

Ancient wisdom says "be afraid of the corrupted giving gifts." The force of the authorities is in truth and justice. Wisdom.

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©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ryskeldi Satkeev

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