On Monday, 76-year-old former Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, previously wanted on corruption charges, arrived to Bishkek. The State Committee for National Security (GKNB) of Kyrgyzstan announced the arrival of the former head of state with the wording “was delivered.” However, it does not correspond to reality and looks “disgusting and vile,” said political scientist and expert on Central Asia, Arkady Dubnov, with whom The Insider spoke.
The head of the State Committee for National Security, Kamchybek Tashiev, knows very well that Akayev was not delivered, that he returned to the country voluntarily, responding to the invitation of the President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov. Askar Akayev will not be tried at home. During the negotiations, which took place in July with the participation of representatives of the President of Kyrgyzstan, Akayev was given appropriate guarantees of non-persecution and protection. The only thing is that he will be asked to testify on Kumtor.
The Kumtor case is especially important for Japarov, on whose initiative Akayev returned. Previously in prison, Japarov fought to nationalize the Kumtor gold mine by recording video messages and maintaining social media accounts. Largely due to this, he became so popular.
Akayev’s return to the country is connected with the growing tension in Kyrgyzstan, caused by the discontent of the northern clans. These are circumstances that are quite usual for Kyrgyzstan, when those who came to power in the country are associated with the northern or southern clan. This time, Japarov formally represents the interests of the Issyk-Kul region, which can probably be attributed to the north, but he came to power with Kamchybek Tashiev, a prominent representative of the southern clans, who now chairs the State Committee for National Security.
Rumors spread around the country rather quickly that the main in this tandem was not the president, which caused discontent among the northern clans, who are now consolidating their forces and resources. There are fears that in late summer – early autumn in the country, as it regularly happens in Kyrgyzstan, protests may start again. In this situation, Japarov reasonably believes that now it is necessary to make gestures that will attract authoritative representatives of the northern clans to his side <Akayev – a native of the north of the country – The Insider>. To show that this rumor is wrong and that he does not represent the southern clans.
In general, it was high time to return to the country the first president, thanks to whom Kyrgyzstan achieved success in the humanization of public administration and democratization. Akayev is already an elderly man, he is 76 years old. Until now, he was not allowed to return, even to say goodbye to his deceased brother, and this was very ugly.
That being said, for Akaev, things could still change. In Kyrgyzstan, the situation with the administration is not so straightforward to assert that Japarov or someone else can fully guarantee the safety of the ex-president, concluded Arkady Dubnov.
Askar Akayev has been the President of the Kyrgyz SSR since 1990, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union he became the President of Kyrgyzstan. He held this position until the March 2005 Tulip Revolution. Then Akayev was removed from power and he went abroad.
Askar Akayev, along with other former high-ranking officials, was prosecuted on corruption charges during the conclusion of a general agreement on the project of the country’s largest gold mine, Kumtor, in 1992, amending it in 1994, as well as during the restructuring of the general agreement with by the Canadian company Cameco in 2003. It was she who was engaged in gold mining.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, in the period from 1992 to 2019, certain officials and management of Kyrgyzaltyn OJSC, “creating an illegal and stable relationship” with representatives of the Canadian company Cameco, Centerra Gold Inc., as well as CJSC Kumtor Operating Company and CJSC Kumtor Gold Company ”,“ in order to illegally obtain material and other benefits, they entered into agreements that were obviously unfavorable for Kyrgyzstan on the development of the Kumtor gold deposit.
The current president of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, worked as a policeman in the 1990s. He entered big politics after the Tulip Revolution, becoming a member of parliament. Since 2012, Japarov has advocated the nationalization of the Kumtor gold mine in his native Issyk-Kul region. He also accused his management company of environmental violations and corruption.
In the same year, the Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case against Japarov. He was accused of fraud in connection with the illegal privatization of a building in Bishkek. However, the parliament did not allow Japarov to be deprived of his immunity. Later, after an opposition rally for the nationalization of Kumtor, Japarov was accused of attempting to seize power and sentenced to 1.5 years in prison. Then the verdict was overturned.
In 2013, amid new criminal prosecutions, Japarov left for Poland. After 4 years, he returned to his homeland and was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison on charges of organizing mass riots. In October 2020, protesters in Kyrgyzstan secured the release of Sadyr Japarov, who became first prime minister and then president of the country.