Kyrgyzstan Prepares for Coup D'etat

The situation in Kyrgyzstan remains extremely tense. Omurbek Tekebayev, Vice Prime Minister of the interim government, stated that destructive forces were going to attempt a coup on June 22.

"Destructive forces scheduled another coup in Kyrgyzstan on June 22 ... We know who they are, but we cannot arrest them because they are still talking about peaceful protests, although we are aware of their intentions," - said Tekebayev. He noted that the organizers who want to overthrow the current leadership of the country are preparing to transfer people from the south to Bishkek. The Vice Prime Minister did not specify whether he meant the supporters of overthrown President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

According to him, now the main goal of Kyrgyzstan is to create a strong and united government. Tekebayev acknowledged that so far they have not been able to do so. The work of the coalition government is not regulated by any documents, and there are no clear rules.

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"The Interim Government consists of 14 people independent from each other. This is the strength and weakness of the interim government. We cannot agree, come to a common denominator, we do not have a focused unified policy," - said Tekebayev. He also talked about the lack of an effective system of state security, army and police. He said that the destructive forces are taking advantage of it by organizing riots and violent acts.

The Vice Prime Minister also believes that parliamentary elections should be held not in October as currently planned, but earlier. "We need to shorten the transition period in Kyrgyzstan and announce parliamentary elections in September," - said Tekebaev.

In addition, he stressed that a referendum regarding a new constitution is expected to be held as scheduled on June 27. There is no turnout requirement for the referendum. Even in the event that only a thousand people vote, the results will still be considered valid. Tekebayev referred to the fact that the Interim Government's decree regarding the referendum has no mentioning of the turnout.

Despite the coup warnings, the curfew in the south of the republic has been shortened. For example, in Jalal-Abad region people are not allowed to appear on the streets from 10pm until 6am, whereas until recently the "time of silence" started at 6pm.

A similar decision was made in the Osh region. "Due to stabilization of political situation, farming and harvesting of early crops, and numerous appeals of citizens, the commandant of the Osh region Baktybek Alymbekov ordered to reduce the curfew by three hours. Now it is set from 9pm to 6am, "- said a representative of local authorities.

At the same time, the regions release information that refutes the statements of the authorities regarding normalization of the situation in the area of the recent Kyrgyz-Uzbek ethnic conflict. Recently new clashes between local residents of Osh and law enforcement representatives took place. As a result, two people were killed and 20 injured.

Rosa Otunbayeva, the Interim President of Kyrgyzstan and head of the interim government, had to pay an urgent visit to the region. Local security officials acknowledge that, despite the curfew, some regions of Osh are still not controlled. This is puzzling: how could the officials shorten the curfew if the clashes still persisted? How could this happen if the coup was planned for June 22, according to vice-premier Tekebayev? There are only five days left until the life-changing referendum regarding the constitution.

Meanwhile, the inventory of dead and injured in the recent Kyrgyz-Uzbek ethnic clashes in Osh and Jalal-Abad regions continues. According to recent reports, at least 214 people fell victims of those events, and over two thousand people have asked for medical assistance. Many people staying in hospital are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, the interim government of the republic said that the death toll may actually be much more significant. A few days ago, Rosa Otunbayeva named a figure of 2,000 people. Today, Security Council Secretary Alec Orozo released even more horrifying details. In his words, the number of victims of the collision could reach 2.5 thousand.

Vice-Premier Azimbek Beknazarov said today that riots were not triggered from outside. He said that the supporters of the overthrown President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the leader of the Uzbek community in Kyrgyzstan Kadyrjan Batyrov stand behind these riots. Beknazarov believes that organizers of violent acts intend to enhance people’s distrust to the authorities in the south on the eve of the referendum.

The threat of the coup may not become a reality. Such statements are made several times a week, and sometimes several times a day. Yet, there is no doubt that Sunday's referendum regarding a new Constitution of Kyrgyzstan will be held in a very tense atmosphere.

Vadim Trukhachev

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov