World media reported just yesterday that opposition lawmaker Ishenbai Kadyrbekov had been appointed interim president by Parliament following the ouster of Kyrgyzstan’s long-ruling strongman Askar Akayev in a popular uprising. But on March 25, AP reports that a better-known opposition figure with a questionable past, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, has been named interim president—and prime minister. Reads the report:
Kurmanbek Bakiyev emerged from the Parliament building and said he had been named acting prime minister and president.
"Freedom has finally come to us," Bakiyev told a crowd in the capital, Bishkek.
Meanwhile, Akayev, in hiding, released a statement via Internet rejecting the power transfer as illegitimate:
"An unconstitutional coup d’etat has been staged in Kyrgyzstan," said Akayev, who ruled the country for 15 years.
"My current stay outside the country is temporary," the statement said. "Rumors of my resignation are deliberate, malicious lies."
Felix Kulov, another prominent opposition leader who had formerly been close to Akayev, has apparently been named to head the security forces—which are busy putting down looters in Bishkek, the capital.
The article made no mention of what happened to Kadyrbekov’s appointment—or the fact that Bakiyev was implicated in a massacre of opposition protesters in 2002, and Kulov was architect of an unpopular austerity program (as we noted yesterday).
Does anyone out there have a clue what is going on here? And was this murky revolution instrumented (or aided) by either Washington or Moscow—which both have troops in Kyrgyzstan? Or have events in Kyrgyzstan (for better or worse) taken on an internal dynamic outside the influence of foreign intrigues? (C’mon, it’s possible, isn’t it?)