Monday, June 21, 2010

Feliks Kulov: Russian Troops Needed in Kyrgyzstan

The former Prime Minister spoke about the Kyrgyz situation with Russia Today:
RT: The interim government is calling to external forces, including Russia, to provide peacekeepers to come to Kyrgyzstan. What kind of outcome would that have?

FK: Not only is it possible. We need it to happen. In order to achieve stability we would need forces that would, at least in some areas, hold back the armed groups allowing our own law enforcement to neutralize them. These armed groups are a real threat to peace in the region. The peacekeepers do not have to take part in military operations. They would only be there to secure certain objects, areas and settlements. There would be no threat to the country’s sovereignty. Some people say Kyrgyzstan would lose its independence if peacekeepers came in. This is nonsense. I can cite an example from 1990. I was a superintendent then. And in that case peacekeepers helped us gain sovereignty by preserving peace. So a peacekeeping operation, I think, would be an important prerequisite for maintaining our sovereignty.

RT: The CSTO have agreed to send vehicles and fuel to Kyrgyzstan. But as for the peacekeepers – they are not sending them now. Do you think that if the situation gets any worse their opinion would change?

FK: I think they don’t yet have enough information to make that decision. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has said the CSTO’s actions will have to be harsh but remain within the framework of the law, using the measures that CSTO member states have at their disposal. This makes me optimistic. I think peacekeepers can be brought in under certain conditions. It would be one of the main conditions for peace. I do not view the CSTO’s answer as a refusal to bring in peacekeeping forces.

RT: What are the differences between what is happening now and what was happening five years ago during the Tulip Revolution in 2005?

FK: The motives were probably the same. People objected to a single family clan governing the country. A lot of people spoke against it openly. I had to make a statement about it when the president’s son was appointed head of the Central Agency. I officially called that a risky step. The president endangered a lot of things by putting his son in power. At the same time, if his son had been unable to fulfill the duties of Central Agency director that would lead to the collapse of the whole Bakiyev clan. This was my official position. A lot of people expressed their opinions about it back then, but the general message was always the same: if the family government continues to grow it will lead the country to a downfall. That was what happened.

It was one of the reasons, one of the main causes of aggravation. There had to be a background for it of course. If the country had been flourishing the people may have put up with it. But since the people were poor and this family had the huge influence it had. It became a very negative factor.

RT: Some say that the violence we are seeing now is a struggle for power and money without any ideology at stake. What is your opinion on that?