Economy

Russia abandons agreement to help fund key Kyrgyz economic sector

By Kanat Altynbayev

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A medic checks passersby's temperatures at a checkpoint set up outside Bishkek April 1, as the city is on lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. [Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP]

BISHKEK -- Russia is refusing to allow the release of $260 million (19.9 billion KGS) to Kyrgyzstan from the joint Russian-Kyrgyz Development Fund (RKFR), putting a key Kyrgyz economic sector in jeopardy.

The fund, established in 2014 by the two countries, is "the most important mechanism of the integration of the Kyrgyz Republic into the Eurasian Economic Union [EEU]," according to its website.

Its supposed purpose is to finance sectors of Kyrgyzstan's economy that are essential and in need of support.

However, Russia is refusing to transfer the remaining $260 million of the Russian-Kyrgyz Development Fund to Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Erkin Asrandiyev said at a parliamentary session on May 12, 24.kg reported.

Those funds instead were placed in securities in the Russian market.

"We sent a letter at the end of March. At the end of April, we had an RKFR session. Our two ministers participated and raised the question," said Asrandiyev.

"On May 8, they raised the question pointedly. There is an intergovernmental commission there [in the RKFR]. Unfortunately, our colleagues from Russia oppose it. We are now preparing additional justification for receiving the funds," he said.

Those funds could become loans to Kyrgyz farmers with 4 or 5% annual interest, said Ziyadin Jamaldinov, a member of parliament, at the May 12 session.

"Currently, only 7,000 farmers are receiving loans," he said, without giving the total number of eligible farmers.

Russia's decision angers Bishkek

The Russian refusal comes as Kyrgyzstan is in dire need of financing for vital sectors such as agriculture to ensure food security amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"This is another indication of Russia's unfriendly policy," said Ayan Ryskulov, a producer of dried fruits from Bishkek. "Russia, at an official level within the Eurasian Economic Union that it co-ordinates, makes statements about a beneficial partnership between member states, including our country."

"But in practise it violates our interests in order to benefit its own people."

A few years ago he ran up against the bureaucratic machine in Russia and was unable to export anything there, said Ryskulov.

Russia returns tonnes of produce to Kyrgyzstan every year, citing alleged non-compliance with EEU food safety requirements.

Even before the pandemic, Russia took advantage of EEU countries' open borders and expanded its markets while simultaneously pursuing a strict protectionist policy.

The blatant unfairness has led some Kyrgyz officials to argue that it is time to leave the organisation.

On May 13 at a meeting with members of the cabinet, Kyrgyz lawmaker Ruslan Choibekov suggested leaving the EEU.

Kyrgyz interests receive no protection within the EEU, he said, according to Akchabar.kg.

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The lawlessness of police targeting migrant workers in Scherbinka https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdkZfzKn6cA

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The Kyrgyz obeyed Russians and closed the Sokh-Rishtan road. The reason was Uzbekistan's refusal to join the EEU! And who are you Kyrgyz - are you Russian minions? The Kyrgyz joined the EEU made by Russia. They gave Russians their land for the military base, and linked their currency to the ruble. Where is this independence and freedom they love to talk about in Kyrgyzstan when they are, in fact, completely obedient to the Russians?!

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Only fools believe in Russia!

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I think that Uzbekistan, as a [EEU] observer [nation], will draw the appropriate conclusions by looking at Kyrgyzstan and leave the Eurasian Economic Union.

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Enough talk about fascists, cattle farmers, etc. When our own bureaucrats get a conscience and stop siphoning off the money that they get, then order will prevail - under the guise of nice-sounding words about helping farmers and entrepreneurs, bit by bit they steal, line their pockets, and regular people continue to live in poverty as they used to

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In Russia, We have to pay 5,000 rubles for work authoritzation documents and a load of bribes to all those sellout thievish officials and police. It's the lawlessness of fascist Russia.

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Russia is now fed up helping this developing country while they always like to say: please give us alms! We are helping a million citizens of this subsidised republic. Enough! We, Russians, need this money. We are protecting Russia today and will protect it tomorrow. Not them Mongoloids!

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Russia never was, nor will be friend with other country, but with itself. It is always used to put its own interest above other country's interest, even in EEU it is getting its own imperialistic ways. Besides we know for sure that this state is a hotbed of corruption virus and we know that whoever becomes ally with this country will get chronically infected with this virus. The only way of getting rid of this tyrant "imperialis" is to completely eradicate its language from our country qo'yish and initiate changes in thinking of younger generation by taking education model of Western countries. The wind will not hit our chests till we will not get out of influence of Russia!

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Summon the Russian ambassador and beat him up.

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Exactly :)))

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You can try to scare us as many times as you please but you are nothing without us. You are surrounded by hostile countries and without us they will devour you alive. We will drive you all out to Kazakhstan and China; they will teach you manners with their carrot and stick! Shove the air force base up your ass!

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We will shove it up yours, Ivan

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The Russian Air Force base should be driven out of Kyrgyzstan

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Kyrgyzstan doesn't need the Customs Union. We should abandon it.

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Come out, you cattle and sheep breeder!

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Goose breeder

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Is anybody surprised? Russia went to pot long ago

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