Politics

Moscow grows frustrated as Bishkek refuses to follow Russian instructions

By Kanat Altynbayev

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Supporters of acting Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov attend a rally in Bishkek on October 9. [Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP]

BISHKEK -- Moscow is openly demonstrating its disdainful attitude towards Bishkek after Kyrgyzstan's change of power in October, which observers say is indicative of the waning influence of the Kremlin in the Central Asian republic.

After weeks of protests and political uncertainty following Kyrgyzstan's October 4 parliamentary elections, Sooronbay Jeenbekov stepped down as president on October 15, saying he did so to help end the crisis.

On October 19, the Supreme Court threw out former member of parliament Sadyr Japarov's 2017 kidnapping conviction and named him prime minister and acting president.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, while speaking to the media, appeared irritated after talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart, Ruslan Kazakbayev, to restore Russian-Kyrgyz relations, Russian business newspaper Kommersant reported.

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Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbayev (left) answers reporters' queries with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on October 23. [Russian Foreign Ministry]

Lavrov responded rudely after several questions from Kyrgyz journalists at the press conference in Moscow on October 23.

When asked about whether a meeting of the two countries' presidents was being planned, Lavrov said, "it is first necessary that 'your friends' [the current authorities in Kyrgyzstan] determine their position on the processes that must be completed: the priority of elections... the priority of constitutional reform".

After several other questions asked in Kyrgyz, Lavrov lost his temper.

"You've still got to respect the hosts, okay? In every sense", he said, apparently using an insulting pun. The Russian word for "host" also means "boss".

Despite the talks, little progress occurred -- though Russia has continued to maintain that the two countries have a close partnership.

In addition to the lack of top-level talks, Lavrov informed Kazakbayev that financial assistance from Russia to Kyrgyzstan would continue to be suspended "until the political situation in Kyrgyzstan stabilises".

Moscow has since refused to work with Kyrgyz officials.

Acting Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov sent adviser Chingiz Aidarbekov to Moscow, who asked for a meeting of Russian officials, including Lavrov and members of the administration and Russian parliament, Asel Otorbayeva, editor-in-chief of Bishkek news website 24.kg, wrote on Facebook on October 29.

"However, [Aidarbekov] was rejected by everyone. Absolutely everyone," wrote Otorbayeva.

Unacceptable behaviour

Lavrov's behaviour at the international event was unacceptable and evidence of Russia's disrespectful attitude toward the Central Asian republic, say observers.

"Lavrov isn't even selective in his expressions and openly declares that Russia is the host... in every sense," said Mars Abayev, a Bishkek resident and correspondent for news website Orbita.kg.

"Aggressive rhetoric and undisguised irritation in public -- and this is Russia's main diplomat?" Abayev asked, adding that Lavrov would never allow himself to engage in such behaviour toward a country that Russia really respects.

"Moscow has always disdained Kyrgyzstan, as well as other poor Central Asian republics, where it is forced to provide aid of one kind or another in order to increase its influence in the region and keep them under control," Abayev said.

Kyrgyzstan annoys Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime most of all because things are much better in Kyrgyzstan with respect to citizens' rights and freedom of speech than in Russia, he noted.

The regular change of power that takes place in Kyrgyzstan is an undesirable example and even poses a threat to the Putin regime, he said.

Putin himself expressed his fears the day before the turbulent news conference in Moscow.

"What is happening there is a disaster for the Kyrgyz people," he said at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow on October 22. "We cannot look upon what is happening there without pity and alarm."

The "disaster" that Putin is citing is that Kyrgyzstan has more democracy than does Russia, said Murat Konokbayev, a former Kyrgyz diplomat from Bishkek.

"Independent media, non-governmental organisations and activists in Kyrgyzstan feel freer. For example, they can actively criticise the authorities and the president and go to protests without fear of being imprisoned," Konokbayev said.

"These trends cause concern in the Kremlin, which every year only strengthens the authoritarian regime in Russia."

Seeking influence

Relations between Moscow and Bishkek are cooling because Kyrgyz authorities are refusing to listen to the Kremlin's instructions, say some observers.

The Russian regime even wanted the departure of Jeenbekov, who in recent years began to actively improve relations with the United States, according to some observers.

Still, subsequent events did not go according to the Russian plan, said Kairat Osmonaliyev of Bishkek, a professor and scholar of international law.

The Kremlin dispatched Dmitry Kozak, Putin's deputy chief of staff, to Bishkek to urge a transfer of power from Jeenbekov to Japarov in accordance with Kyrgyz rules, Osmonaliyev said.

"Moscow wanted Jeenbekov to step down after finishing his presidential term, which on the surface would look like a natural political process, but Jeenbekov resigned unexpectedly," he said.

That desire could have been "related to the suspension of financial aid from Russia", observed Osmonaliyev.

Moscow appears to be taking advantage of the political situation in Kyrgyzstan to pressure the country's leaders to bend to its will or lose promised military and financial aid.

Amid the crisis, on October 14, Russian news site RBC, citing its own sources in the Russian government, reported that Moscow would not provide Bishkek financial support until the "political situation stabilises" in Kyrgyzstan.

Following a number of "lessons" from the Kremlin, on Friday (November 13), Japarov spoke with Putin on the phone to discuss "current bilateral and multilateral cooperation", 24.kg reported.

For Kyrgyzstan, the benefit of Japarov's efforts to bolster relations with the Kremlin may be linked to financial aid of $100 million (8.4 billion KGS) that Moscow previously promised to Jeenbekov's government.

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134 Comment(s)
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Russia is a rancid country

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Who has paid for this article?

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Biden will tan their hide

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The beginning of a civil war is already boiling in Russia.

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This is a stupid article

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I, too, think we need to distance ourselves from Russia

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They have gone utterly dumb with their "grandeur!" Lavrov was a host party at the meeting, Kazakbaev and our journalists were guests. Moreover, uncultured and absolutely ill-mannered for that matter. Bumpkins! I am ashamed of my Kyrgyzstan! Although what else would you expect? You need at least 200 years to become a state, and in 30 years we've got only a curled lip and our hat in our hand! Ungrateful stupid sheep. Russia has gone through its horrors under the Tatar Yoke, but you are only about to experience it, and the yoke will be tougher: its name is China! So, brace for impact!

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The whole world despises you Russians. Why? Figure it out yourselves.

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Unfortunately, [the Russians] are despised, mostly for their imperialist chauvinism. Since Putin came to power, the number of those who despise them has grown exponentially. Russia has had a falling out with everybody, and everywhere it could. It's true, unfortunately.

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Look at Georgia cooperating with the striped ones! Should the RK also maybe that?

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Half-dead Russia is not up to dictating its terms to anyone.

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Kyrgyzstan does not need a dictatorship to help Putin, Xi, Nazarbaev/Tokaev, etc. Wait for Biden and cut down on your government expenditures

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Putin is a political corpse already. He should just sit quietly in a corner, decaying, and not give orders to anyone.

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Putin is non-handshakeable hand all over the world, except for in Syria, Iran, Belarus, and the likes of them. We need to be friends with America and the EU. ["non-handshakeable" is a Russian expression meaning a person is an outcast disrespected and despised so bitterly that it is beneath peoples' dignity, and reprehensible, to shake that person's hand].

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What should Putin or Lavrov respect us Kyrgyz for? For the barbaric destruction of our White House for the third time in a row? It is as symbolic for the state as the flag, the coat of arms, and the anthem. No one was held accountable for that in 2005, or in 2010. Nor is it going to happen now. We are making freedom of speech an excuse. In fact, we have freedom of violence against any person. The bought and paid for minority forces its archaic "values" upon the majority. We don't respect ourselves, yet we want others to respect us.

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Russia is a country of wars, aggressors, and occupiers. Stop, stop, stop! Return the lands to all the Chuvash, Tatars, Yakuts, the Caucasian peoples, etc.

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It's a country of wars, aggressors, and occupiers; so why ask it for money then?

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ASA [Almazbek Atambaev] has made a big mistake by suggesting the USA leave the Gansi military base in Manas. [We] need to ask the USA to get back to considering this issue. Whatever one might say and discuss, the USA is a great Power!!! We need to be friends and learn everything good from [America].

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Oy, we need neither the USA nor Russia. We lived and will continue to live without them. Otherwise, we are like puppets doing whatever either one tells us to do.

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Putin's Russia is a weak, decrepit, poor, third-world country. The thieves at the top have robbed and ripped everything apart, reciting patriotic slogans they feed to their dumb population. And they think other countries should line up to join Russia. It's a hilarious fantasy. But in fact these countries see Russia as a paper tiger worth staying away from. There will be neither development nor economic growth along with Russia. Their country can only drag you down.

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No country would be able to recover in such a short time after the betrayal and destruction of the economy and the army by the liberal pro-Yank lapdogs in the 90s. It took a wise leader 20 years to revive the country which even your God - the USA - is afraid of.

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Do people in the USA even know they are afraid of Russia? We should tell them because they have no idea.

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Will Kyrgyz go work in the USA instead of Russia? Will the USA give you visa-free entry to pay you for its base?

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It's better to travel to the USA. Their monthly salaries are like a year of work in Russia.

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Poor Russians don't know who they can lean on. The Slavic peoples of Ukraine and Belarus want no unification of any kind with them. Now they are beseeching us. Russians would like to hide from NATO behind someone's back. They instigated the conflict with the West themselves, and now they have to deal with it on their own. When our grandfathers died in the war with Hitler, the Russians were okay with us. But now they are pounding their chests, shouting from the rooftops that they alone defeated Hitler.

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Government of Kyrgyzstan must improve their relationship with Central Asian governments or else they will become slaves. Kyrgyz government must renounce its nationalistic policy they are carrying out towards large numbered Uzbek community and pay attention to Kyrgyz nationalists!

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I've read the comments. No one wants to be with this filthy Russia XD Nobody wants to be an impoverished loser.

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It's interesting, the city of Chleningrad was named after Lenin's penis )) ['Chlen' in this context is Russian for 'penis.' The city's name was Leningrad]

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Crimea is Ukraine. Russia must return what it has stolen from its lawful owner.

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I heard the acronym USSR stands for Old Shitty Pissy Russia

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100% :)))

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You're a fuckhead if you think of the USSR like that! MOREOVER, YOU'RE HOPELESS!

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Now I understand what the acronym USSR stands for :))

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I wonder - what does Kyrgyzstan need these impoverished pro-Kremlin nobodies for?

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Indeed, is there anything left that we have not already pawned? Maybe we need to do it the Chinese way: take the land, not money, if somebody can't pay a loan back. Number two would be the clothing market, since all merchandise there is Chinese anyway.

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Oh, you want to enjoy the best of both worlds, huh? When your ass is bare then you can play the game of democracy; since there's nothing to eat anyway, but at least you can entertain yourselves, ousting the government and president every other day. However, affluence will never come your way like this.

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But your country, all of you have been kissing your Liliputin's ass for 20 years. Don't swallow the wrong way. [Liliputin is a wordplay mixing Putin and 'liliput' - Russian for midget]

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Russia under Liliputin has turned into a shabby sty. And they teach us how to live life. A Russian mouth is only good to put d... in it. [Liliputin is a wordplay combining Putin and 'liliput' - Russian for midget]

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Russia is a shithole; it has no right to dictate anything to Kyrgyzstan.

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And are the Kyrgyz rushing into Shit-Russia, huh?

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Russia wants to re-create the USSR and again suck all resources out of its colonies. But as the saying goes, can't hurt to dream. Russia now is worn out and on life support. Russia can't afford its whims.

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In this political situation, the Russian government is right. "The financial assistance from Russia to Kyrgyzstan would continue to be suspended 'until the political situation in Kyrgyzstan stabilises'". And what is the situation in Kyrgyzstan now???? Right, it's A MESS!!! Now tell me, what reasonable person would be willing to give money when there's A MESS? In this situation, the funds would hardly go to the budget. Most likely, they would be pocketed. The money is allocated for a particular president. But it's not clear who the president is? Is he acting???? Or not acting??? President??? Or not president??? Who is going to get what??? So, Russia has always provided [financial] help, but it never went all the way to the budget in its entirety. A sizeable part was embezzled and lined pockets. And Russia had to write it off and allocate funds again... Nobody except for Russians will give us money for free. China does not forgive debts; it will take territory. China welcomes the peaceful annexation of foreign territories, waging no war. Turks also never forgive debts as they expand their Ottoman empire. They need both lands and "cannon fodder." There's no need to say much about the Yanks; they have never forgiven anybody anything. That's why the whole world except China and Russia is under the [Americans]...

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Russia is the number one thief and robber in the world. We need to stay away from a country such as Russia.

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What did Russia steal from Kyrgyzstan? At least try to think about what you are writing, or do you not have enough brains?

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I'll give you an example: Russia forces people to pay through the nose for its fuel and gas. That means that it shakes down the population of Kyrgyzstan. And that's just one example.

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You said that right

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The current president has bought the court one way or the other

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It turns out, Russia is loved nowhere. Everybody is fed up with this occupier. I salute you all from Ukraine! Steer clear of Russia.

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Ah? Excuse me, are you already quite far away from Russia??? Enjoying life? Are you flourishing and prospering? How's your industry doing? Aeronautical engineering, shipbuilding, energetics? How's the compensation? Pensions? What is it you can brag about? Or what is the new life experience after living "away from Russia" you can share? Most likely, there is nothing you can brag about or share...

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For your information, the economy in Ukraine has been growing unlike the Russian [economy]. The minimal wage is already higher than in Russia. Although it was Russia getting three trillion petrodollars, they successfully flushed it down the toilet.

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We are going to Russia, not to Russians for work. We are coming to make money Russia gets off plundering Muslim and Turkic republics. Russians steal diamonds from Yakutia, oil from Tatarstan, and natural gas from Siberia. All of that is not Russian.

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What is this Russia? Is it the centre of the universe or something? It's an ordinary third world country. A raw material supplier to China and the West. Its population is dumb, impoverished, and angry. They hate all the ethnicities around them. Where there is no government, but a bunch of thugs and thieves. There's no justice, nor law enforcement, but torpedoes and plunderers wearing shoulder boards. What the fuck do we need this cesspool for?

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It's true, my Kyrgyz brother. As-salamu Alaykum from Tajikistan.

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You said that right

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In my opinion, the article is absolutely correct

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For me, Russia is an utter sty.

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The higher a monkey climbs a tree, the more visible its red butt!

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Lavrov behaved like the president of the world when he said respect your masters. He forgot people are mortal and his time is coming since he is so close already.

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Russia is a fascist Nazi country. It should be destroyed.

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Russia is dying off already. It has got rotten under the leadership of Dumb-Putin, the multi-move combinator.

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Russia has been "dying off" since the 10th century. This "dying-off" Russia outlived the Roman (BYZANTINE) empire, French, Austrian, the cheap Polish-Lithuanian attempt, and the Third Reich.
Do you think if you backstabbed your friend in [20]16, he wouldn't remember?

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What 10th century? Russia is 300 hundred years old maximum. It was Moscovia before that, an ulus of the Golden Horde.

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There are big states in the world. One needs to seek their advice instead of trying to command them. We need dialogue with Russia. What you say here is partly true, but we need more common sense

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We need to form a union with the Turkic states. Look how Turkey showed Armenia and Russia their place. Russia is already senile and helpless.

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Steer clear of Russia.

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Stay away from us.

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And we will stay strong, damn it

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Excuse me, but when you are a guest in other countries, you should live by their rules. If not Russia, who is going to help the Kyrgyz? Everybody told us to fuck off. And the debt to China should be paid back. Otherwise, we will all be working for them, getting a bowl of rice. Don't be stupid; government officials love lining their pockets and not giving a damn about the people. They took all the money out of the country and now are pounding their chest, saying we are independent!

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Right!

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I've read the comments, and I'm horrified by what many people write. Well, first off, dear citizens of "independent" Kyrgyzstan, in case you don't know, the USSR legally exists, and we are one of the fifteen countries [republics] of the USSR. If you don't believe me, ask any political expert, lawyer, parliamentarian. Everybody knows everything, but they remain silent. Why? Because it would be a huge revolution! And no one wants that; neither our authorities lining their pockets nor especially Moscow! Moscow helped and will help all the Soviet republics. So, don't write this nonsense about Moscow paying tribute. To who? For what? And generally, learn gratitude!!! Why are you laying your sick fault at someone else's door? We've got a mess here with our money stolen, by our bigwigs, not Moscow. What is it Moscow gets from us? Can you name it? Who sold the gold? Military equipment, metals, etc. Who? Moscow did it as well?! Do you think before you write? If Moscow is not going to protect our small state, China will quickly seize a third of Kyrgyzstan. And the rest of it will be a labour camp for the local population, unpaid workforce, and organs for sale. What's China doing with Uighurs, Kazakhs... Did yo

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If our officials are thieves, it doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye to Russian crimes. Don't mix these two things up. And the USSR hasn't been around for a long time; it disappeared 30 years ago.

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Right!!!

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Give me a break with the USSR. We are not subscribing to this bullshit again. The USSR gunned down half of the Kazakh population, and stamped out our alphabet and language. Countless nuclear explosions and bacterial tests were conducted on Kazakhs. It's up for discussion who fed and protected the USSR.
More than 40 million head of cattle were exported abroad from Kazakhstan. All our gold was snapped up. Mineral resources were exhausted. And what they built, schools, etc., they made for themselves. There was no universal Kazakh school. And speaking of who covered whose butt in the war: we protected you, all the nations. Now about the Kazakhs in China: they know their language, there are Kazakh schools and television, unlike in Russia.

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The Kyrgyz are an unhinged people, of course, but everybody saw how Putin punished Pashinyan. Armenians no longer have Nagorno-Karabakh. With a neighbour as dangerous as China, souring relations with Russia and counting on Asian unity is not just insanity, but... I think the whole problem is with Atambaev - so long as he remains in prison, President Putin will not talk to Bish, and mark my words - he will eventually be the president

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Your USSR is a piece of shit

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I agree 100%

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A great many don't understand that Kyrgyzstan can't make it alone, that changing the power so often now is leading to a collapse of the country. No Moscow means Beijing will be here and trust me, it is much worse than Moscow, whch always writes off debts. Beijing won't forgive the debts, and soon Bishkek will see it.

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Russia is no rose. They can bug off.

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Russia, take my bow; if not for you, who would be giving Kyrgyzstan money for free

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Why the fuck does anybody have to listen to the "Russian orders?" They can give orders to their own slavish people.

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Biting a hand that feeds and protects you is mean

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And which one is stealing and robbing?

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Is Russia stealing from us? Open your eyes. It's not Russia; it's our jacks-in-office who are stealing. Our jacks-in-office steal what Russia gives us. Without Russia, our land will turn into a training ground for America like Afghanistan or become a Chinese colony. Face it, dear compatriots!!!

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Russia robbed all the republics in the USSR.

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Maybe Russia is a dumpster, but many of you are dump-heads and have dirty mouths. Only dimwits can think the way you do. We will start learning Chinese, and they will teach us proper bows. And this talk about sovereignty is laughable. You were all sold out, and decline is looming...

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Be concerned about your Far East. It's not Russia anymore, it's already China.

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Kyrgyzstan will make it. Things will smooth out in the economy and politics. Salam from Kazakhstan!

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The Kremlin whores got their asses burning

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Despite being in the zone of Russian influence, Kyrgyzstan is an independent state. We demand an apology from Lavrov. And he is called diplomat. Kyrgyzstan is able, Inshallah, to become a leader in economy, military, religion, education, medicine on the world stage without Russia, China, the USA. [We] need to go back to Islam and then cooperate with Muslim countries. We need no greedy parliamentarians. There's Sharia law which is also the ideology of all Muslims in the world.

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That's rubbish [you] blurted out!

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That's it

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Utopia

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I completely agree. We need a union with the Muslim countries, not with adherents of different faiths

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Cutting the ties with a dump like Russia is long overdue.

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Amen

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It's no democracy but mayhem here, corruption; all problems get solved through the blacks [unclear reference by the commenter] and endless coups. Why get upset with Russia? It helps us, anyway.

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Everything is shit, but you'll be singing when Russia demands its money back

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Why asking? It's a tribute

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Russia exhibits very brazen behaviour. We're above a rotten dying under-Empire.

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We need to unite with our neighbours Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, China, Turkmenistan and maintain a good relationship with Turkey; and then we will not depend on Russia and the USA. But we should not get into a conflict with them either.

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For thirty years all Central Asian republics have been floundering in the mud! Why are you running to Russia for work and a better life? Even well-off Kazakhstan's got a leak! Without Russia, you'll end up having feudalism or being slaves to Chinese!

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Your Russia is already drowning.

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It's because of $100 million PFF [an unclear reference by the commenter] The USA paid $200 million annually for the base. Take a hike, Russia. They are screwed themselves.

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Where is the money?

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Kyrgyzstan is acting outrageously. They organise coups leading to civil unrest and nothing more.

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To steer clear of the crisis [tied] to the Russian dictate, it is paramount for the countries of Central Asia to get united...

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When are we going to get rid of that intrusive dictator Russia? All revolutions in our country happened because of them. Who else would sponsor it? We don't have RICH ENOUGH people for that. Even though the people didn't like the president, they are fed up with these perpetual revolutions...

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Moscow should set up such conditions so that Kyrgyz would ask for merging with Russia as its autonomous province

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It's logical enough. [Kyrgyz] are badmouthing Russia, but [Russia] is extending a helping hand. Our [people] are only good at making "revolution" - they destroy the city and think they are heroes.

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If not for the obtrusive hug of the ghoul, there would be no poverty

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There will be no life without re-unification of all the republics! The USSR in a different format, but still all together!

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But the capital of the USSR will be in Kyrgyzstan.

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Russia is a great power that depends on no one, but Kyrgyzstan without Russia is like a person with no hands and money. We need to go along with Russia like in the good old days; they're our big brother! And a president like Putin, deeply caring for the people and country. Because we are tired of these slums; Kyrgyzstan has been turned into a dumpster. It's easier to break than to build!!!

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Russia is a great laughing stock.

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It seems as if Navalniy has ended that subject

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Our country can stand its ground only with the help of Russia - no one else will help us: neither China (as the closest neighbour) nor Turkey (as a lodestar in the Muslim world), nor the USA (as a counterbalance to Russia). Russia will always step in to help any of "its" former republics. There are still enough of their ethnic compatriots here feeling its support for 30 years. And they are very grateful.

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Russia is always only robbing. Poverty is everywhere Russia steps in.

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Nonsense

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Russia itself should be rescued. It's rolling downhill towards savagery and poverty.

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It is necessary to leave this useless EEU. Let Russia jack off there alone.

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What did you expect? If you are in bed with Russia, will you please render your marital duties, so that Russia doesn't have to jerk off

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Let someone else screw "mother Russia".
Its cellulitis won't arouse Kyrgyzstan.

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Bravo, you can't say it better!

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Russia behaves like a woman who hasn't been fucked right.

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Who does arouse it? China? It will put Kyrgyzstan down on all fours without even asking whether they like it or not?

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Russia arouses China for real. And Russia is happy that there's a man who likes Russia's fat ass.

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Funny. Right on the money.

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Russia is a lass who hasn't been fucked right. China should make her feel good with a broomstick.

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The Kyrgyz have two hats, an American one and Russian one. One time they sold it to the Americans and let them build the base. Then they switched the hats, and now are switching them back to wear the American one. You did sell and will keep selling.

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The Kyrgyz have only one hat - the Kalpak

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Russians have only one hat - a peaky cap

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Kyrgyzstan is [a member of] the EEU and CSTO. And it needs this constant assistance; we live off the money from Moscow. What independence are we talking about? Therefore all these liberties can't substitute food for people. Liberty exists only when the economy is working. Kyrgyzstan is bankrupt, and people are fleeing to Russia in droves, railway cars and whatnot.

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If people in Kyrgyzstan are shoeing away their thief President, what does Russia have to do with that?

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Russia has lost its influence and will be driven out of Central Asia soon

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