«Россия - бумажный тигр»
«Мы бы хотели, чтобы вы нашли наилучшие пути для помощи оппозиции», - умоляла в 2009 году американское посольство Роза Отунбаева. Но в то время американские дипломаты уже сделали свою ставку, которая, как оказалось, была неверной. В апреле 2010 года в Киргизии произошли массовые беспорядки, в результате которых режим Курманбека Бакиева пал, а новым президентом стала как раз Роза Отунбаева. Депеши американского посольства в Бишкеке и некоторые директивы Госдепартамента, которые «РР» получил от WikiLeaks, позволяют реконструировать методы и цели американской дипломатии в период с победы «тюльпановой революции» в марте 2005 года вплоть до событий, предшествующих падению режима Бакиева.
2006. «Водка, сигареты, сотовые телефоны»
С начала 2006 года коалиция «тюльпановой революции» начала разрушаться, а Курманбек Бакиев – избавляться от союзников и вводить в администрацию своих людей. Роза Отунбаева, перешедшая в оппозицию, обвинила Бакиева, как докладывает в Госдеп американский посол в ноябре, в «полном развале правительства, создании напряжения в силовых структурах из-за наполнения их «кадрами с Юга» и провоцировании религиозного экстремизма из-за обращений к «братьям по вере», в том числе для помощи в контроле за протестующей улицей.
- У страны неправильный лидер, с марта 2005 года ничего на самом деле не изменилось. Как и при Акаеве, весь большой бизнес – водка, сигареты, сотовые телефоны - в руках Бакиева или его приближенных, - сетовала Отунбаева в разговоре с послом
Роза Отунбаева, как и все другие лидеры оппозиции, ведут на протяжении года активные консультации в американском посольстве, особенно перед протестами в мае и ноябре. Обсуждается всё, в том числе мелкие детали проведения акций, а не только их численность, время и цели.
«Посол спросил, как «За реформы» готовились к акциям протеста, и Отунбаева ответила, что они готовы к длительным акциям, купили тенты, файеры и пр.». Оппозиция, видимо, полагала, что американцы могут надавить на Бакиева, но целью посольства было удержание стабильности.
В ноябре посол резюмирует: «Критика Атанбаева, Текебаева и Отунбаевой в отношении Бакиева и его администрации ясна и детальна… Но они не могут ясно сказать, почему Бакиев, избранный только год назад, может уйти в результате протестов, и у них нет ни малейшей идеи, что именно они будут делать, если тот все-таки уйдет».
Зато в начале 2007 года уходит в отставку Феликс Кулов, и Бакиев получает полноту власти в администрации и правительстве.
2007 сентябрь. Максим Бакиев и «максимизация» бизнеса
В 2007 году посольство США в Киргизии, видимо, нащупывает хороший крючок для влияния на дела в стране. Депеша от 18 сентября поначалу выглядит как отчет о притеснении прав иностранных инвесторов. Тогдашний посол США в Киргизии Мария Йованович пишет о разговоре с 63-летним итальянским бизнесменом Жоржио Фиаккони, который 13 лет не без проблем работал в Киргизии, и вот сейчас его принудили продать Киргиз Кредит Банк сыну президента Максиму Бакиеву. Фиаккони, похоже, человек крепкий, владелец не только банка, но и ЦУМа, англоязычной газеты, ресторана, он уже сидел в тюрьме после «тюльпановой революции», но сумел выйти на свободу. Но интерес посла далеко не ограничивается этими драматическими событиями.
В поле зрения посла попадает связь латвийского бизнесмена Валерия Белоконя, и Максима Бакиева на почве бизнес-интересов в банковской сфере, в том числе и в отношении «приобретения» чужих активов. Белоконь как раз был обижен на действия Центробанка России, который отозвал лицензию Банка Ибериус по подозрению в отмывании денег. Банк работал с клиентами России, странах Балтии и Киргизии, и обеспечивал масштабные переводы в оффшоры. Именно ужесточения контроля за банковской сферой в России, по мнению посла, вынудила Белоконя сосредоточиться на киргизских активах. Проблемы в России и интересы в Киргизии сделали его особо интересной фигурой для посольства. Посол отмечает: пока старший Бакиев у власти, «политически слабому» Центральному Банку этой страны трудно противостоять финансовым интересам Белоконя под прикрытием Максима Бакиева.
Собеседник посольства Энди Льюис, комментируя «наезд» на Фиаккони, говорит: «Максим Бакиев достиг большего за три месяца, чем его предшественник за годы». Посол поясняет, что «предшественник» - это сын прошлого президента Киргизии Айдар Акаев, который тоже имел интересы в бизнесе, но все-таки не настолько обширные.
В заключение посол сообщает в Госдеп, что «Белоконь ранее пытался организовать для Максима Бакиева встречи в Вашингтоне». Встречи, как видно из дальнейшего, состоялись.
2007-2008: Досье на «идеального» премьер-министра
Курманбек Бакиев, чей клан утвердился во всех органах власти, начинает расставлять акценты внутри клана. Как сразу замечает посол, новый премьер-министр Игорь Чудинов – человек именно Максима.
«Представитель коммунистической номенклатуры и бизнесмен, Чудинов взлетел на руководящую позицию в киргизской национальной газовой компании в результате «тюльпановой революции» марта 2005 года, а впоследствии возглавил министерство промышленности, топлива и энергетики… В дополнении к бизнес-связям с семьей, Чудинов – идеальный премьер-министр для президента Бакиева. Он этнический русский, у него нет самостоятельной политической базы, и соответственно он не будет угрожать интересам семьи Бакиевых. Статус «внешнего» человека позволит ему пойти на повышение тарифов на газ и электричество, что в интересах семьи, которая планирует «приватизацию» активов в энергетическом секторе… Быстрое восхождение Чудинова породило множество спекуляций относительно его связей с семьей Бакиевых, особенно с младшим сыном президента Максимом. Имя Максима Бакиева ассоциируется с различными бизнесами в банковском и телекоммуникационном секторе Киргизии. Похоже, его интересы простираются и в киргизский энергетический сектор, который страдает от «технических потерь» и воровства.
Январь 2009: Русский поверенный и Татьяна Бакиева
Посол США в Киргизии описывает в депеше от 13 января интересный пример соперничества дипломатических служб. Речь идет вроде как о церковном мероприятии: благословении семи новых колоколов Церкви Рождества Богоматери в селе Ленинское, которое тем не менее имеет политическое звучание – событие масштаба страны для русского и православного населения. Главным гостем должна была стать жена президента Киргизии Татьяна Бакиева, русская по национальности. Причем посол замечает: «Появление Первой Леди было заметным, поскольку она редко выходит на публику и могла бы стать мотором для увеличения популярности правящей семьи. Событие, однако, была частично украдено русскими, которые предприняли корявые усилия для продвижения российских интересов».
Что же произошло? Эту историю посол узнает со слов русского предпринимателя Владимира Кирика, который давно работает в Киргизии и явился спонсором этого события. С одной стороны он говорит, что православная Церковь Киргизии настаивала на том, что это должно быть «простая церемония для верующих, без превращения ее в «про-бакиевское» политическое мероприятие». С этим Кирик был согласен, но в итоге получилось совсем не по плану. «Согласно Кирику, только Первая Леди должна была взойти на трибуну. Вместо этого русский поверенный в делах приехал раньше и самовольно взошел туда сам».
Это небольшой эпизод официальную атмосферу дипломатического сражения между Россией и США по поводу Киргизии и главное – американской военной базы «Манас», чье значение выросло после того, как Узбекистан попросил американских военных уйти. И это при том, что США нужен был центральноазиатский военный транзит в Афганистан, война в котором после прихода к власти Барака Обамы стала важнее Ирака.
Июнь 2009: «Мы получили приказ прямо от американского президента»
3 февраля Курманбек Бакиев обещает закрыть американскую базу и получает от России обещание предоставить кредит в размере 1.7 миллиардов долларов. 19 февраля 2009 г. киргизский парламент проголосовал за закрытие базы. Но к лету становится ясно, что база остается, что Россия поняла даже не как нарушение договоренностей, а просто как криминальное «кидалово». Данная депеша относится к событиям, произошедшим за два дня до подписания американо-киргизского соглашения о «Центре транзитных перевозок» (переименованной базе «Манас»), и наглядно демонстрирует полукриминальную атмосферу, в которой принимались тогда в Киргизии политические решения.
«Политическая и бизнес-элита Кыргызстана собралась на берегу озера Иссык-Куль вечером 20 июня, чтобы отпраздновать открытие нового отеля «Витязь», принадлежащего Максиму Бакиеву, сыну президента, - пишет поверенный в делах посольства США Ли Литценбергер. - Сотрудник посольства был неожиданно включён в состав приглашённых на мероприятие среди примерно 200 других гостей после путешествия на Иссык-Куль c директором Государственного агентства по физической культуре и спорту Александром Войновым. Войнов сказал, что от него требовалось появиться на открытии отеля вместе с другими чиновниками в ранге министра, членами парламента и областными губернаторами. Войнов заявил, что ведущих бизнесменов «пригласили» купить входные билеты на мероприятие за 10-15 тысяч долларов, чтобы профинансировать открытие. Войнов прокомментировал, что «правительственные официальные лица и бизнесмены могли из принципа отказаться прийти, но тогда их работа и бизнес-интересы оказались бы в опасности».
Понятно, что посольский поверенный присматривается к всемогущему Максиму Бакиеву, который к этому времени нашел общий язык с влиятельными лицами в Вашингтоне, к чему и стремился, судя по прошлым депешам. Посольство в Бишкеке еще прямо не работало с Максимом, но уже готовится. Ли Литценбергер имеет вкус и литературный талант к описанию восточных нравов:
«Центром мероприятия был не отель, о котором почти все присутствующие говорили, что претенциозен и вульгарен, а Максим и его окружение. Максим прибыл в соседний аэропорт на частном самолёте, приехал в отель в большой автоколонне в сопровождении полиции и передвигался на вечеринке в окружении восьми телохранителей. Максим находился среди гостей со своей официальной женой Айжаной (широко известно, что у него есть любовница) с одной стороны и премьер-министром Игорем Чудиновым с другой. Ни Айжана, ни Чудинов, похоже, не были в восторге от такой роли. Многие бизнесмены, похоже, страстно желали выслужиться перед Максимом и ждали в нервном напряжении приезда человека, которого они называли «босс». Бизнесмены стояли навытяжку, когда Максим проходил рядом, но многие делали ехидные комментарии, как только он удалялся. Один бизнесмен спросил: «В какой стране мы живём, если все мы, включая беднягу Игоря (Чудинова) вынуждены вилять хвостом перед сыном только чтобы оставаться в бизнесе?»…Войнов прокомментировал, что Максиму действительно нужна усиленная охрана, учитывая то, что он отнял бизнес у многих людей в стране».
И, конечно, поверенный в делах присматривается к российскому послу и к той реакции, которая имеет союз США с Бакиевыми по поводу базы «Манас». Россия в курсе договоренностей, посол не удивлен, но очевидно зол:
«Российский посол Власов легко вписался в среду киргизской политической и бизнес-элиты, рассказывая истории, задавая вопросы, выпивая водку и танцуя под поп-музыку. Многие гости вели себя с ним как с хорошим другом. Один из членов киргизского парламента подбежал к Власову со словами: «Мы получили приказ прямо от американского президента. Все так и будет (авиабаза «Манас» останется открытой), но ты должен знать, что это всё из-за денег. Мы пока ничего не можем сделать». Власов не выглядел удивлённым, но ответил резко: «Я знаю, что дело в деньгах, но мне нужны все детали про деньги».
13 июля 2009: Окончательный поворот США к Максиму
Первая встреча представителей американского посольства с Максимом Бакиевым прошла за 10 дней до президентских выборов. 13 июля мы можем считать датой, когда США приняли окончательное решение по поводу теперь уже и официальной поддержки действующего режима. Накануне этой встречи состоялся, как отмечается в депеше, «очень успешный» визит заместителя госсекретаря США Уильяма Бернса в Бишкек – стороны окончательно договорились о режиме использования американской войной базы в Манасе.
«[Министр иностранных дел Киргизии] Сарбаев позвонил поверенному, чтобы пригласить его на ужин тем же вечером. Он дал понять, что к ним присоединится «третья сторона», и, говоря обиняками, донёс сообщение, что этой стороной будет Максим. «Мы отметим, будут сигары и виски», — добавил он».
Встреча была обставлена с такой секретностью и таинственностью, как будто встречались заговорщики или шпионы: «Перед тем, как сесть за стол, Максим и Сарбаев выключили свои мобильные телефоны (последний также вытащил аккумулятор и SIM-карту, заметив, что для него обычная практика.)»
Наблюдательный поверенный сразу понимает, кто за столом главный: «Сарбаев вёл себя с Максимом чрезвычайно почтительно, равно как и официанты. Суши на ужин были сервированы на отдельной тарелке для Максима и на общем блюде для министра и поверенного. Когда принесли тарелки, Максим выглядел недовольным и сказал: «Можно было принести одно блюдо для всех». В какой-то момент Максим предложил поверенному огня, чтобы прикурить сигару, и у Сарбаева чуть глаза на лоб не вылезли, когда он увидел, что Максим потянулся к поверенному с этим жестом».
Из этой депеши видно, что ставка на Максима была сделана в Вашингтоне, а не посольством на месте, а посольский поверенный просто начинает выполнять новый курс Госдепартамента: «После обмена любезностями поверенный поблагодарил Максима за поддержку новых договорённостей о Транзитном центре. Сарбаев быстро вмешался: «Я рассказал ему о вашей роли». Максим заявил, что через американских «друзей» в Вашингтоне он договорился об основных постулатах нового соглашения («имя сменить, операцию оставить») ещё до апрельского приезда американской переговорной команды. В какой-то момент, сказал Максим, когда американская сторона сопротивлялась предложению киргизов заменить все отсылки к «военному персоналу» термином «Отдел защитного персонала», Максим звонил «друзьям» в Вашингтоне, чтобы уладить проблему. Максим заявил, что Вашингтон проинструктировал свою переговорную команду, велев принять киргизское предложение».
Что касается самого Максима Бакиева, то он ведет себя с американцами так, как будто точно знает, что антироссийская бравада им нравится, и в этом смысле работает над созданием доверительных отношений. «Максим, явно польщённый своей ролью в том, что удалось перехитрить Москву, рассказал поверенному анекдот. Сидят Путин и Медведев. Медведев говорит: «Володя, что эти киргизы с нами сделали!» Путин отвечает: «Я знаю, Дима, я знаю, поверить невозможно! Но я об этом подумал, и у меня есть идея. Почему бы нам не назвать нашу военно-морскую базу в Севастополе аквапарком?"
Но Максим пытается создать «доверительные отношения», манипулирует собеседниками настолько грубо, что Ли Литценбергер понимает цену ему как человеку и трезво оценивает его браваду: «Максим сказал, что делал бизнес в России, но два года назад, увидев, какие русские двуличные и грубые, свернул все свои операции там». Но за этим следует комментарий поверенного: «Лидеры оппозиции утверждают, что тогдашний президент Путин пожаловался напрямую Курманбеку Бакиеву на далеко не благородные делишки Максима в России и сказал президенту, что его сыну в России больше не рады».
Однако посольство в Киргизии уже понимает генеральную линию, в том духе, что Максим – сукин сын, но зато наш сукин сын: «В последнее время у посольства не было контактов с Максимом в связи с его неофициальным статусом и широко распространёнными слухами о его сомнительных попытках получить финансовый контроль над многими секторами бизнеса. Как бы то ни было, после соглашения по новому Центру транзитных перевозок благосклонная позиция Максима относительно США может принести пользу нашим интересам».
Сын президента, монопольный владелец многих крупных бизнесов в Киргизии, нуждающийся в легитимации своих капиталов на западе, да еще и с явными бизнес-проблемами в России – идеальный объект для вербовки.
25 июля 2009: «Строить больше полей для гольфа»
23 июля 2009 года в Кыргызстане были проведены президентские выборы. Курманбек Бакиев получил около 90% голосов избирателей при явке в 80%. Такие впечатляющие результаты возможны только в ситуации полного отсутствия конкуренции и абсолютно авторитарной власти. В данном случае, вероятно, результат был продуктом фальсификаций, а не мощной поддержки авторитарного лидера, поскольку президент, имеющий якобы «всенародную» поддержку, меньше, чем через год вынужден будет бежать из страны в результате массового недовольства и беспорядков.
Через два дня после эти «демократических выборов» посол США в Киргизии Татьяна Гфеллер завтракает с «предвыборной командой», как она это называет, включающей Максима Бакиева и Кадырбека Сарбаева. Посол Гфеллер то ли не имеет столь выдающихся литературных талантов, как поверенный Ли Литценбергер, то ли чувствует, что уже не время описывать дикие нравы семьи Бакиева, и ограничивается формальной записью бесед:
«Максим сказал послу, что ЦИК получила совет не засчитывать любые сомнительные протоколы… Он сказал, что если наблюдатели не подписали протокол, или есть споры об их количестве, ЦИК отбросит такие протоколы. Однако, делает вывод Максим, «не имеет значения, получит ли [его папа] 55% или 85% голосов, президент Бакиев переизбран».
Посла не интересует, в качестве кого Максим дает советы ЦИК, не высказывает беспокойства по поводу демократических процедур, ее интересуют будущие «реформы» своих союзников. Но «реформы», как и демократия, одна из стандартных тем американской дипломатии, в данном случае получает скорее комическое развитие:
«И Максим, и министр иностранных дел интересуются китайской моделью экономических реформ, и ищут пути импорта китайских экономических условий в Кыргыстан», - пишет посол. Но дальше за этими банальными благими пожеланиями следуют и вообще «гениальные» рецепты от Максима: «Может быть, предложил он, строительство большего количества полей для гольфа привлечет больше иностранных бизнесменов». То есть в страну, где крупный бизнес постоянно «экспроприируется» в пользу правящей семьи, в том числе, как мы видели ранее, и иностранный, бизнес придет поиграть в гольф.
Несмотря на все эти несуразицы посол делает вывод: «Максим часто рассматривается как лидер вроде бы прозападного лагеря в президентской семье, и он, согласно близким источникам, находится в конкуренции за внимание отца с пророссийской, анти-реформистской партией, возглавляемой его дядей Жанышем». То есть, свой человек, и даже сторонник реформ.
27 июля 2009: Американская речь для киргизского президента
«Госдепартамент предписывает посольству доставить тезисы, описанные в параграфах 2-10 правительству Киргизской Республики во вторник 28 июля и отчитаться о доставке в тот же день», - так начинается удивительный документ, который трудно интерпретировать как либо иначе, кроме как руководство к действию и шпаргалка для публичных выступлений, написанная в Вашингтоне специально для киргизского руководства,. Повод – так называемо «дело Хатфилда», дело об убийстве гражданина Киргизии, водителя грузовика Александра Иванова на пропускном пункте авиабазы «Манас» в декабре 2006 года.
С этого дела в 2006 году и начался процесс попыток пересмотра Киргизией договора об авиабазе «Манас», удаления из договора пункта о неподсудности американских военных местным властям, об увеличении платы за аренду и, наконец, о ликвидации базы. Этот процесс был собственно и остановлен на завершающей стадии союзом США с семьей Бакиевых, вернее с той ее частью, которую возглавлял Максим.
В июле 2009 года подписан договор о продлении пребывания базы (под именем «Транзитный центр»), и только что прошли президентские выборы. Курманбек Бакиев должен был благодарен США за признание его власти, не болтать лишнего и правильно отреагировать на прекращение разбирательства против старшего пилота Захарии Хатфилда, который застрелил водителя Иванова, вроде бы из-за того, что обнаружил при нем ножик.
Дело закрыто, и теперь правительство Киргизии должно помалкивать, а в случае чего давать правильные ответы, которые расписаны в директиве Госдепа с пометками «если спросят», «если будут настаивать», «если будут настаивать дальше».
Октябрь 2009: «Наши усилия в поддержку оппозиции не будут иметь результата»
С начала 2009 года и особенно после президентских выборов депеши содержат натуральные мольбы со стороны оппозиции о помощи. Помощи даже не в их претензиях на участие во власти, а просто в обеспечении физической безопасности: «Роза Отунбаева, бывший министр иностранных дел, а ныне член парламента от социал-демократической партии на встрече с поверенным выступила с критикой США и ОБСЕ и других западных стран за то, что они отреагировали молчанием на фальсификацию выборов… Роза Отунбаева рассказывает, что сломлена, расколота и в целом подавлена, многие лидеры в тюрьме или под следствием. Лидер Партии зеленых Эркин Булекбаев за решеткой с апреля. Бывший министр иностранных дел Аликбек Жекшенкулов ушел из политики после того, как шесть месяцев провел в тюрьме. Лидер парламентской фракции социал-демократов Бакыт Бешимов, как многие утверждают, сбежал в США, а депутат от социал-демократов, чей иммунитет был только что снят парламентом, скрывается»
И как же на эту картину репрессий реагирует посольство США, развитие демократии и реформы для которого всегда были главной темой для разговоров? Посол прямо сообщает в депеше, что ничего сделать нельзя: «Мы продолжим обсуждать обращение с оппозицией на непубличных встречах с правительством, но маловероятно, что наши усилия будут иметь значительный эффект в среднесрочной перспективе».
Заметим, что США на этот момент имеют в руках все инструменты манипулирования режимом Бакиева, и включают их, когда действительно этого хотят, как было продемонстрировано в случае с базой или «делом Хатфилда». Но в данном случае видно, что им выгоднее укрепить связи с семьей Бакиева, а не испытывать их по «незначительным» поводам.
Ноябрь 2009: «Дергать российского тигра за хвост»
Наконец-то Максим Бакиев стал официальным лицом, с которым удобно общаться посольству. Он возглавил Центральное агентство по развитию инвестиций и инноваций ЦАРИИ (так сказать, «приватизационное» агентство, которое было создано специально под Максима и должно было заведовать различными «полями для гольфа»: телекомом и энергетикой). Причем отношения начинают развиваться, Максим предлагает США создать новый военный «тренировочный центр» в Баткене, что на юге страны, то есть фактически вторую военную базу: «Бакиев сделал акцент на том, что этот центр должен сохранять «интернациональный» характер, намекая на то, что соседи Киргизии, включая Узбекистан, могут выступить против создания тренировочного центра вблизи узбекской границы»
Но тут посол Татьяна Гфеллер задала отличный вопрос о том, понимает ли Максим, что «дергает российского тигра за хвост», выступая с такой инициативой. В ответ тот рассмеялся: «Может быть, этот тигр окажется бумажным в конце концов».
В это время очевидно, как далеко зашел Максим Бакиев, считая что его прикроют «американские друзья» в Вашингтоне. С поверенным посольства он даже пытается предотвратить контроль американцев за создаваемым ими же 20-миллионным Фондом экономического развития. Причем, вместо американцев Максим требует назначить менеджеров, которые за несколько месяцев до этого «освоили» часть российского гранта, полученного в обмен на закрытие базы «Манас»:
«Посольство получило 18 ноября обширные письменные комментарии от аппарата Максима Бакиева на меморандум о создании Фонда экономического развития (ФЭР). В комментариях предлагается убрать USAID (Агентство международного развития США) и его партнеров из руководства Фонда, и заместить их менеджментом Фонда развития Киргизской Республики, который был учрежден правительством доя управления российским грантом в 300 млн долларов в начале этого года».
Предложение слишком похожее на коррупционное, так что посольство запросило встречу у Максима Бакиева, на котором он настаивал на том, чтобы решение по деньгам фонда принимали не американцы. На той же встрече с поверенным Максим рассказал о своих грандиозных планах, например, он называл себя «неолибералом» и обещал «приватизировать все». А так же Максим пытался соблазнить США тем, что однажды они смогут сохранить свой транзитный центр навсегда и даже превратить его в полноценную военную базу.
Депеша заканчивается, впрочем, не выводом о том, что Максим совсем съехал с катушек, но скорее комплиментарным комментарием: «Ясно, что Бакиев имеет влияние и доступ к многим в правительстве. Пока мы будем культивировать отношения с ним аккуратно, эти отношения, скорее всего, принесут существенные дивиденды американскому правительству».
Ноябрь-декабрь 2009: шпионский скандал
Дивиденды действительно были. Пример «хорошего сотрудничества» случился уже в ноябре, причем в тот же день, когда шел разговор о Фонде, и о том, кто именно будет распределять деньги. Американцев беспокоил потенциальный скандал и судьба двух киргизских работников посольства США в Бишкеке, которые были задержаны с поличным при передаче киргизских секретов сотруднику посольства США. Конечно, скандал замяли по требованию посольства – вмешательства Максима и не понадобилось. Но в какой-то момент разговора Максим поинтересовался о деле и о том, чем он может быть полезен. Поверенный в делах пишет: «Мы сказали, что дело еще не полностью разрешено, что нам нужен документ от правительства… формально утверждающий, что уголовное дело против наших сотрудников навсегда прекращено. Бакиев ясно понял наши пожелания и пообещал, что он «поработает с министром иностранных дел, чтобы помочь ему подготовить соответствующий документ».
Вообще этот шпионский эпизод показывает насколько близкими стали отношения США и Киргизии в тот момент, такие дела даже между союзниками заканчиваются подчас скандалами и симметричными высылками дипломатов. В данном случае эпизод даже не просочился в прессу. То есть одна утечка была – сайт segodnia.ru опубликовал часть подробностей (посол даже замечает, что сумел правильно назвать даже имя одного из «шпионов» «Эмиль Чодронов, бывший сотрудник МВД республики, работающий уже несколько лет в службе безопасности посольства США в Бишкеке»). Это утечка очень взволновала американских дипломатов – стало ясно, что далеко не все сотрудники службы безопасности Киргизии готовы работать под диктовку США, и что, по крайней мере, Москва знает подробности инцидента.
Декабрь 2009: «Отунбаева не вызывает доверия»
Посол Татьяна Гфеллер продолжает встречаться не только с Максимом Бакиевым и официальными лицами, но и с оппозицией. Правда, ее лидеры, в том числе и нынешний президент Киргизии Роза Отунбаева, в начале 2009 года выглядели в посольских депешах просто как неудачники и даже как пустословы. Причем в самой беседе поводов для такого презрения, вроде бы, и нет. Отунбаева просто и толково излагает свой взгляд на опасную консолидацию власти в руках Бакиевых и усиление Максима:
«Отунбаева считает, что реформы были движением по консолидации власти в руки президента, и уверена в том, что планируется впоследствии мягкая передача власти кому-то из семьи. Когда посол спросила, кто из семьи Бакиевых может стать преемником, Отунбаева сначала задумалась. Потом ответила, что до последнего времени и сын Максим, и брат президента Жаныш Бакиевы были кандидатами. Далее, как она пояснила, Жаныш проталкивал на должность премьера Данияра Усенова. Из того, что этого не случилось, Отунбаева выводит, что Жаныш больше не является преемником».
Точный вывод сделанный при недостатке информации полностью совпадает с картиной, которую американские дипломаты получали из первых рук. Но в качестве вывода посол пишет: «Как и большая часть политической оппозиции, Отунбаева подавлена и смотрит на события как бы со стороны. Мы в очень малой степени доверяем ее информации, и еще меньше ее анализу».
Удивительно как, казалось бы, искренне американские дипломаты делают свои выводы в полном противоречии с фактами, но зато в соответствии с «линией партии», со ставкой на Максима. Интересно, как президент Роза Отунбаева отреагирует на публикации Wikileaks сумеет ли она все простить – и циничную связь с Бакиевыми, и предательство, и презрение к ней лично.
2010: Мы сейчас уверены, что этот баланс – позитивен
В начале 2010 года посольство США взволновано не судьбой оппозиции и возможным недовольством элит и народа Бакаевыми, а продолжением и углублением тесных связей с режимом. 1 февраля 2010 посол Татьяна Гфеллер пишет рекомендации в Вашингтон: киргизам требуются знаки, которые покажут, что Америка в стране всерьез и надолго, что они не бросят Киргизию, сколько бы Барак Обама не говорил о сворачивании операций в Афганистане:
«Хотя мы и смогли развеять утверждения о том, что политика США в Афганистане означает, будто бы мы покинем эту страну после 2011 года, наши киргизские собеседники опасаются, что в следующие несколько лет Транзитный центр будет больше не нужен, и мы исчезнем. Мы уверены, что русские, потерпевшие поражение в прошлом году (сохранение американской базы, попусту потраченный кредит, президентские выборы, и американский роман с Максимом – РР), продавливают новые тезисы, призванные убедить Киргизию, что США – ненадежный партнер и скоро покинет республику».
Но несмотря на такую обеспокоенность, посол, конечно, считает, что все идет хорошо: «Наши многочисленные встречи с министром иностранных дел Кадырбеком Сарбаевым, директором Центрального агентства развития (и сыном президента Кыргызстана) Максимом Бакиевым, другими официальными лицами Киргизской Республики в последние недели оставили нас со стойким ощущением, что мы проходим «испытательный период» в Кыргызстане. Киргизы сделали важный шаг от своего ближайшего международного партнера, России, и шаг в нашу сторону, согласившись на Транзитный Центр в прошлом году. Прямо сейчас они создают баланс, включающий это решение. Мы сейчас уверены, что этот баланс – позитивен».
Через три месяца 7 апреля 2010 года разразился бунт. И мало кто стал защищать режим семьи Бакиевых.
— Когда утром поступила информация, что народ разоружил целый автобус со спецназом и двинулся к Белому дому, стало понятно, что дело серьезное, - рассказывал нашему корреспонденту сотрудник милиции Джанибек.
— Что же у вас за спецназ такой, что оружие отдает?
— Ну, наверное, не очень-то они за это оружие держались, — уклончиво отвечает Джанибек. — Так вот, перебросили нас в усиление, мы оцепили Белый дом: спереди выстроились те, что со щитами и в касках — они и пошли на толпу. Но их стали закидывать камнями, и было решено отступить. Мы все укрылись внутри Дома правительства. Когда толпа совсем озверела, я позвонил своим родственникам, чтобы они принесли мне пакет с гражданской одеждой. Они перекинули его через забор позади здания, я быстро переоделся и убежал живой и невредимый. Очень многие так поступили: сзади протестующих было немного — там даже машины выезжать умудрялись.
— А как же приказ?
— Ну, жизнь-то дороже. К тому же мы безоружные, у меня одна дубинка была — что бы я ей сделал?
— А тех, кто уходил, командиры остановить не пытались?
— Командиры и сами уходили… Кто-то из соображений безопасности, кто-то из-за политических взглядов.
Несмотря на сопротивление,оставшихся защитников и снайперов на крыше здания, Белый дом был взят толпой, Генпрокуратура сожжена, парламент разграблен. По официальным данным, погибли 79 человек, около полутора тысяч были ранены.
2. (SBU) Opposition leaders in recent days have stated publicly their intention to bring up to 45,000 demonstrators onto Bishkek's main square (Ala-Too Square) on May 27 in support of opposition demands. Although these numbers are certainly exaggerated, opposition leader and former Speaker of Parliament Omurbek Tekebayev told the Ambassador that the opposition hopes to bring out "one and half times" as many people as appeared on the square on April 29 (NOTE: According to Embassy and press estimates, between 6,000-8,000 opposition protesters demonstrated on April 29. The opposition claimed "no less than 20,000, while official Kyrgyz government estimates put the number at 15,000-17,000. END NOTE).
3. (C) Nevertheless, opposition leaders in recent days have backed away from some of their more inflammatory demands. Tekebayev told the press on May 22 that they will not demand Bakiyev's resignation, as Tekebayev had earlier vowed. Tekebayev also told the Ambassador that there will be no more demonstrations following this one until the fall, because "we can't just keep gathering and doing nothing if there are no results." Opposition leader and Parliamentarian Kubatbek Baibolov expressed the same sentiments, telling the Ambassador that he would support the demonstration only reluctantly, because the demonstrations were having no effect on President Bakiyev. Baibolov, Tekebayev and other opposition leaders have notably not made the dire predictions of bloodshed that Post heard frequently in the weeks and days leading up to April 29.
4. (C) Opposition leader Almaz Atambayev told PolOff that the opposition would not initiate any kind of violence on May 27, and would not storm the White House. Reverting back to his usual bluster, however, Atambayev said that if the government provokes a violent clash with the opposition, "we won't be able to hold our people back, and President Bakiyev won't be president anymore after May 27."
BUT POTENTIAL FOR TROUBLE REMAINS
5. (C) However, the government nevertheless seems intent on spoiling opposition plans. On May 22, the Defense Minister - taking a tried-and-true tactic from the Akayev playbook - announced that the Ministry of Defense would celebrate Armed Forces and Border Guards Day with a concert and ballroom dancing contest on Ala-Too Square on May 27 (despite the fact BISHKEK 00000766 002 OF 003 that Armed Forces and Border Guards Day is on May 28). The Minister claimed that the event had been in the works for months, and said the opposition would have to hold its demonstration elsewhere.
6. (SBU) On May 23, civil society leader and protest organizer Asiya Sassykbayeva told PolOff that the opposition had decided to forge ahead with its plans to demonstrate on Ala-Too Square, regardless of the government-sponsored concert. She said organizers had agreed late on May 22 (following the MOD announcement) that the protest will begin at 1100 on May 27, and if the concert is not finished by then, demonstrators "will stand by and watch the concert, then begin the protest when the concert ends." Atambayev later outlined to PolOff essentially the same plans. Sassykbayeva dismissed concerns over a potential clash between demonstrators and police forces trying to prevent them from reaching the square, claiming that the opposition and MVD "will work everything out in advance, just like we did for April 29." Head of the opposition Ar-Namys party Emil Aliyev outlined the same scenario, and said the opposition would "under no circumstances" back away from plans to hold the demonstration on Ala-Too square. However, Aliyev also said he was unconcerned over the potential for violence.
7. (C) But even before the Defense Minister announced plans to hold the concert on May 27, some in the government appeared worried about the potential for violence on May 27. The Interior Minister approached the RSO at a funeral on May 19 and asked the Embassy to approach the opposition and call for restraint on May 27. The RSO told the Minister that it was standard Embassy policy to always urge restraint on both sides. However, when the RSO called mid-level MVD contacts to inquire about plans for May 27, MVD officials were unaware of MOD plans to hold a concert on the square on May 27, despite the fact the MOD announcement was clearly meant to draw a line in the sand for the opposition.
8. (C) Nevertheless, during a chance encounter with the Ambassador on the steps of the White House on May 23, Sutalinov said he would begin talks with opposition leaders on May 24 in an effort to ensure a peaceful May 27. He said the MOD concert would end by 1100, at which time demonstrators would take to the square. Sutalinov was unconcerned about the possibility of a clash between police forces and demonstrators, but said he couldn't rule out the possibility of an extremist group such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) disrupting the demonstration in order to cause instability in the country. Sutalinov said police had recently arrested a deputy imam in Jalalabad Oblast for possession of explosives, and cited this as the basis for his concern about extremists.
9. (C) COMMENT: There is no question that tensions in Bishkek are markedly lower than during the run-up to the April 29 demonstration, with neither side making the kinds of dire predictions that we heard frequently in the weeks before April 29. Nevertheless, neither the government nor the opposition appear willing at this point to back away from their plans to be present at the square on May 27, increasing the likelihood of some kind of showdown in the days before or on May 27. It's unfortunate that the government chose this path ) the Defense Minister's claim that the Armed Forces Day celebration had been in the works for month was a lie no one in Bishkek believes. Scheduling concerts, children's events and the like at the same time as opposition events is an old Akayev trick. Fortunately, the Interior Minister and his First Deputy are trusted by the opposition, and seem genuinely interested in avoiding any kind of violence on May 27. The Interior Minister's statement that he will meet with the opposition regarding the sequence of events on May 27 is also reassuring. As they have so many times in the past, the Kyrgyz will likely salvage a peaceful conclusion from a BISHKEK 00000766 003 OF 003 potentially conflict-ridden situation, although there are likely to be some tense moments in the coming days.
Tekebayev added that law had lost its meaning under Bakiyev. Atambayev said that merely changing presidents would not be enough; the opposition, therefore, wanted a new constitution that would protect from authoritarian rule. Planning for November 2
4. (C) Atambayev said that the opposition had decided to go forward with the mass protest on November 2 because no one BISHKEK 00001517 002.2 OF 003 trusted Bakiyev's written or spoken pledges. The protest was a "last chance" for the country that would force Bakiyev either to reform or to resign. If the opposition delayed action until the spring, Atambayev feared that the government would use the time to put the opposition leaders "behind bars, one by one."
5. (C) Asked what would happen on November 2, Atambayev acknowledged that there could be bloodshed. He claimed that Bakiyev's son, Maxim, had delivered threats to MPs from the south, and that Janesh Bakiyev had opened an office in Bishkek to direct the MVD and SNB in using force against the rally. Atambayev also predicted, however, that a large number of law enforcement personnel would join the protesters in demanding that the government resign. DAS Feigenbaum registered his concerns that there be no violence at the protest, and that protest and response be conducted legally and constitutionally.
6. (C) DAS Feigenbaum asked why the opposition expected Bakiyev to resign in the face of a protest, and Atambayev replied that it was clear that Bakiyev would have to reform or resign. Atambayev said he had spoken to the President's Chief of Staff Abdyldayev, and there was still some chance of compromise. Atambayev claimed Bakiyev had said that he would agree to constitutional reform, as long as Kulov were not Prime Minister, and he added that Kulov hoped for reform without Bakiyev as President. But if Bakiyev refused to accede to the opposition's demands, then he would "have" to resign, because he had lost support throughout the country. Atambayev added that Prime Minister Kulov would also have to resign, having "missed his time," unless he took "extraordinary steps" within the week. And Then What?
7. (C) Atambayev said that once Bakiyev and Kulov were driven from power, the parliament would adopt within a few days a new constitution based on the June 2005 draft. DAS Feigenbaum asked whether there was a difference between the current impasse and the March 2005 protests that drove an elected president from office by extra-constitutional means, and Atambayev said that putting Bakiyev in power had been a mistake. Tekebayev said that, unfortunately, they would have to violate the constitution a second time to save the country, but this time they would not make the mistake of waiting to enact reforms. DAS Feigenbaum said that who runs the country and what type of constitution are matters for the Kyrgyz to decide, but we were concerned that any process be lawful, open, transparent, non-violent, and accepted by the Kyrgyz people. Otunbayeva: Nothing Has Changed
8. (C) In an October 18 meeting, former Ambassador to the United States and "For Reforms" supporter Roza Otunbayeva told DAS Feigenbaum and the Ambassador that November 2 would be the "second part" of Kyrgyzstan's revolution. The country got the "wrong leader" in March 2005, and nothing changed. As with Akayev, all of the big industries -- vodka, cigarettes, cell phones -- were in Bakiyev's hands or the hands of his close associates. Bakiyev had no interest in changing the constitution, she said, because he liked "Akayev's mandate." If certain reforms were undertaken -- transferring the SNB, tax, and customs from the President to the government; calling back Bakiyev's brothers from diplomatic service; finishing the Aksy investigation; and properly sending a draft constitution to Parliament -- then there would be no need for the November 2 protest. But there was no sign of compromise from the President, just the offer of jobs to buy off the opposition's leadership. BISHKEK 00001517 003.2 OF 003
9. (C) Asked why she had decided to support "For Reforms," Otunbayeva said she realized that "there was no other way." Otunbayeva accused Bakiyev of completely mismanaging the government, creating tensions in the law enforcement agencies by filling the high jobs with the "southern cadres," and provoking religious fundamentalism by addressing "our believers" with guns. Otunbayeva added that there was a "poor design" of presidential power, as Bakiyev had poor relations with Prime Minister Kulov, State Secretary Madumarov, and Chief of Staff Abdyldayev. In any event, the opposition had to act, because the people blamed them for bringing Bakiyev to power ("It was Beknazarov's fault," she said), and she would use her constitutional right to "go to the street and protest." November 2 would be the "second stage" of the revolution.
10. (C) DAS Feigenbaum asked how broad was For Reforms' following, and Otunbayeva replied that movement included few or no ethnic Russians, and she raised concerns that southerners might resent the push to remove Bakiyev -- the first southerner to lead Kyrgyzstan. The Ambassador asked how long For Reforms was prepared to carry on the protest, and Otunbayeva said they were committed to stay, that they had bought tents, flashlights, and other supplies, and that they were working on the scenario for round-the-clock protests. Otunbayeva said that whether the event would be peaceful depended on the government, and there were troubling signs: the head of the state railroad was preparing detention facilities, and pro-government employees from the electric company were being organized. Otunbayeva also worried that some groups might use the protest to settle other scores, such as Chui Oblast residents going against "squatters" from the south. Again, DAS Feigenbaum stressed that any protest be lawful, constitutional, and non-violent.
11. (C) Atambayev, Tekebayev, and Otunbayeva were very clear as they detailed their criticisms of President Bakiyev and his administration, and as they made the case for urgent reforms. They could not explain as clearly why Bakiyev, having been elected last year, would resign in the face of the opposition's protests, and they had little idea what they would do if he did. The talk of possible violence was disturbing, and we will continue to urge government and opposition interlocutors that both sides act with restraint, and that any protest action be lawful and non-violent. END COMMENT.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BISHKEK 001155 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (GEHRENBECK) TREASURY FOR JEFF BAKER E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2017 TAGS: EFIN, PGOV, KCOR, ECON, EINV, PINR, KG SUBJECT: "MAXIMIZING" BUSINESS IN THE KYRGYZ REPUBLIC BISHKEK 00001155 001.2 OF 003 Classified By: Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) Summary: A prominent ex-pat businessman, Giorgio Fiacconi, has reportedly been forced to sell his Kyrgyz Credit Bank (KCB) to a close business associate of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's son, Maxim. The associate, Latvian businessman Valery Belokon, has also acquired the failed "Insan" bank, which he has rebranded "Manas" bank, and, according to Belokon, will attract $200 million in assets during its first year of operations. Belokon's increased Kyrgyz banking profile follows the reported crackdown by Russian authorities on a Russian bank implicated in the funneling of significant sums among Latvian, Kyrgyz and other financial institutions. Given his ties, through Maxim Bakiyev, to the Kyrgyz leadership, and given the political weakness of the Kyrgyz Central Bank, Belokon's Kyrgyz activities merit special scrutiny. End Summary.
Giorgio Fiacconi's Kyrgyz Portfolio
2. (SBU) Giorgio Fiacconi, a 63-year-old Italian citizen, has nurtured a significant business portfolio in Kyrgyzstan over the past 13 years. At the beginning of 2007, Fiacconi held a significant stake in a large shopping complex (Tsum), owned the Kyrgyz Credit Bank, controlled an English-language newspaper (Times of Central Asia), was proprietor of an Italian restaurant, and likely held other interests arising from his earlier work renovating what is now the Bishkek Hyatt. Given his extensive holdings, Fiacconi has long attracted (often unwanted) attention from Kyrgyz authorities. After the 2005 "revolution," Fiacconi was jailed, but eventually released following judicial actions and international pressure.
Acting without Consultations
3. (C) Earlier this year, Fiacconi quietly sold his stake in Tsum to Kazakh investors. Once the sale became public SIPDIS knowledge in August, Fiacconi suddenly faced tax evasion charges. In a subsequent court hearing, he suffered an angina attack and was admitted to hospital. While in the hospital, Fiacconi advised emboff that he was in "trouble" for "insulting senior people" by selling his Tsum shares "without consultations." Without uttering the name of his principal adversary, he confirmed that it was "M.B., Jr." (Note: "M.B., Jr." likely corresponds to President Bakiyev's younger son, Maxim. End note.) Fiacconi added that the tax evasion charges arose from a loan which he received from an Italian bank to finance his business activities. Kyrgyz officials, he noted, now consider the loan a "gift" subject to taxation. Fiacconi added, however, that three Kyrgyz experts called by the government to validate this interpretation disagreed and supported Fiacconi's position.
4. (C) According to Fiacconi, an intermediary informed him that he could "compensate for his mistake" by doing three things: 1) paying a fine for tax evasion, 2) providing financial support to a sport club, and 3) selling his bank. Fiacconi faced an August 24 deadline to acquiesce, or, as he reported to emboff, he would suffer a damaging media broadside, the possible arrest of himself and his employees and the prospect of "physical retribution." Fiacconi said his opponents were "prepared," and he did not plan to mount a defensive media campaign, as he had done in the past. BISHKEK 00001155 002.2 OF 003
Belokon Builds a Banking Network
5. (C) On August 28, Kyrgyz media reported that Valery Belokon, Maxim Bakiyev's Latvian business partner, wanted to open a commercial bank in Kyrgyzstan. (Note: The reports also added that Belokon hoped to open a Kyrgyz "banking school" and expand into mining. End note.) Fiacconi, after his release from the hospital, confirmed to emboff August 28 that he had sold his bank. When asked for details regarding the buyer, Fiacconi advised emboff to read a news summary which only contained information about Belokon's interest in a Kyrgyz bank. There has been no public reporting on the sale of Fiacconi's Kyrgyz Credit Bank.
6. (C) Despite Fiacconi's account, Kyrgyz media have instead focused on Belokon's recent purchase of the failed "Insan" bank, which will be renamed the "Manas" bank. (Note: Belokon's action to acquire Kyrgyz banks roughly coincides with a reported crackdown, by Russian authorities, on the Iberus Russian bank, which has been implicated in the alleged funneling of money between financial institutions in Latvia, Kyrgyzstan and a few other countries. End note.) Belokon announced September 14 that "Manas" bank will have charter capital of 300-500 million soms (roughly $8-13 million) and will have assets of $200 million in the first year of operation. He also revealed that he has spent 100 million euros ($138 million) to equip the bank. (Note: A Kyrgyz Central Bank advisor expressed astonishment to emboff September 13 at the large amount expended on the new bank's equipment. End note.) The Latvian prime minister attended the Bishkek ceremony announcing the launch of Belokon's Kyrgyz bank.
Going for the Gold
7. (SBU) On August 29, Kyrgyz media reported that Maxim Bakiyev had been elected president of the Kyrgyz Wrestling Federation (KWF) at an August 28 "emergency meeting" that followed the "voluntary" resignation of the previous KWF president. (Note: Bakiyev's election to this post enables him to be considered as chairman of the Kyrgyz Olympic Committee. End note.)
Business Community Reaction
8. (C) International Business Council Chairman (and Kumtor Operating Company president) Andy Lewis told emboff August 31 that little could be done about the Fiacconi case other than ensuring that the international business community was aware of what happened. Lewis commented that "Maxim Bakiyev has accomplished more in the past three months than his predecessor did in years." (Note: By predecessor, he means former President Akayev's son Aidar, who took advantage of his father's position in business dealings, one of the reasons for the 2005 "revolution." End note.) Fiacconi's situation follows complaints by a U.S. telecommunications firm of interference by Maxim Bakiyev in GSM-compatible bandwidth licensing.
9. (C) The raid on Fiacconi's assets is a worrying development. While Maxim Bakiyev, in an interview earlier this year, denied allegations that he controlled any businesses in Kyrgyzstan, he admitted that he works for a Latvian capital management company and identified Belokon as BISHKEK 00001155 003.2 OF 003 a close business partner. Although Fiacconi and other Embassy interlocutors have not explicitly linked Belokon and Maxim Bakiyev jointly to recent developments, their interests would be served by these events. If Belokon's interests have been affected by recent Russian Central Bank activities, then the uptick in Maxim Bakiyev's and Belokon's activities in Kyrgyzstan makes sense. With Maxim Bakiyev's father holding the presidency, the politically weak Kyrgyz Central Bank may have difficulty exercising oversight of Belokon's banking interests. Post will continue to monitor developments.
10. (C) We also note that Belokon has attempted previously to arrange meetings, on Maxim Bakiyev's behalf, in Washington.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 000005 SIPDIS SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (GEHRENBECK) E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2018 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, KG SUBJECT: A PROFILE OF NEW KYRGYZ PM IGOR CHUDINOV BISHKEK 00000005 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Lee Litzenberger for Reasons 1.4 (b) a nd (d)
1. (C) Summary: Kyrgyz President Bakiyev's December 24 appointment of Igor Chudinov as the new Kyrgyz prime minister marks the apex of Chudinov's rapid ascent from relative political obscurity. After years as a communist functionary and businessman, Chudinov secured the top position at the Kyrgyz national natural gas company in the aftermath of the March 2005 "Tulip Revolution" and subsequently took charge of the ministry handling industrial, fuel and energy issues before being tapped for the prime ministerial post. Chudinov's close ties to President Bakiyev's family, especially the President's son Maxim, are believed to overlap with Bakiyev family business interests - to include the Kyrgyz electricity sector. In addition to the business links, Chudinov is an ideal prime minister for President Bakiyev. As an ethnic Russian, he lacks a separate political power base, and thus does not present a challenge to Bakiyev family interests. His "outsider" status may enable him to implement natural gas and electricity tariff hikes, while benefiting Bakiyev family interests in the expected "privatization" of energy sector assets. End Summary.
2. (U) Kyrgyz President Bakiyev appointed Igor Chudinov, a 46 year-old ethnic Russian, prime minister on December 24. Chudinov replaced ex-PM Almazbek Atambayev, and his appointment permitted Acting PM Iskender Aidaraliyev to return to his post as first deputy prime minister. While somehow dodging the constitutional requirement for the prime minister to speak Kyrgyz, Chudinov pledged that governmental appointments should be "based on professional qualities, rather than on political views." Meanwhile, he outlined a few short-term priorities of his government: 1) securing fuel supplies; 2) addressing winter-related problems; 3) assisting farmers with the spring planting season; and 4) providing farmers with seeds and petroleum products. (Note: Kyrgyz media have since reported Kyrgyz agreement to purchase Uzbek natural gas at a price of $145 per thousand cubic meters, up from the previous $100 rate. End note.) Chudinov also outlined his intent to increase tax revenues through legalization of the "grey" economy, which he estimated accounted for up to 52% of the Kyrgyz economy.
Rising to the Top
3. (U) PM Chudinov,s rapid political ascent, which started after the March 2005 "Tulip Revolution" that ousted former President Askar Akayev, follows a relatively undistinguished career. Before 2005, Chudinov had several small business ventures, including part-ownership of a popular Bishkek restaurant (the "Admiral"). He also served as a high-level functionary within the Communist Party Youth Organization from 1986-1991. Chudinov worked briefly as an engineer following his 1983 graduation from the Kyrgyz National University with a degree in computer technology. After the March 2005 "Tulip Revolution," Chudinov assumed the top position at the national natural gas company, "Kyrgyzgaz," and subsequently became the first Minister of Industry, Energy and Fuel Resources when the ministry was created in February 2007. He held the ministerial job until his appointment as prime minister.
Rumored Links to the Bakiyev Family
4. (C) Chudinov's rapid ascent has generated much speculation regarding business connections to the Bakiyev family, especially to President Bakiyev's youngest son, BISHKEK 00000005 002.2 OF 002 Maxim. Maxim Bakiyev's name has been associated with various business activities to include banking and telecommunications in the Kyrgyz Republic. Maxim Bakiyev's interests are also believed to extend to the Kyrgyz electricity sector, which suffers from substantial "technical losses" and theft. PM Chudinov, as well as his successor at the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Fuel Resources, Saparbek Balkibekov, are well-placed to protect Bakiyev family interests in the electricity and energy sectors. Given President Bakiyev's selection and endorsement of Chudinov, it is unlikely that Chudinov would interfere in any Bakiyev family business interests.
Other Political Considerations
5. (C) Aside from (substantial) business considerations, Chudinov's appointment as prime minister also has other benefits for the Bakiyev family. Unlike two of his recent predecessors (Felix Kulov and Almazbek Atambayev), Chudinov has no separate political following and does not present a challenge to the Bakiyevs. In a country with geographic, clan-based allegiances, an ethnic Russian "outsider" can be viewed as a "neutral actor." Chudinov's ethnicity could also benefit ties with Moscow. While previous Embassy interaction with Chudinov indicates that he is intelligent and open-minded, PM Chudinov has never publicly contradicted President Bakiyev's policies and is very circumspect in his public remarks.
6. (C) This combination of factors makes Chudinov an ideal candidate to tackle contentious issues such as hikes in natural gas and electricity tariffs, pushing through an agreement on the Canadian-run Kumtor gold mine, food price inflation and other topics. PM Chudinov will likely oversee the "privatization" of significant electricity and energy sector assets (to the potential benefit of the Bakiyev family and other connected interests), while also pursuing the completion of the multi-billion dollar Kambarata hydroelectric complex. While the longevity of recent Kyrgyz prime ministers does not provide PM Chudinov a sense of job security, unlike recent prime ministers he is truly President Bakiyev's hand-picked candidate. His longevity, though, will depend on the extent to which he can deliver on Bakyiev's pledge to bring economic growth to the Kyrgyz Republic.
UNCLAS BISHKEK 000057 SENSITIVE SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KPAO, KG SUBJECT: KYRGYZSTAN: AMBASSADOR ATTENDS BELL SANCTIFICATION CEREMONY AT RECONSTRUCTED ORTHODOX CHURCH REF: 2009 BISHKEK 1296
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On January 13, the Ambassador attended a ceremony for the blessing of nine new bells at a newly reconstructed Russian Orthodox Church. The ceremony was also attended by First Lady Tatiana Bakiyeva. The appearance of the First Lady was notable as she does not make many public appearances and might have been a vehicle for increasing the profile of the Kyrgyz First Family. The event, however, was partially hijacked by a ham-handed effort by Russian diplomats to promote Russia. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) The blessing ceremony was for nine church bells donated to the newly reconstructed Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Leninskoye Village. The bells were donated by a wealthy young Russian entrepreneur, Vladimir Kirik, who has resided for many years in Kyrgyzstan and is the head of the Sailing Federation of Kyrgyzstan. First Lady Tatyana Bakiyeva attended the ceremony, which was presided over by the Archbishop of Central Asia and Tashkent Vladimir.
3. (SBU) The First Lady, who rarely makes public appearances, arrived with only a driver and no apparent security. When she went into the crowd, most attendees did not seem to realize who she was and simply asked each other: "Who,s that lady in the red hat?" The First Lady promptly took her place on the low wooden podium between Kirik and the Russian Charge d,Affaires. On her right, Kirik bowed and crossed himself devoutly at every opportunity. By contrast, the Charge d,Affaires stood scowling and ram-rod straight.
4. (SBU) The Ambassador met Kirik at a later event and commented to him about the informal protocol of the ceremony, including lack of pomp and circumstance for the First Lady. He said that was intentional, as the Orthodox Church of Kyrgyzstan had insisted that this should be a simple ceremony for believers and not hijacked into a "pro-Bakiyev political event." However, he bemoaned loudly that the Russian Embassy had instead succeeded in hijacking the event. According to Kirik, only he and Tatyana Bakiyeva were supposed to share the podium. Instead, the Russian Charge d,Affaires arrived early and commandeered a place on it. No persuasion from event organizers could succeed in getting him to relinquish his perch. "The First Lady was a real trooper about that," concluded Kirik."She didn,t complain and just took it in stride."
5. (U) Leninskoye Village was founded 100 years ago by Russian speaking settlers from Moldova, Ukraine and Russia, and the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin was first built around that time. The church was destroyed during Stalin,s rule and was only recently rebuilt with the help of the local government administration. The town has a population of 12,000 people, mainly of Russian ethnicity.
6. (SBU) COMMENT: The First Lady's participation in the ceremony was widely covered by the media and may be part of a strategy to raise the profile of the First Family. The government is also concerned with growing Islamic religious extremism (reftel) and this public event may have been aimed at demonstrating Kyrgyzstan,s multi-ethnic and multi-religious character. END COMMENT.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 000700 SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2019 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, ECON, KG SUBJECT: KYRGYZ ELITE FAWN OVER PRESIDENT'S SON BISHKEK 00000700 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Lee Litzenberger, Reaso ns 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: Much of Kyrgyzstan's political and business elite gathered to celebrate the opening of presidential son Maxim Bakiyev's new hotel at Lake Issyk Kul on June 20. The private event featured pop stars from Moscow and Europe, plenty of alcohol, and a raft of bodyguards. Maxim was clearly the center of attention, even as some grumbled behind his back about his domination of Kyrgyzstan's economy. Russian Ambassador Vlasov moved through the crowd like a trusted friend. END SUMMARY
AN OFFER YOU CAN'T REFUSE
2. (C) Kyrgyzstan's political and business elite gathered on the shore of Lake Issyk Kul the evening of June 20 to celebrate the opening of presidential son Maxim Bakiyev's new hotel, the Vityaz. Emboff was unexpectedly included in this event of approximately 200 people after traveling to Issyk Kul with the Director of the State Agency on Sports, Aleksandr Voinov. Voinov said he was required to make an appearance at the opening of the hotel along with others in the government of ministerial rank, as well as members of parliament and oblast governors. Voinov claimed that leading businessmen had been "invited" to buy invitations to the event for $10-15,000 to finance the opening. Voinov commented that "government officials and businessmen could in principle refuse to attend, but then their jobs and business interests would be in jeopardy."
MAXIM AT THE CENTER
3. (C) The main focus of the event was not the hotel, which nearly all attendees commented was done shoddily and in poor taste, but Maxim and his entourage. Maxim arrived at a nearby airport in his private plane, traveled to the hotel in a large motorcade with police escort, and moved around the party itself with eight bodyguards. Maxim mingled among the guests with his official wife Aijana (he is well known to have another girlfriend) on one side and Prime Minister Igor Chudinov on the other. Neither Aijana nor Chudinov looked happy to be there.
4. (C) Many businessmen appeared eager to curry favor with Maxim, and waited in nervous anticipation for the person they called "the boss" to arrive. The businessmen stood at attention when Maxim came near, but many then made snide comments after he moved on. One businessman asked: "What kind of country are we living in when all of us, including poor Igor (Chudinov), have to kiss up to the son just to stay in business?" Several businessmen said they had been asked to spend the night at this hotel as a sign of support, but chose to stay elsewhere, feeling that they had done enough by showing up for the dinner and concert. Voinov commented that Maxim may well need his security detail after taking over the businesses of so many people in the country.
THE FEW THAT DID FIT IN
5. (C) A number of the guests appeared quite at ease with Maxim. Perhaps the most high profile of the guests was AsiaUniversalBank (AUB) Chairman Mikhail Nadal, who acted like the second host of the party, loudly toasting with the men and making advances at the women. He took a group of people to watch him swim in the lake, where his bodyguards followed him into the water.
6. (C) Russian Ambassador Vlasov blended seamlessly with the Kyrgyz political and business elite, telling stories, asking questions, downing vodka toasts, and dancing to pop music. BISHKEK 00000700 002.2 OF 002 Many of the guests treated him as a trusted friend. One Kyrgyz Member of Parliament ran up to Vlasov, saying "We got the order directly from the American President. So it's going to happen (the Manas airbase staying), but you should know it's all about the money. There's nothing we can do at this point." Vlasov did not seem surprised, but answered sharply: "I know it's about the money, but I want to see all the details of the money."
7. (C) This slice of Kyrgyz elite interaction seems to confirm what we have heard elsewhere about the dominant role of Maxim Bakiyev in the Kyrgyz economy, although the amount of grumbling from some in attendance might indicate that any loyalty is thin. Even otherwise loyal officials like Voinov complained that the President is letting his son get away with too much -- and that these excesses will hurt the family and country in the end.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BISHKEK 000744 SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/15/2019 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, KG SUBJECT: KYRGYZSTAN: DINNER AT MAXIM'S BISHKEK 00000744 001.2 OF 004 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Lee Litzenberger, Reason 1.4 (b) and ( d).
1. (C) Summary. Over dinner with Charge, President Bakiyev's youngest son Maxim claimed credit for masterminding the Kyrgyz decision to keep the Manas Air Base operational by calling it a "Transit Center." He claimed Russia is mad at Kyrgyzstan over the Transit Center, and was interested in the U.S. transit agreement with Russia signed at the recent summit. Maxim also discussed the upcoming presidential election, and told Charge that his father planned to announce far-reaching reforms following his re-election. Maxim plans a private trip to the U.S. in August, accompanied by FM Sarbayev, and would like to meet informally with U.S. officials. End Summary.
2. (C) President Bakiyev has two sons by his ethnic Russian wife. The elder, Marat, is Ambassador to Germany. The younger, Maxim, is 32 and a businessman widely believed to have financial stakes in key sectors of the Kyrgyz economy. According to FM Kadyrbek Sarbayev, Maxim, who has no official government position, also played a key role in persuading President Bakiyev to reverse his February decision to close the USAF base at Bishkek's Manas International Airport and instead negotiate a new "Transit Center" agreement to allow the U.S. to continue to use this facility in support of coalition operations in Afghanistan. During the July 11 exchange of diplomatic notes that brought the new Transit Agreements into force, Sarbayev told Charge that, in fact, the whole concept of a new agreement based on changing the name and allowing operations to continue as normal, was Maxim's. He, Sarbayev, had only been the "executor" of the idea.
Impromptu Dinner Invitation
3. (C) On July 13, after the very successful July 11-12 visit by U/S Burns and a senior interagency delegation to discuss ways to enhance relations following the entry into force of the Transit Center agreements, FM Sarbayev called Charge to invite him to dinner that evening. He indicated that a "third party" would join, and speaking cryptically conveyed the message that the third party would be Maxim. "We'll celebrate with cigars and scotch," he added. Sarbayev called back later in the evening with the time and place: 8:45 p.m. at the Luxor Restaurant. (Note. The Luxor is widely believed to be owned by Maxim, and was the restaurant FM Sarbayev used in April to host the U.S. team under Ambassador McDonald that negotiated the new Transit Center agreements. End Note.)
4. (C) Charge arrived promptly at 8:45 p.m. at the main restaurant. Staff there looked confused, and asked who he was and who he was waiting for. A few hushed phone calls later, and the staff returned and apologized and escorted Charge out of the main restaurant to an annex on the side and up a covered entryway to a second story private dining area, where they left Charge. The room, almost tastefully decorated in black leather and chrome, featured a dining table set for six in the middle, a game table and seating area in the back, a flat screen TV on the wall showing Russian news, and a well-stocked bar. A few minutes later, Sarbayev called, saying he was running late, and asked the Charge where he was. When told, "at the restaurant," Sarbayev said, "Stay in the car; I'll be there soon." When told the Charge was already in the upper dining area, Sarbayev said, "Ok, I'll be right there." Two minutes later, an extremely well-appointed Sarbayev rushed in, relieved to see that Maxim had not yet arrived. "This room is for Maxim only," Sarbayev shared, and then nervously indicated where he BISHKEK 00000744 002.2 OF 004 and Charge should stand to receive Maxim. Minutes later, noise outside indicated the host had arrived. A relaxed, somewhat pudgy and balding Maxim entered, wearing a T-shirt and slacks, and sporting a two-day beard.
Maxim: The Transit Center Was My Idea
5. (C) After pleasantries, Charge thanked Maxim for his support for the new Transit Center arrangements. Sarbayev quickly interjected, "I told him about your role." Maxim claimed that, working through American "friends" in Washington, he had agreed the outlines of the new arrangement ("change the name, keep the operation") even before the U.S. negotiating team arrived in April. At one point, Maxim said, when the U.S. team was resisting the Kyrgyz proposal to replace all references to "military personnel" with the term "Department of Defense personnel," Maxim called his friends in Washington to fix the problem. Maxim claimed Washington instructed the negotiating team to accept the Kyrgyz proposal.
Russia is Mad, But In a Box
6. (C) In response to Charge's question, Maxim indicated that his support for the turnaround on Manas entailed some risk, but said his background as a futures trader made him comfortable with risk. "I saw that a deal was needed, and stepped in to set it up," he said. He claimed the Russians were mad, and were trying to punish Kyrgyzstan, but they were in a box, given Medvedev's statement in February that the future of Manas was a sovereign decision of Kyrgyzstan. As Russian news on the TV reported on the closing of a Moscow market where many Kyrgyz expatriates are employed, Maxim would point to the screen and say, "See, this is what they are doing." He also said Moscow had also taken steps to shut down the operations of Kyrgyz Asia Universal Bank (AUB) in Russia. "They think I am linked to AUB. I could care less about this bank." (Note. Maxim is widely rumored to have a hidden interest in AUB, which has sought OPIC investments. End Note.) Maxim said that he used to do business in Russia but, two years ago, after seeing how duplicitous and crude the Russians were, he divested all his business interests in Russia. (Comment. Opposition leaders claim then-President Putin complained directly to Bakiyev about Maxim's less than honorable business deals in Russia, and told Bakiyev his son was not welcome in Russia. End Comment.)
The Joke's on Moscow
7. (C) Maxim, clearly pleased with his role in outfoxing Moscow, relayed a joke to Charge. Putin and Medvedev are sitting around. Medvedev says, "Volodya, what have these Kyrgyz done to us?" Putin replies, "I know, I know, Dima, it's unbelievable. But it has me thinking, and I have an idea. Why don't we call our naval base in Sevastopol a "Water Park?"
U.S. Training Camp in Kyrgyzstan?
8. (C) Maxim claimed to have met recently with his American "friends" in Istanbul, where he claimed the Americans reacted positively to his suggestion that the U.S. should build a Special Forces training camp in Kyrgyzstan. Troops heading to Afghanistan, he said, could come to the camp "for a month of training and acclimatization to the region." Maxim indicated training could be joint, with Kyrgyz special forces, or U.S.-only. Charge indicated that cooperation in this area could be greatly enhanced if the Kyrgyz side could resolve the issue of U.S. special forces weapons that were seized in August, 2008. Maxim took the point, but did not respond.
U.S. Transit Agreement with Moscow
9. (C) Maxim and Sarbayev were also very interested in the BISHKEK 00000744 003.2 OF 004 U.S. agreement with Russia for the transit of lethal goods over and through Russia. Maxim asked if this meant the next step was for the U.S. to negotiate overflight and transit rights with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, so that planes flying over Russia could continue to Manas. Charge demurred, saying he was not aware of the details of the various transit arrangements already in place or being negotiated, but that the agreement with Russia was an important step forward.
10. (C) Both Sarbayev and Maxim asked for Charge's help in arranging a visit for President Bakiyev to Washington. Charge indicated such things required careful preparation, and much work remained to be done -- including seeing how the July 23 election proceeds. Charge reviewed concerns such as the harassment of opposition leaders, attacks on journalists, and concerns about government efforts to control internet use and access, that together raised questions about the fairness of the election process. Maxim said that the elections will be calm, and there will be no unrest afterwards, despite the claims of opposition leaders. He added, "You won't believe the broad reform program we will announce after the election. It will go way beyond what you could imagine. It will put Kyrgyzstan far ahead of any of its neighbors," but declined to elaborate further.
Private Trip to the U.S. in August -- Can you help?
11. (C) Sarbayev had earlier indicated to Charge that Sarbayev wanted to bring his ten year old son to see the U.S. in August, and that Maxim might accompany them. At dinner, Maxim confirmed this, saying he planned to travel to California and Washington. He asked if Charge could help arrange informal meetings with officials of the State Department and the NSC while he was in Washington. Charge said he would pass the information to Washington, but said August was a vacation period and many people would be away. Maxim did not provide specific dates for his travel, but he and Sarbayev asked for assistance in obtaining visas for the trip. At the end of the three hour dinner, Maxim said he hoped to stay in touch with the Embassy, and would welcome meeting the Ambassador. He said he knew that Charge had undoubtedly heard "all kinds of things" about him, and extended the dinner invitation to show the Embassy "that I don't eat people."
12. (C) Maxim was calm throughout, including when Charge raised sensitive issues such as concerns about the election and the seizure of U.S. special forces weapons. His actions indicated he is slightly spoiled: he was impatient whenever a waiter appeared to serve or clear dishes, because in each instance he stopped talking to wait until the room was clear. Prior to sitting down to the table, Maxim and Sarbayev switched off their cell phones (the latter taking out his battery and SIM card, which is his usual practice.) Maxim exhibited relatively refined tastes -- he said his favorite wine was Opus 1, his favorite single malt scotch was Macallen (followed closely by Japanese Suntori), and he enjoys cigars. He offered Charge a Dominican Republic cigar carrying a label that said, "Maksim Bakiyev -- Kyrgyzstan" and a Kyrgyz Flag on it. Maxim said his American friends sent him the vanity cigars; he also boasted a humidor filled with Cuban and other cigars. Sarbayev was extremely deferential to Maxim, as were the waiters. The sushi dinner was served on a personal plate for Maxim, with a shared plate for the FM and Charge. When the plates arrived, Maxim looked displeased, and said, "You could have brought one plate for us all." At one point in the evening, when Maxim offered to re-light Charge's cigar, Sarbayev's eyes popped out at seeing Maxim defer to Charge with this gesture. BISHKEK 00000744 004.2 OF 004
13. (C) Maxim was clearly reaching out to the Embassy, and wants to present himself as a backchannel to the President and a sounding board to discuss developments in the country. He was extremely pleased with himself for his alleged (though likely exaggerated) behind-the-scenes role in masterminding the Transit Center agreements, and outmaneuvering both Moscow and the many domestic advisors to President Bakiyev who support closer ties to Russia. One of those advisors, Bakiyev's brother Janysh, is often rumored to be Maxim's main nemesis in what many interlocutors describe as a struggle for succession.
14. (C) The Embassy has not had contact with Maxim in recent years, due to his unofficial status and the many rumors about his questionable efforts to obtain financial control over many sectors of business. Nevertheless, in the wake of the new Transit Center agreements, Maxim's favorable disposition towards the United States could be of benefit to our interests.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 000813 SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/25/2019 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, KDEM, PINR, KG SUBJECT: KYRGYZ PRESIDENT'S SON TALKS ELECTIONS AND REFORMS WITH AMBASSADOR REF: A. BISHKEK 812 B. BISHKEK 744 BISHKEK 00000813 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Amb. Tatiana Gfoeller, Reason 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: Over lunch July 25 with the Ambassador and DCM, President Bakiyev's son Maxim claimed that the Kyrgyz Central Election Commission would void any questionable protocols from the July 23 Presidential election. He hinted that the government would soon pursue civil service reform in order to create a more transparent system that would tackle government corruption. He also expressed the intention to establish open economic conditions in the country, and cited China as an example. Maxim Bakiyev praised recent successes by Kyrgyz security forces against extremist elements in the south, but worried about the influence of an expanding number of Saudi-financed mosques. The lunch, and an earlier engagement with the DCM, seem to indicate a desire by Maxim to establish an informal working relationship with the Embassy. End summary.
July 23 Election and OSCE Findings
2. (C) During a July 25 lunch with the Ambassador and DCM, Maxim Bakiyev (President Bakiyev's son), who was joined by Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbayev, said he had been on the President's "election team" leading up to the July 23 Kyrgyz Presidential election. Maxim told the Ambassador that the Central Election Commission (CEC) has been advised not to count any questionable protocols. (Note: Protocols of vote tallies originate at each polling station. End Note.) He claimed that if all observers had not signed the protocols, or if there were any disputes about the numbers, then the CEC would throw out those protocols. However, Maxim concluded, "it does not matter if he received 55% or 85% of the vote, President Bakiyev was reelected." He added that he thought the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe statement on the election (reftel A cites the OSCE's preliminary findings) had been premature because, he reasoned, not all the protocols had been reviewed. Maxim noted that the CEC review of complaints would result in the final tallies not being released for a few days. (Note: According to the electoral code, the CEC has until July 28 to publish the results. However, it is not clear how seriously the CEC will consider complaints. End Note.)
Civil Service Reform Coming?
3. (C) Elaborating on plans for reform he previously mentioned to the DCM (reftel B), Maxim Bakiyev said the government would be pursuing civil service reforms soon. He told the Ambassador that Kyrgyzstan needed a transparent and professional civil service in order to eliminate corruption. Maxim admitted that the reforms would upset many people currently in government, and even, he noted, some in the Bakiyev family. U.S. support for civil service reforms, he said, could help refute these critics. His father, he claimed, wanted this reform to be one of his historical "legacies" for the country.
4. (C) Civil service reform, Maxim continued, would contribute to a cleaner and more transparent economy where businesses would pay taxes, and not finance criminals or pay bribes. Both he and the Foreign Minister highlighted the Chinese model of economic reform, and envisioned ways to import Chinese economic conditions to Kyrgyzstan. "Maybe," they suggested, "building more golf courses would attract more foreign businessmen." Countering Extremism -------------------- BISHKEK 00000813 002.2 OF 002
5. (C) Maxim Bakiyev praised the results of Kyrgyz counter-terrorism operations in southern Kyrgyzstan. (Note: Kyrgyz special forces have killed at least nine "Islamic extremists" and detained several others. End Note.) He said Islamic extremism was a "real threat" to the country, and lamented the large increase in Saudi-funded mosques in Kyrgyzstan. Maxim added that the government wanted to exercise greater control over what is said in mosques around the country. (Note: Kyrgyz security services routinely have personnel attending -- and presumably reporting on -- religious services. End Note.)
6. (C) Maxim is often viewed as leading an allegedly pro-Western camp among the President's family and close advisors that is in rivalry with a more pro-Russian, anti-reform camp led by his uncle Janysh for his father's attention. It is clear that this lunch and his previous engagement with the DCM are designed to establish a relationship with the Embassy.
UNCLAS STATE 078275 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL, MARR, KG SUBJECT: HATFIELD CASE TALKING POINTS FOR THE KYRGYZ GOVERNMENT REF: DAS KROL EMAIL 7/27/2009
1. (U) ACTION REQUEST: Department requests that Post deliver the points in paragraphs 2-10 on the Hatfield Case to the government of the Kyrgyz Republic on Tuesday, July 28 and report delivery that same day. To support parallel action here in the United States, it is critical that these points be delivered on July 28.
Hatfield Case Talking Points for the Kyrgyz Government
2. (U) The U.S. Air Force (USAF) convening authority decided not to refer criminal charges to a court-martial against Senior Airman (SrA) Zachary Hatfield for the December 2006 shooting of Alexander Ivanov, a Kyrgyz truck driver, at a check point at Manas Air Base [now Manas Transit Center]. [IF ASKED] A charge of unpremeditated murder was preferred against SrA Hatfield on February 20, 2009. A hearing associated with an Article 32 investigation conducted pursuant to the Uniform Code of Military Justice was held between March 31 and April 2, 2009 to investigate the charge. The Article 32 Investigating Officer submitted a report to the Convening Authority that included his recommendation regarding whether or not the charge should be referred to trial by court-martial or whether a different charge or other disposition would be appropriate. After reviewing the report of the Article 32 investigation and considering the advice of his staff judge advocate, the Convening Authority dismissed the charge against SrA Hatfield.
3. (U) The decision not to refer criminal charges to a court-martial was made by an independent USAF court-martial convening authority who, based on his own professional and impartial judgment of the facts of the case and the evidence that was available, determined that a criminal trial would not be appropriate. As a judicial matter, this case is now closed. [IF ASKED] Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a convening authority generally does not explain his or her rationale for a referral decision, so as to preserve the impartiality and independence of the military justice system. I do not know the rationale for the convening authority's decision. He is under no obligation to explain his decision, he has not done so in this case, and I do not anticipate he will do so. [IF ASKED] The convening authority in this case was the U.S. Air Mobility Command commander, General Arthur Lichte. The fact that the USAF chose a highly experienced and mature commander and a four-star general officer to decide on the disposition of this case demonstrates the seriousness and importance the USAF attaches to it. [IF ASKED] General Lichte was chosen specifically because he was not involved in previous investigations into this case and is not in SrA Hatfield's chain of command.
4. (U) The judicial process in this case was admittedly lengthy, but it was thorough and impartial from start to finish. The amount of time and resources dedicated to the case should demonstrate the seriousness the U.S. Government and the USAF attach to it. The USAF investigation lasted more than 13 months, involving more than 80 agents from the USAF Office of Special Investigations who interviewed more than 160 witnesses. [ONLY IF PRESSED FURTHER] I will look into whether we can release any more details of the investigation. We have strived to be as transparent as possible, but we are constrained by laws that protect the privacy of individuals who are involved as subjects of and witnesses to alleged crimes.
5. (U) The U.S. deeply regrets this tragedy and takes any loss of life seriously. The U.S military operates around the world and is very sensitive to the needs of the local people. We have the highest respect for the Kyrgyz people and have made every effort possible under U.S. law to be transparent and responsive to local sensitivities.
6. (U) The Secretary of Defense has approved an additional $250,000 ex gratia payment to Mrs. Ivanova in sympathy for her loss. Immediately after the shooting, the USAF made a $1,000 interim payment to Mrs. Ivanova in sympathy and to defray funeral expenses. In 2007, the Department of Defense made a $55,000 ex gratia payment.
7. (U) SrA Hatfield's commander has taken significant administrative actions against him that will have long-lasting effects and negatively affect his career. [IF PRESSED] The specific nature of these administrative actions is information protected from release by the Privacy Act. The U.S. Government may not release such information without his consent.
8. (U) We should make every effort to ensure that this decision does not set U.S.-Kyrgyz relations back, as we begin a new and, I expect, positive chapter in our relationship.
9. (U) Going forward, I trust that we will both be committed to ensuring that no similar tragedy occurs in the future. Kyrgyz interpreters are now posted at all gates to facilitate interaction with local nationals; the main airfield gate is now jointly staffed with U.S. and Manas International Airport security personnel, providing joint control over access to the flight line; the USAF has trained and equipped its security personnel with non-lethal security equipment; and vehicle inspection requirements have been reduced by constructing a facility outside the boundaries of the Transit Center for trucks to off-load fuel.
10. (U) The U.S. will not make public statements on this case. The Air Force will inform SrA Hatfield soon about the disposition of the case. There is no way to prevent SrA Hatfield from speaking publicly about it, but we have no reason to believe that he will. Eventually, the Air Force may need to respond to queries on the case. End talking points.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BISHKEK 001065 C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (SECURITY CLASSIFICATION CHANGED) SIPDIS STATE FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/21/2019 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KG SUBJECT: LUNCH WITH MAX: SOUP TO NUTS REF: BISHKEK 1058 BISHKEK 00001065 001.2 OF 003 Classified By: Ambassador Tatiana C. Gfoeller, for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (S) Summary: In a wide-ranging lunch, Maxim Bakiyev, son of President Bakiyev, and Kyrgyz FM Sarbaev argued that the $20 million Economic Development Fund needs to be a new kind of assistance, targeted strategically toward the development of the country and its integration into the world economy. Bakiyev described Russian machinations against the U.S. and his own intelligence efforts against the Russians, complained about personal attacks on him by an organization connected to the National Democratic Institute, and stated that the Russians have not come through with the $2 billion they had promised for the Kamburata 2 hydroelectric project. Bakiyev came across as very pro-U.S., well educated, and dedicated to the betterment of his country. Of course, we have information from many other sources suggesting that he is also very dedicated to his own advancement and corrupt financial interests. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Ambassador and DCM had lunch with Maxim Bakiyev, the son of President Bakiyev and Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbaev on September 18, at the invitation of the Foreign Minister. Plov, Manti and other Central Asian delicacies were served at one of the guest houses on the Presidential compound. The tone of the hosts was extremely warm and friendly, and the conversation was open and wide ranging.
3. (C) Sarbaev and the Ambassador began with a short discussion of the delivery, the day before, of the Department of Defense check for $250,000 to Marina Ivanova, the widow of the man killed in the Hatfield case. The Ambassador thanked Sarbaev for facilitating delivery of the check. Bakiyev noted that the Russians had played an unhelpful role with Mrs. Ivanova. He said they had met with her in July and tried to convince her to come out in the press again to denounce the U.S. and call again for the closing of the U.S. base. Kyrgyz officials had then met with her, he said, and convinced her that it was not in her interests to become a pawn in a fight between the U.S. and Russia.
4. (S) Bakiyev followed up by noting that the Russians play an unhelpful role in many issues. However, he said, "I have my own very good computer experts, and we are able to intercept and read FSB communications." In that way, he said, they keep abreast of what the Russians are doing. He said that he had read intercepts from the FSB regarding his own efforts to put together a team of experts to study the needs of the country (further described in para 8 below). The Russians had concluded that the Americans must be behind the effort, as it was too well put together to be Kyrgyz, he said, commenting that the Russians are racist in their view of the Kyrgyz.
And Democracy Activists Meddling, Too
5. (C) There were also problematic people within Kyrgyzstan, Bakiyev said. Just a few months ago articles attacking him personally began appearing on the website compromat.ru. His computer people had been able to trace them back to "purported" democracy activist Tolekan Ismailova, director of the Human Rights Center "Citizens against Corruption" which receives grants from the National Democratic Institute of the U.S. (Ismailova was arrested and released on July 30, 2009 for protesting the presidential election.) Bakiyev was unaware of a major article in the Kyrgyz press that very morning which stated that he, Maxim Bakiyev, is the power behind the throne in Kyrgyzstan, and that he wields that power with the acquiescence and at the direction of the USG (via the CIA).
The Trips to the U.S., and the Elections
6. (U) The Ambassador and Sarbaev discussed the upcoming travel of the Prime Minister and Sarbaev himself to the U.S. for UNGA, consultations in Washington, and then Sarbaev's trip for discussions of the Annual Bilateral Consultations mechanism. Sarbaev noted that this is the first trip to the BISHKEK 00001065 002.3 OF 003 U.S. for the PM and that it is very important that it go well. Ambassador pointed out that the Kyrgyz delegation certainly must realize that U.S. concerns about human rights and democratization will be raised in many of the PM's meetings. He should be prepared to answer these questions in a positive and forthcoming manner. She also noted that slippage in the MCC indicators was also likely to be raised during the visit.
7. (U) Bakiyev picked up on the Ambassador's comments to state that the GOKG is very positive and proactive in its response to all these issues. It considers them to be very important. "When the OSCE criticized the presidential elections," he stated, "we asked them to be specific. What were the deficiencies? Which were the districts where fraud had taken place? We told them that we would annul the results from any polling stations where there had been fraud. We got no response from them."
Development, the EDF, and Thinking Strategic
8. (SBU) Bakiyev then broadened the subject by stating, in terms that echoed what the PM told the Ambassador this week (REFTEL), that they have brought together experts from many different fields to discuss what needs to be done in the country. Their desire to reform the institutions of Kyrgyzstan was reflected in Bakiyev's September 1 speech. However, he said, the country simply does not have the kind of economic expertise it needs in order to put together a real plan for development. That was what they hoped would come of the new $20 million Economic Development Fund (EDF). They would like to have a high-powered economic consultancy come in, someone like Price Waterhouse, who could put together a study of Kyrgyzstan's place in the world economy and what the country needs to do to spur integration and development.
9. (SBU) Donor support, and especially USAID, brought these sorts of consultants to Kyrgyzstan in the early 1990s, Bakiyev said, but they were always focused narrowly on an already defined set of projects which were imported from abroad -- like privatization. There was never a study of Kyrgyzstan's potential and the barriers to development which took a look at what overall strategy the country should pursue and how to implement it. This was what they needed and wanted -- and the Kyrgyz themselves should be the ones to put together the questions which should be put to the consultants, since they knew their country best.
10. (SBU) Ambassador responded that the proposed structure of the fund, now on the Prime Minister's desk in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, would allow the GOKG to propose just such a study, if that was what they believed was needed. Bakiyev reiterated that the need was to gain an understanding of the place Kyrgyzstan should occupy in the world economy and how to take advantage of its opportunities in order to develop. "We do not want this money for ourselves," he said, "but we want to ensure that it is not used in traditional, unhelpful, assistance projects, but instead in something that is really well thought through."
11. (SBU) Bakiyev noted that one of Kyrgyzstan's natural advantages was its hydroelectric power potential. He expressed support for CASAREM and bemoaned the delays in funding by the Asian Development Bank. Ambassador asked about the status of the Kamburata 2 hydro electric project. Bakiyev responded that the Russians had not yet come through with the promised loan of $2 billion. He noted that the final cost of the project is not yet clear, given that construction would take about eight years and input prices are not stable.
Comment: Smart, Corrupt, and a Good Ally to Have
12. (C) Maxim Bakiyev is smart and well educated. He was able to discuss subjects ranging from early European history to economics without any strain at all. He is apparently a voracious reader, and said he is currently reading Greenspan's Age of Turbulence. According to many sources of widely varying credibility, he is also corrupt and benefiting economically from his father's power. Statements he made during this lunch suggest that he could still be an ally on issues important to the USG, ranging from his support for the BISHKEK 00001065 003.2 OF 003 Transit Center's continued operations to economic reform. It was interesting to note that, while the convener of this lunch was the Foreign QxMe,Qas2evQ talking points on the Economic Development Fund were very similar to those the Prime Minister used with the Ambassador this week. Clearly Bakiyev has influence and access through a broad swath of the government. While this is a relationship which must be cultivated carefully, we believe it is also a relationship which can pay important dividends for the USG.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 001082 SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (GORKOWSKI) E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2019 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KG SUBJECT: OPPOSITION LEADER WANTS HELP FROM U.S. BISHKEK 00001082 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Charge D'Affaires Larry L. Memmott for Reasons 1.4 (b) a nd (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: Roza Otunbayeva, a former Foreign Minister and current Member of Parliament for the Social Democrat Party, met with the Charge on September 25. Otunbayeva criticized the U.S., the OSCE, and other Western countries for their silence as the Presidential election was stolen and opposition activists were arrested. Otunbayeva said that since former Chief of Staff Medet Sadyrkulov left the Administration, the opposition has had no reliable interlocutor with the government. Acting for the United People's Movement, Otunbayeva has requested a meeting with the President, but hasn't gotten a response. Otunbayeva described an opposition movement that is broken down, broke, and largely discouraged. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Roza Otunbayeva, a former Foreign Minister and current Member of Parliament for the Social Democrat Party (SDPK), met with the Charge on September 25. She began the meeting by criticizing Western governments and institutions for their silence over the past months, saying "we in the opposition have been left completely alone." She requested U.S. assistance in pushing back against legal assaults on opposition members by the government, saying, "we want you to find the best way to help the opposition."
3. (C) Otunbayeva said that since former Presidential Chief of Staff Medet Sadyrkulov left the Administration in 2008, the opposition has had no reliable interlocutor, and essentially has no dialogue with the government. In a September 1 speech, President Bakiyev called for renewed dialogue with social groups, including the opposition. Otunbayeva said that the joint opposition group, the United People's Movement, selected her to open a dialogue with the government, and she agreed because she wanted to try to do something about imprisoned opposition members. But so far, the President has not responded to their request for a meeting. The Secretariat requested some papers, so Otunbayeva believes the request is still under consideration.
4. (C) Otunbayeva described an opposition movement that is broken down, broke, and largely discouraged, with many of its leaders in jail or with serious legal problems. Green Party leader Erkin Bulekbayev has been jailed since April. Former Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov has withdrawn from politics after six months in jail. SDPK Parliamentary Leader Bakyt Beshimov is widely believed to have sought refuge in the U.S., and SDPK MP Kubanychbek Kadyrov, whose immunity was just lifted by parliament, is in hiding. Otunbayeva did not hide her disdain for those who went into hiding instead of continuing to fight. In contrast, she described Omurbek Tekebayev, Ismail Isakov and Azimbek Beknazarov approvingly, saying they are broke, jobless, and beset by legal troubles, but continue the opposition's struggle against Bakiyev.
5. (C) Otunbayeva noted that several children of opposition leaders also have legal troubles. Isakov's son, who is facing charges for accepting illegal gifts, has resigned his military commission and is in the U.S. seeking asylum. Beknazarov's son, who was charged with cheating a former business partner over a car deal, has requested and received refugee status from the UNHCR in Almaty. (Otunbayeva passed us a copy of a document to that effect from UNHCR and asked us to help him obtain asylum in the U.S. or Canada.) Jekshenkulov's son, accused of involvement in a nightclub brawl, is also attempting to register with the UNHCR, according to Otunbayeva.
6. (C) Like many Kyrgyz opposition leaders, Otunbayeva BISHKEK 00001082 002.6 OF 002 appears to hope for some intervention from the United States that could compel the Government to toe the line on its democratic commitments and stop persecuting members of the opposition. We will continue to address the treatment of the opposition in quiet meetings with the government, but we see little prospect that our efforts will effect significant change over the medium term.
C O N F I D E N T I A L BISHKEK 001201 SIPDIS STATE FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2019 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINS, KG SUBJECT: KYRGYZSTAN PROPOSES JOINT COUNTER-TERRORISM TRAINING CENTER IN SOUTH REF: BISHKEK 1199 Classified By: Ambassador Tatiana C. Gfoeller, for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: At a November 13 courtesy call meeting with the Ambassador, Maxim Bakiyev, the recently appointed Director of the Central Agency for Development, Investment and Innovation, requested the U.S. consider creating an international counter-terrorism training center in the southern Kyrgyz city of Batken. Bakiyev said the training center would be jointly U.S.-Kyrgyzstan operated and that it could host trainers and trainees from different countries, including Israel and Russia. Bakiyev argued that the long-term benefits of counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics training would improve Kyrgyzstan's overall security and stability. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) At a November 13 courtesy call meeting with the Ambassador, the Director of the newly formed Central Agency for Development, Investment and Innovation, Maxim Bakiyev, requested the U.S. consider creating an international counter-terrorism training center in the southern Kyrgyz city of Batken. The Ambassador's discussion on the economy and Bakiyev's economic reforms will be sent septel. Bakiyev, the son of President Bakiyev, said that Kyrgyzstan is interested in expanding its security cooperation with the U.S., noting positively the current small scale training the U.S. conducts with the Ministry of Defense and the Kyrgyz National Security Service "Alpha" Special Forces.
3. (C) Bakiyev said that U.S. soldiers and trainers would be able to provide long-term counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics training that would increase the overall security of the country. Bakiyev said that Kyrgyzstan would want other countries, such as Israel or even Russia, also to provide occasional "guest" training at the center. Other countries would also be able to receive training at the Batken training facility. Bakiyev highlighted the importance that the center maintain an "international" character, hinting that Kyrgyzstan's neighbors, including Uzbekistan, could object to the training center's location in southern Kyrgyzstan near the Uzbek border area. However, when the Ambassador asked him if he was concerned about "tweaking the Russian tiger's tail" with this initiative, he laughed and responded: "Maybe this tiger is a paper one after all."
4. (C) Bakiyev argued the benefits of locating the counter-terrorism training facility in Batken, noting that Batken was a large city in Kyrgyzstan's south, already possessed a military facility on which a counter-terrorism training center could be constructed, and the natural terrain of the area provided excellent training opportunities. Bakiyev compared the Batken counter-terrorism training center to the recent U.S.-funded construction of the Kyrgyz Special Forces compound at Tokmak outside Bishkek.
5. (C) COMMENT: Batken province is an active area for extremists and terrorists transiting to Afghanistan or Uzbekistan and has been the site of numerous armed attacks and violence in recent years. Supporting and expanding Kyrgyzstan's abilities to protect and secure its southern borders would be beneficial for the region and assist in securing the country's long-term stability.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 001274 SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/04/2019 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECON, KG SUBJECT: MAXIM BAKIYEV ON ECONOMIC AND SECURITY REFORMS REF: A. BISHKEK 1224 AND PREVIOUS B. BISHKEK 1208 AND PREVIOUS Classified By: CDA Larry L. Memmott, Reason 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) SUMMARY: In a meeting on November 24, Maxim Bakiyev, head of the Central Agency for Development, Innovation, and Investment expressed his views on the framework for implementation of the proposed U.S.-Kyrgyz Economic Development Fund, reiterated his interest in technical support to outline the reforms necessary for the Kyrgyz economy, suggested that the country needs extensive market-based reform and deregulation, expressed forcefully his commitment to strengthening and deepening bilateral relations with the U.S., and expressed interest in pursuing a radical agenda of defense reform. The wide-ranging conversation demonstrated someone who is well informed, highly influential, and has tremendous political ambition -- someone who clearly sees himself as a future president of Kyrgyzstan. For discussion of the FSN arrest case, see ref A. End Summary.
2. (C) Embassy received on November 18 extensive written comments from the staff of Maxim Bakiyev on the proposed MOU on the EDF. The comments centered on removing USAID and its contractors from the management of the Fund, replacing them with management by the Development Fund of the Kyrgyz Republic, which has been established by the Government to manage $300 million loaned to the Government by Russia earlier this year. We requested a meeting with Bakiyev to explain to him the need to have USAID manage the fund.
3. (C) Bakiyev agreed to the meeting, but surprised us by scheduling it for the evening at his sumptuous private office on the top floor of the Bank of Manas building. We spent two hours discussing a wide variety of issues.
EDF - Start With Economic Policy Review
4. (C) During the discussion of the proposed MOU for the U.S.-Kyrgyz Economic Development Fund (EDF), Bakiyev appeared to be particularly concerned about the overhead cost of USAID management. If a way could be found to use the full $20 million for projects, he would be much more amenable to USAID management, he said.
5. (C) Bakiyev's other major sticking point was his insistence that the board have authority to give final approval for projects. We explained that U.S. laws and regulations would have to be complied with in order for USG funds to be disbursed. That meant that USAID would have to approve disbursement of funds. However, if that were done as a step prior to board approval, our legal requirements would be met while his desire to have board approval be final would also be fulfilled.
6. (C) Bakiyev asked how soon the fund could be brought into operation. We noted that it would take some time to get all the management procedures into place. However, as we knew that he wanted to move quickly on a diagnostic consultancy project targeted at putting together a plan for economic reform, we could look at breaking that project out of the regular operation of the fund and might be able to have it in operation in some six months. Bakiyev agreed that it would be good to move that project quickly, as he said it was necessary in order to orient his economic team and everything they are trying to do.
7. (C) We agreed to hold a meeting between USAID and Central Agency staff during the next week to agree on further details of the mechanism for putting the EDF into operation.
8. (C) Bakiyev said he wanted to move quickly on deep economic reform. "You can't use the term publicly anymore, he said, but I think of myself as a 'neo-liberal.'" He BISHKEK 00001274 002 OF 002 repeated his statement (ref b), that he intends to "privatize everything."
Bakiyev Suggests Fundamental Security Reforms
9. (C) Bakiyev suggested that economic reform "touches everything." As an example, he used the Ministry of Defense. "With the Border Guards defending the borders, Ministry of Interior Forces keeping internal order and the State Security Service protecting government officers and offices, what is the Ministry of Defense doing?" he asked rhetorically. "Eating money," he answered himself. "And do the mothers and fathers of the conscripts forced into the military thank us for taking away their sons? Hardly! We need to move to an all-volunteer service," he concluded, pointing out that the country's security would be much better protected by "professional soldiers."
10. (C) We noted that there were benefits to organizing to international standards. While a more professional military would certainly be a boon and might be less expensive, as well, there were advantages to structuring the military under a Ministry of Defense. Perhaps an alternative would be to move all military-type forces into a single structure under a revamped Ministry of Defense, eliminating those which are duplicative or unnecessary. For the U.S., our ability to provide military assistance to units which are not part of the Ministry of Defense is more limited. Bakiyev clearly took this concern seriously.
Building the Bilateral Relationship
11. (C) Following up on the subject of U.S.-Kyrgyz military cooperation, Bakiyev said that our goal should be a continuous broadening and deepening of the bilateral relationship. We should make it our goal to get to a place where "you could keep your Transit Center forever! In fact, you could make it a full-fledged military base." We agreed that broader and deeper cooperation is our aim.
Comment: Confident and Ambitious
12. (C) Bakiyev again clearly stated his desire to work for fundamental changes in Kyrgyzstan, not only in economic development, but also in areas well outside his (current) official authority. His desire for an independent, outside review of Kyrgyzstan's economic policies is welcome. Of course, any comprehensive review would once again highlight the need to implement improved rule of law and anti-corruption policies. On the Economic Development Fund it is clear to us that not all concerns about the management of the Fund have been resolved and the proposed structure will still need to be developed in discussions with Bakiyev and his staff.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 001302 SIPDIS DEPT FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/18/2019 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KG SUBJECT: OPPOSITION BELIEVES GOVERNMENT REFORMS WILL LEAD TO MAKSIM BAKIYEV AS PRESIDENT Classified By: Ambassador Tatiana C. Gfoeller, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador met with Roza Otunbayeva, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current leader of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) Parliamentary faction. Otunbayeva was uniformly negative (as expected) with regards to the recently announced Government reforms and the proposed changes to the Kyrgyz Constitution, and believed the ultimate motivation for the moves was to increase the President,s authority and pave the way for his son Maxim Bakiyev to ascend to the Presidency. End Summary.
2. (C) On December 15 the Ambassador discussed with Otunbayeva the state of the SDPK and the opposition in general, and her views on the recently announced Government reorganization. Otunbayeva was extremely pessimistic about the Government,s reform plans, and was particularly outraged with a draft law of Constitutional amendments submitted to Parliament earlier that day that would legalize the reforms announced by President Bakiyev in October.
3. (C) Otunbayeva stated that the Government,s position had been ill thought out and even illegal, and was hopeful that the draft law approving these policies would not be approved by Parliament. Otunbayeva stated there was no legal justification for the creation of the Presidential Institute and that the powerful, policy-making authorities of the Institute were unconstitutional. Otunbayeva also criticized the President's plans to change the Constitution and make the Presidential Institute the next in line for succession of government authority after the President (Currently the Speaker of Parliament is next in line). She said that such a move would further dilute Parliament and represented a grab for power by the Bakiyev family.
4. (C) Otunbayeva was equally negative when discussing the newly formed Central Agency for Development, Innovation and Investment, led by Maxim Bakiyev. Otunbayeva again believed the Agency was illegal and unconstitutional, and that it would swallow-up or marginalize the existing Ministries with economic responsibilities. Otunbayeva confided in the Ambassador her belief that the upcoming 11-day closure of the Government for New Year's and Orthodox Christmas was actually a cover for a planned coup d'tat.
5. (C) The Ambassador questioned Otunbayeva about the actual goals of the reorganization as opposed to the Government,s stated goals of producing a smaller, more efficient system. Otunbayeva opined that the reforms were a move to consolidate power in the hands of the President and to ensure a smooth transition of power to a member of the President,s family.
6. (C) When questioned by the Ambassador which Bakiyev family member was the likely successor, Otunbayeva initially hesitated. She then responded that until recently, both Maxim and the President,s brother, Janysh Bakiyev, were under consideration. Otunbayeva claimed, however, that Janysh was no longer the likely candidate. She explained that Janysh had pushed the President to select Daniyar Usenov as the next Prime Minister. Having gotten his wish, Otunbayeva reasoned, Janysh was no longer owed the Presidency.
7. (C) Otunbayeva went on to suggest that Maxim was now being groomed to take on the Presidency. As evidence, she noted that his current position put him in charge of the economy and would allow him to receive the credit were the economy to make any gains. The Ambassador asked Otunbayeva about the timing of a move to consolidate the family,s power, noting that President Bakiyev had recently been re-elected and had a full five-year term ahead of him. Otunbayeva responded that President Bakiyev was extremely ill, and did not want to delay the process of lining up his heir. Finally, when asked by the Ambassador whether the opposition had any possibility BISHKEK 00001302 002 OF 002 of disrupting the President,s plans to introduce these new amendments and thus further ensure his family,s authority, Otunbayeva again noted that the proposals were unconstitutional, but that they would certainly be approved by the Parliament at this time.
8. (C) Comment: Like most of the political opposition, Otunbayeva is a very frustrated person looking at most of what happens very much from the outside. We have little confidence in her information and less in her analysis. Nonetheless, this conversation provides a useful look at the current state of mind of opposition leadership.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 001244 SIPDIS STATE FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2019 TAGS: KLIG, PREL, PINR, ASEC, PGOV, KG SUBJECT: ENDING THE FSN CONTROVERSY, AND MAKING THE PRESS REF: BISHKEK 1224 AND PREVIOUS Classified By: Charge D'Affaires Larry L. Memmott, for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (U) Summary: In a series of meetings with several Kyrgyz government interlocutors over the past week, we have pressed for a document from the government formally ending, or notifying the USG of a final ending, of the criminal process against our two local employees, arrested by the National Security Service in October. We have received indications that such a document will be forthcoming, but have not yet received it. Meantime, Russian website segodnia.ru broke the story of the arrests on December 2, in an anti-American screed full of errors, but accurately naming one of our local employees. End Summary.
2. (C) We met on the evening of November 24 with Maxim Bakiyev to discuss moving forward the bilateral Economic Development Fund (septel). In the course of the discussion, Bakiyev asked about the status of the issue related to our local employees. We told him that it is not yet fully resolved; that we need a document from the government, perhaps a diplomatic note, formally stating that the criminal process against our employees has been permanently ended. Bakiyev clearly understood the need for such a document and said he would "work with the Foreign Minister to help him provide such a document."
3. (C) Sarbayev called the Embassy and asked for a meeting "immediately" the next day. During the meeting he said he was concerned because the legal process was continuing in the Kyrgyz courts as the lawyers of our FSNs proceeded with the numerous procedural challenges and appeals they had filed. It was a matter of time before this case leaked into the press, "which will do none of us any good." We told Sarbayev that our employees had received nothing more than an oral statement from the SNB investigator to the effect that they would not face criminal charges. They had received no written confirmation whatsoever. Further, their lawyers had informed us that under the provision of law used to release them it is not clear that charges could not be reinstated at a later date. That being the case, we felt we had no choice but to continue to protect the legal rights of our employees.
4. (C) Sarbayev responded by emphasizing, again, the importance of keeping the case quiet. We told him that if we were to receive a diplomatic note which clearly stated that the case against our employees had ended for good, we would be able to end legal action. Sarbayev said that it would take some work, but he expected he could provide such a document. To do that, he said, he would need us to end legal proceedings immediately. We agreed to explore that possibility and get back to him.
5. (C) RSO met with the lawyers the evening of November 25 to review the status of the case and ask their opinion. The lawyers said that they could withdraw their protests and complaints without prejudice, reintroducing them at a later date if that became necessary. We requested that they do so, and informed the FM that they would do so.
Into the Press
6. (U) On December 2, Russian web site segodnia.ru published a one page article on the case. Identifying its principal source as someone in the "special structures of Kyrgyzstan" (presumably the National Security Service, SNB), the article contains a mix of correct facts, errors, and anti-American statements. Most of the facts of the case itself are correct, and the site actually identifies by name RSO FSN Emil Chodronov. The descriptions of high level USG-Kyrgyz Government meetings related to the case suggest the source BISHKEK 00001244 002 OF 002 may have been in the lower reaches of the SNB, aware in general of the conversations, but without an accurate understand of who the players were or how the meetings took place.
7. (S) GRPO met with SNB contacts on December 1 and raised the need for a document ending the case. SNB agreed and promised to communicate with the Foreign Ministry to move the issue forward.
8. (C) Comment: We have been expecting word of this case to get to the press. With the legal process over and our employees out of custody, it is relatively easy to describe the case as a matter of misunderstanding without going into details. Post will forward proposed press guidance via email today. In the meantime, FM Sarbayev has been in Greece this week. We will approach him upon his return to ask about progress on a diplomatic note (or other document) putting this episode finally behind us.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 000084 SIPDIS STATE FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2020 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, MARR, KG SUBJECT: KYRGYZSTAN SEEKS SIGNS FROM THE U.S. OF LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO THE RELATIONSHIP REF: BISHKEK 51 Classified By: Ambassador Tatiana C. Gfoeller, for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Action request para. 8.
2. (C) Summary: The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is actively reviewing the state of its relationships with the U.S., Russia, and China, seeking a balance which would best serve its interests. A key concern of our interlocutors is what role the U.S. intends to play in Kyrgyzstan in the medium and long-term. Signals, intentional or otherwise, which we give over the coming weeks may significantly affect Kyrgyz attitudes, and could affect our ability to use the Manas Transit Center and other valuable Kyrgyz transit routes. End Summary.
3. (C) Numerous meetings with Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbayev, Director of the Central Agency for Development (and son of the President of Kyrgyzstan) Maxim Bakiyev, and other officials of the Kyrgyz Republic over the past weeks have left us with the strong impression that we are in a "trial period" in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz took an important step away from their closest international partner, Russia, and toward us in agreeing to host the Transit Center last year. They are running the balance on that decision right now.
4. (C) We are confident that that balance is now positive. Efforts to speed up the payment process for the second quarter of Manas Transit Center operations, the beginning of preliminary construction on the airport ramp project, the progress in disbursement and deliveries under our counternarcotics and counterterrorism programs, the upcoming visit by DOD to review the progress of the air traffic control upgrade program, efforts by the Transit Center to contract with Kyrgyz providers of goods, numerous humanitarian projects by the Transit Center, and a good deal of effective public diplomacy work have kept this ledger in the black.
Long vs. Short Term Interest?
5. (C) However, the Kyrgyz remain very queasy about our long-term intentions. Although we have been able to assuage early concerns that the U.S. policy in Afghanistan meant we would be out of that country by 2011, our interlocutors remain concerned that, over the next few years, our need for the Transit Center will evaporate and we will disappear. We believe that the Russians, burned last year, are pressing a new set of talking points intent on convincing the Kyrgyz that the U.S. will turn out to be an unreliable partner and will soon leave. Russia is pressing its desire to have a new base in southern Kyrgyzstan, and Kyrgyz opposition to that idea seems to be waning.
Potential Regional Jealousies
6. (C) The U.S. discussions with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on access to other transportation facilities, and especially air transport facilities, also play into Kyrgyz concerns. It will be crucial as we move forward on any of these options to ensure that the Kyrgyz do not get the impression that we are attempting to somehow "replace" the capabilities we have in Manas.
Minimizing Risk of Renegotiation - BISHKEK 00000084 002 OF 002
7. (C) Our concern is that while a long time frame and an assumption that the U.S. will be in Manas for many years makes the Kyrgyz easier to work with and more acquiescent to our needs, the growing belief that the U.S. is in the last year(s) of its tenure at Manas might well lead the Kyrgyz to become more demanding. At its most problematic, it could lead to a decision on their part that they should reopen the Manas negotiations with an eye toward maximizing short-term benefits while we remain highly dependent on the Transit Center for our operations in Afghanistan. At this point, we do not expect that to happen. We do believe that it is crucial that the USG take steps to minimize such a possibility.
8. (C) Action Request: In that regard, we request that the Department consider the following issues: -- We believe that it would be best to request renewal of the Transit Center Agreement as soon as possible. The longer we wait, the more time the Kyrgyz have to speculate about our intentions. -- In requesting renewal of the Transit Center Agreement, we recommend using language suggesting that the USG would like to begin discussions of our long-term relationship and possible long-term access to facilities at Manas. This issue should also be broached at the Annual Bilateral Consultations. -- Keeping-up contacts with Kyrgyzstan. Where high level contacts are made with Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan, parallel contacts with Kyrgyzstan would make sense. A Cabinet level visit to the Transit Center would pay huge dividends. A high level meeting for the Kyrgyz Annual Bilateral Consultations delegation, to be headed by Maxim Bakiyev and FM Sarbayev, would also make a real difference. -- If we move forward with new air transit capabilities in another Central Asian country, it would help for us to provide the Kyrgyz Government with a heads-up, emphasizing that the capabilities we have at Manas are not being replaced. -- Maintaining assistance levels. The Kyrgyz will be very sensitive to any changes in our level of support and engagement.