Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kyrgyzstan News Roundup (Updated)

From Reuters, "Kyrgyzstan buries its dead, U.S. halts troop flights." An excerpt:
Kyrgyzstan on Saturday buried several of those killed in the overthrow of the government, while security concerns prompted the U.S. military to halt troop flights from its base in the Central Asian state. About 3,000 mourners gathered on the edge of the Kyrgyz capital at a mass funeral to commemorate at least 78 people who died in protests on Wednesday, during which government troops opened fire on demonstrators outside the presidential building ... Mourners carried coffins draped in the red-and-yellow Kyrgyz national flag and clutched portraits of the dead at a memorial complex built in honour of the victims of mass executions ordered by Soviet leader Josef Stalin in the 1930s.
From the Times, an editorial: "Name That Revolution." An excerpt:
Kyrgyzstan may seem a world away. For better, and too often worse, Washington has become a very interested player. The American military installation at the Manas airport outside the capital of Bishkek is a critical transit and support center for United States operations in Afghanistan. As many as 30,000 military personnel pass through the base monthly, runways are crowded with C-17 cargo planes and KC-135 refueling tankers.
From The Atlantic's blog, "Kyrgyzstan: Scenes from the Turmoil." An excerpt:
Though the violence that claimed dozens of lives appears to be largely over, looting remains a concern and the politics are still in flux: Opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva has seized control of the government; but Bakiyev, hiding in the southern city of Jalalabad, has yet to formally concede office.
From The New Republic, "The seven biggest questions facing the country, post-upheaval." An excerpt:
Some observers were quick to compare this week's events to movements in other former Soviet states (the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia) that ousted corrupt regimes and ushered in democracy. But one factor in particular separates this upheaval from the so-called "color revolutions": the use of force.
From NPR, an interview with a Central Asia watcher: "Kyrgyzstan: A Primer." An excerpt:
the income from exports is not sufficient, obviously, to maintain the economy of the whole country, which is one of the reasons why youve had a lot of migrant laborers going from Kyrgyzstan to Russia, which makes Russia a very important partner of whatever government is going to be in power, because this is a major source the source of about 20 percent of the country's GDP comes from remittances.
And the latest on RBM:
We are safe and sound somewhere in Kyrgyzstan -- more so as of [Friday]. Let's just say the hot buffet and portable toilets are appreciated, even if they come a little early into our service.

On a more somber note, the staff here is thinking of people across the country grieving loved ones lost in this week's violence. I understand many of the mourners came together in Bishkek [Friday] in a show of solidarity.
Update (April 12, 2010) -- From the Times, "Fugitive Kyrgyz President Warns of Bloodshed." An excerpt:
The president of this strategically important country, who was forced from the capital last week by rioting protesters, returned to public view on Monday, holding a rally with supporters and declaring that if the interim government that supplanted him sought his arrest, “there will be blood.”
And from the BBC, a look back: "Protests and bloodshed in Bishkek." An excerpt:
The number of protesters, mainly young working men, grew rapidly and by the time they arrived in the capital's main square they were in their thousands.


  1. OK well stay safe, RB Moreno. I need you to stay safe!
    and keep the updates coming. Shamefully, I don't know that I would have been aware of any of this without you.

  2. Thanks for continuing the updates. I feel we are getting to know Kyrgyzstan a bit more. I'm so sad for the families that have lost their loved ones. Yes... do keep safe.

  3. Thanks, Mom! (Looking forward to a Moreno family photo blog one day.)

    On a brighter note, here are some newly-posted pictures from our layover in Istanbul: