18 April 2006

Bakiev's Silence

IWPR had a story a few days ago about Kulov's stance against the mafia and, more importantly, Bakiev's seeming indifference to the whole problem. Bakiev has hardly been reported as saying anything about the problem. Instead, he's promising school lunches to children in the region (a worthy cause, certainly, but I think the ensuring the stability of the government is necessary to providing those lunches effectively) and promising to fire officials who criticize the government (copied and pasted from AKIpress, so the punctuation and grammar errors aren't mine):

Talking about “discipline within the executive power”, President said that lately some officials criticize leadership and government of the country which is not directly related to fulfillment of their job duties.

”We discussed the issue of dismissal of officials that criticize President of Prime Minister recently with PM Kulov. Democracy is first of all discipline and responsibility, but not anarchy. This is why I warn all leaders of executive power that we will apply severe measures since now. They will either work and perform their direct job duties, otherwise we will fire them. Immediately. Let them work in political parties then,” said President Bakiev.

This is hardly a way to inspire confidence in the government. It certainly relates to Bakiev wanting people in the government to quit their political parties. Promising school lunches will get him some support in the regions, no doubt. But he is ignoring the bigger problems that are starting to shake things up here in Bishkek. Ryspek Akmatbaev is still closing the road at Issyk-Kul every weekend and no one seems inclined to stop him.

I still don't think a revolution is in the making- there are many people who still support Bakiev- but he cannot sit around and ignore the security problems going on right now. Akaev ignored the protests in the South last year, thinking it would all work out. At least Kulov seems to be doing something, although he's not a shining star in the anti-corruption department.

The opposition is planning another demonstration for the 29th. The opposition's goal is to get people from around the country (very important, so this isn't seen as a Bishkek thing, or a north thing) to voice their concerns about security and the rule of law in this country and the absolutely necessity of some constitutional reform.

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