Sunday, December 13, 2009

new position - new thoughts

It is now seventh month since I am employed in a brand new industry - agricultural research for development. I have joined the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) Tashkent office in June 2008 as the Assistant Executive Secretary to the Central Asia and the Caucasus Association of Agricutlural Research Institutions (CACAARI). Even though my current position is more a secretarial and managerial one, having plenty time for self-reflection and thoughts about development, I have become much more informed about applied development management and about the issues underpinning the development research and practice.

The first and most important pillar of development and especially rural development is food. I have been taught about the importance of democracy, liberty, freedom and entrepreneurship for development, but for millions of people around the globe, dying in poverty and hunger the issue seems to be much, much more "primitive" - readily available, adequately nutritious, stably provided food - sorghum (still have no idea what the heck this is, never ate it, it seems), wheat and rice, livestock, fish and suprisingly (for me, who always thought of this stuff as "dessert") - fruits and vegetables. While cool dudes have shown how politics affects food (most notably Amartya Sen with groundbreaking work on the linkage of hunger and democracy) the issue, at least in this region is more about researching on food and policies that make that food available to those who need it most and get it the least.

Researchers, policy makers and the private sector are the most important actors in delivering that food. But all three need to listen to their clients - either individually or mobilized and represented by grassroots (I stress that again, grassroots, not up-down) institutions - NGOs, farmer associations etc. This is relevant not only to hard sciences, but also to us - why ask a Dean about a research topic - go and talk to the local mob leader, marshrutka driver or pensioner - they will give the research topics that really matter - not the effects of congressional districting on voter outcomes (no offence, voting guys, but the outcomes of such research are for the rich guys that need to divide the districts property go win posts spending less).

In line with the Freakonomics sequel, I realized again that best things come out of the small-profit motives. One of the causes of unemployment in my region has been lack of information, say, about the jobs. Non-profits can spend zillions trying to put up an information exchange platform, but the wide array of successful newspapers and websites that link jobs and candidates and make profit (not huge profits, by the way) is an indication of the fact that it is best to outsourc virtuous acts to the profit sector, when and where appropriate. part-time students and the greedy will work much harder to sell their virtuous product than a fat guy at the development agency who does not even have to sell it, but spend the project money on half-way efforts.

Stop giving out Nobel Peace Prize to politicians - they get rewarded by being reelected and writing memoirs and being studied in history books. From now on, Nobel has to be given to people like Normal Borlaugh - who have researched, educated, organized and voiced, saving millions of lives around the world by doing their ordinary jobs. For more people like this see: This is for food, but there are also people like Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier, who "discovered" AIDS, working in medicine etc.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

SOS: Kyrgyz primary education in deep koma!

Contributed an analytical article to Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (Johns Hopkins)'s Analyst. The article is about the catastrophic state of Kyrgyz school education as illustrated by PISA, an international educational attainment survey conducted in 2006 and by NOODU, national program for educational evaluation, last conducted and published in 2008. Having participated as an administrator of the program I came across some shocking obervations that could not be put in the article due to space limitations. (the article itself is at )

There were children who did not know what Internet was - not only in the fourth, but also in the eighth grade.
Some of the more advanced Bishkek ninth-graders did not know what is, let alone Wikipedia or anything like that.

Students in villages simply do not comprehend what they read. they need an external authority to tell them what to do, in simple and "vernacular' terms. The latter was vivid when I would read out loud detailed instructions in literary Uzbek and kids would then look, quite surprised, at their teacher, who would reformulate my statement using elements of local Kyrgyzo-Uzbeko-Tajik esperanto.

Disparities in the level of educational attainment are wide indeed. What makes everything worse is that the gap is not between very smart and stupid, but between average or a-bit-higher-than-average and really really challenged kids, challenged in reading comprehension and science knowledge sense.

Equipment at schools is of course, long gone. Recently conducted PISA survey at the outskirst of capital Bishkek, in what turned out to be physics room, and the only relevant piece of equipment available to demonstrate to students were several pieces of magnet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Legacy of Soviet "colonialism"

Last two weeks of March and first two weeks of April, extensively travelled throughout Kyrgyzstan, from Batken’s Kizilkia and the city of Osh to Jalalabad’s Aksy and Nooken rayons and Bishkek mikrorayons. The primary objective was the administration of assessment program in primary education, however, the secondary objective was to see more of such diverse Kyrgyzstan. Impressions boiled down to the following:

Corruption seems to be the primary ill this country has to access. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a clean-hands public administration would immediately cure Kyrgyz society of myriad of contemporary ills. To cite several examples, in this country producing twice as much electricity as it needs (14.5 against 7 million mW), electricity cuts are still endemic in faraway places, while officially close to 40% (!!!) of electricity is lost. A local TV station aired a story today of cases of corruption in using foreign-provided grants for school repair.

USSR with all its ills and savageries and “colonial” domination of Kyrgyzstan executed a feat that hardly other great Kyrgyz patron will be able to repeat – brought railway, paved road, highly educated professionals and resources to the most faraway regions of this country. Such faraway places like KizilKia, practically a nowhere of great Soviet heartland used to enjoy such state of the art infrastructure as underground telephone cables, German-Jewish teacher passionaries sent directly from Moscow and a mining school that is still respected in Central Asia.

On Bishkek-Osh road, driving by numerous gigantic hydro-power dams and through several tunnels, all accomplishments of Soviet-time engineering thought and construction might, I could not but sadly realize that such intellectual potential that nowadays only economically mighty states can afford has left Kyrgyzstan for long, if not forever. For if you think about it, public engineering system is but a luxury not every state can afford.

Nowadays it is clear that with the above mentioned corruption state-of-the-art engineering project would have to be outsourced to Russian companies and cottage-house tiny school like the one I visited in Dostuk village of Nooken rayon would never enjoy a metropolis-trained intellectual and an adequate library in all three languages people around speak.

The saddest thing for this country is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The current political system would most likely continue to engage in myopic rent-seeking and exhaustive strip-off of national resources, as well as stealing from budget and inhibiting normal development of medium and small enterprises, while the country would be deeper engulfied into the slough of social problems.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Drop Deutsche Bank account if you have one

According to an international transparency watchdog Global Witness, Deutsche Bank used to and still does keep foreign currency accounts of Turkmen leaders where the latter store proceeds from gas sales. The fact that gas proceeds are stored there means:
1. That monies are not part of the budget and consequently that
2. proceed amounts are not transparent and finally that
3. only the leader of the country has access to it and can potentially use it for his own purposes.

According to GW's Tom Mayne, in 2009 the number might be as high as 12.5 billion USD. Since in 2007 5 billion gas proceeds made up half of the country's GDP, the current number should make up a similar share of the GDP.

Deutsche Bank seems to be very cosy with the fact. Germany corporate world overall has been very good with the late President Niyazov. There even were talks that Daimler sponsored the translation of his magnum opus Ruhnama into German as a gratitude to their VIP client. True, business is business and corporate world might not even give a damn about the nature of Turkmen political system and financial practices.

However, then why
1. Deutsche Bank refer to adherence to UN Global Compact, which, according to Mayne is pretty much an empty declaration?
2. Why does European democratic and anticorruption community not boycott Deutsche Bank or attempt to influence it somehow?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Сюжет из "1984" Оруэлла

Цитирую статью Акипресс от 31 марта "День 31 марта: Две стройки-мечты – железная дорога из Китая и мусороперерабатывающий завод"

Тем временем Министерство внутренних дел республики решило бороться с кражами сотовых телефонов на новом технологическом уровне. В спешном порядке правительство приняло Положение о новых порядках взаимодействия сотовых операторов с органами внутренних дел. Теперь любой следователь может проверить передвижение любого гражданина по сотовому телефону стандарта GSM через imei-код. Раньше сотовые операторы время от времени для приличия требовали санкцию прокуратуры или суда. Теперь сотовые компании обязаны будут предоставлять эту информацию.

А если этот гражданин случайно окажется противником власти скрывающимся от нее? И если телефон он тот совсем не украл?

Политика национализма

Дэвид Леви, преподаватель курса «Государство и общество» в АУЦА говорит что Европа была колыбелью (частично и гражданского) национализма. В те далекие 1870-ые считалось нормальным, когда нормандцев, бургундцев, марсельцев и прочих заставляли учить парижский high French и ассимилироваться в единую нацию. А теперь пост-имперская Европа учит «новые государства» через ОБСЕ и прочих что мол меньшинства надо уважать, не пытаться ассимилировать, что надо спонсировать их радио, школы, литературу…Они нас учат что это возможно, финансируют исследования (своих институтов) в этой сфере.

Меньшинства конечно хорошо, надо из уважать, надо уважать их автономию и право на сохранение культурной самобытности. Просто обидно, что те, кто делают это в начале истории делают через кровь и сталь, а потом устами сердобольных европеек пихают что нам так делать нельзя…

Вообще европейское ханжество поражает своими масштабами….Не просто остров, а континент фарисеев.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

published in CACI

a field report on new Kyrgyz Tax Code, published by Johns Hopkin's Central Asia-Caucasus Institute is here;

А король-то голый: как окружение подвело Путина

[О правилах поведения при евразийских руководителях]

Сегодня, 12 марта, Владимир Путин встретился с жителями Кемеровской области. Расположившись на офисном кресле в тесном квадрате внимательно слушавших его жителей и телекамер, Премьер со свойственной ему деловитостью и спокойствием рассказывал о кризисе, антикризисных мерах, бюджете и других серьезных проблемах.

Часть воротника черной рубашки-поло Путина торчала из под костюма, а часть была там где ей и положено быть – под воротником синего пиджака главы Правительства. Зрелище было крайне нелепое. В конце-концов Премьер не мальчишка вернувшийся в класс в большой перемены и игр в догонялки. Но это не самое страшное. У премьера наверное бешеные ритмы работы, а тут какой-то воротник.

Ироничность ситуации была в том, что индивидуальная осторожность его окружения привела к такой небрежности в отношении В.В. Чего стоило кому нибудь из журналистов или участников беседы указать Путину на воротник? Никто на знает – СМИ могли их этого такое раздуть что бедолаге пришлось бы туго. Мол, Путину указали на его ошибки, Путина поправили, Путину указали на это небрежность или какая-нибудь чепуха в таком роде...Вот и сидели все и внимательно слушали экс-президента, временами соглашались и задавая вопросы.

А храброго мальчика, который бы сказал королю что он голый, так и на нашлось…

p.s. очень хотел вставить картинку с путинским проколом, но на сайте РИА новости, например, этого нет. Странно...
пи эс эс. Вот это фото - собственность AFP - это происходило именно там, хотя лап отсюда не виден. Видимо, намеренно.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just published an article in EurasiaNet

It is on the Russian aid to Kyrgyzstan.

Also coming up is an argumentative essay on terms of Russian-Kyrgyz agreement, especially 1.7 billion to Kambarata project. It will go along the lines of what Bakyt Beshimov told

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kommersant was right...Bravo!

Kyrgyzstan closes Manas airbase, secures 2 billion of credit from Russia

When Presidents of Russia and Kyrgyzstan were negotiating behind closed doors yesterday night, Russian TV-channel “Mir” called this visit ‘one of the most important in Bakiev’s career’. As the results of the meeting were announced it was clear – very important outcomes indeed.

The biggest surprise was the decision to close the American airbase stationed at Manas airport just outside Bishkek. The airbase has been there since the beginning of military campaign in Afghanistan in 2001. The possible closing of Manas became a part of the media discourse in mid-January, but after the statements of U.S. Central Command chief General David Petraeus on January 19 pointing to the contrary, the intrigue surrounding the issue seemed to have come down.

Part of confidence that the airbase would stay came from understanding that American airbase in the region also corresponded with Russian interests in terms of stability in the region and bringing peace to Afghanistan. Moreover, just hours before the meeting NATO Special Representative for Central Asia and Caucasus Robert Simmons told “” that the issue was not raised during his talks with Kyrgyz officials.

Even though Bakiev promised that his country “will pass necessary procedures”, eviction of the airbase seems to be a difficult legal procedure. According to Bakyt Beshimov, leader of the Social-Democrat fraction in the parliament, the airbase was set up in the framework of multinational Operation “Enduring Freedom” and it would be necessary to reach an agreement with all the military partners.

A second important decision reached in Moscow is the agreement signed by countries on the construction of Kambarata-1 power station on the Naryn river, a project that would add to the Kyrgyz energy sector at the expense of the Uzbek agricultural sector. Tashkent has long been very negative on any project influencing its water supply through Syrdarya river.

Financing Kyrgyz initiatives in hydro energy construction was first discussed in December, 2008 at the meeting of Russian and Kyrgyz Premiers, Vladimir Putin and Igor Chudinov. Then Putin stated that such projects are viable and that they are of interest to Kyrgyz, as well as Russian businesses.

However, President Medvedev during his official visit to Uzbekistan on January 22-23, 2009, noted that “all such projects should be set up taking into account the views of neighbors.” Mr. Medvedev also noted that Russian Federation would step in as an investor only when a regional consensus has been reached. Well aware of the fact that Uzbekistan would hardly support such construction initiatives, local pundits saw this as Russia politely pulling out of the project.

One of the factors playing against Russian investments into Kyrgyzstan, according to Mr. Beshimov was Russia’s efforts to secure the flow of Central Asian gas and oil exclusively through Russian pipelines and the resulting unwillingness of Medvedev to spoil the relationship with one of the big exporters – Uzbekistan.

Added to these were economic difficulties in Russia itself – slowdown of the Russian economy and falling oil prices. In this view, news of a two-billion credit, distributed by RIA news agency, came as a big surprise. Terms and conditions of the credit have not been publicized so far. President Medvedev merely noted that part of the allocated money would go to support infrastructure projects, including Kambarata-1, and part – to support Kyrgyz budget.

Most likely, 300 million dollars were given as a lax credit under 0.75 percent for 40 years, and the rest went to support construction at Kambarata. In addition to this, Russia gave 150 million more in financial aid.

The parties settled the issue of Kyrgyz foreign debt to Russia (180 million dollars). However, it is not clear whether Kyrgyzstan in return gave up 48% of Dastan, a local strategic military manufacturer. If it turns out that Kyrgyzstan gave up part of Dastan this write-off might not have been a victory at all. According to MP Bakyt Beshimov, no one can adequately evaluate the deal unless the absolute numbers behind “48%” are publicized. It might turn out that almost half of the shares are much more expensive than 180 million.

Uzbekistan did not have time to react to the deal yet. Some statements may be made today by President Karimov at the sessions of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: in its current form the deal stroke by Kyrgyz and Russian Presidents does not satisfy resource-rich and water-poor Uzbekistan. .

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another rumor by 'Kommersant" - hydroelectric saga goes on

One of the big failures of mostly respected Russian periodical Kommersant was a rumor (as it turned out later) that Russia is ready to offer Kyrgyzstan 2 bln USD (300 thousand as a grant/aid and 1.7 bln of investment into the construction of Kambar Ata hydroelectric station). The newspaper referred to an informed source in the Kyrgyz government.

This ambitious project, coupled with a similar one across the border, the Rogun HES in Tajikistan, might become a threat to Uzbekistan's water supply. If the said two stations are constructed on rivers flowing to Syrdarya, then Uzbek agriculture will be left without water in the busy season, while neighbors would be producing electricity to decrase their consumption of Uzbek gas.

The big decision maker in the issue, is, of course, the Russian Federation. Many thought that official Dushanbe stroke a deal with Moscow on Rogun. Therefore, a statement made by Medvedev in Tashkent came a surprise to many, especially the Tajiks. To remind (see my post in Russian on bilateral negotiations in Tashkent) Medvedev stated that such transnational issues should be decided together, and taking into the account the interests of, neighbors. He also added that in the absence of such a consensus Russia would restrain from financing investment projects.

Tajik Foreign Affairs Ministry sent a note to Russian colleagues on January 26, in which they expressed concern and confusion with the statement. The note was delivered to a Russian diplomat in Tajikistan.

On January 29 Kommersant reported that Tajik Ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and given a hard talk over the note. Specifically, Russians hinted that commenting statements of high level politicians was outside the diplomatic ethics. However, both the Tajik Foreign Ministry and Ambassador Dostiev deny that visit to Russian colleagues was delivered (Asia Plus,

It seems, Kommersant is going through hard times...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Такое не часто сообщают :)

Информагенство сообщает:

30/01-2009 13:54, Бишкек – ИА «», Наргиза ЮЛДАШЕВА

Президент Кыргызстана пожурил глав местных администраций, которые настойчивыми аплодисментами пытались заставить завершить речь заместителя председателя Национального банка. Замечание об этом Курманбек Бакиев высказал сегодня на республиканском совещании с главами местных администраций и государственных структур.

«Я не понял, здесь кто-то спешит домой? Когда выступал заместитель председателя НБ КР, начали хлопать, мол, спускайся с трибуны, хватит говорить. Такой подход не пойдет, - возмутился президент страны. - Вы же сами выходили сюда, благодарили, что дали возможность собраться сегодня в таком формате, а теперь когда выступает чиновник, так делаете. Или забыли, кто вы такие? Вы - руководители».

Далее глава государства подчеркнул, что руководителей различных государственных структур, таких как Национальный банк, Министерство энергетики, промышленности и топливных ресурсов страны, пригласили специально на совещание. «Мы хотели, чтобы вы лично из их уст услышали информацию о сегодняшней ситуации в стране, чтобы не было потом как «глухой телефон». А вы знаете, сколько средств было потрачено на то, чтобы привезти вас всех сюда?» - заявил в заключение Курманбек Бакиев.


no comments...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Почем культур-мультур?

АкиПресс пишет о деятельности Минкультуры КР за 2008. Среди прочих цифр, вот некоторые самые интересные:

Самый "большой" кусок бюджетного пирога отхватил Цирк - целых десять штук сомов (250 долларов), Театр оперы и балета - 8 штук сомов. Самые смешные цифры у Государственного исторического музея - 3 тысячи (75 долларов). Трудно живется артистам, их можно понять. Но они-то хоть могут пару хороших концертов и пьес поставаить, скинутся на ремонт. А что с библиотекарями? Даже при желании они свое старье никому не смогут толкнуть, вот и сидят наверное бедняги на бюджетных 3000 сомах заработной платы...

На другом конце палки, Правительство КР вовсю пытается увеличить бюджет (это-то в условиях финансового кризиса, когда обычно увеличивают госрасходы), посредством ужесточения налогового законодательства. Никому еще не понятно полностью к чему это приведет, но многие предприниматели, финансисты и экономисты уверены, что к росту "теневой" экономики - меньше поступлений в дырявую казну, меньше денег для разворовывания и определенно меньше денег на ремонт памятников советской экономической мощи - театров, библиотек и т.д. и на зарплату библиотекарям...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

О так называемых политологах

Очень часто за последнее время замечаю в новостных лентах комментарии "известных политологов." Я бы ничего не говорил, если бы не комментарии некоего политолога на одном их местных каналов сразу после речи Президента.

"Политолог" не был соответствующе одет даже. Говорил на отвлеченные темы. Приводил отвлеченные примеры. Вообще меня поражает глубокие знания "политологов" в российской и советской истории. Но исторические примеры часто используются не по назначению.

Вообще надо разделять политолога от "эксперта" или тех, кого в англоязычном мире называют pundit. Последние представляют собой категорию людей уважаемых и образованнх которые комменрируют разного рода события и идеи. А политолог ведь это человек с соответсвующим образованием, теоретической и методологической подготовкой, political scientist как их принято называть на Западе.

Последнее - комментируешь - будь добр отвечать на вопрос прямо и подтверждать аргумент фактами или доказательствами. У нас же принято важно говорить и читать нотации ссылаясь (нагласно) только на свой авторитет и прокрученное имя.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Light shed on reasons behind reshuffles

Many opinions were voiced over the recent political reshuffles in the Executive. Never before have more than a dozen high officials lost their seat in a single day and more than 20 in a month.
The most surprising change came in early January with resignation of Medet Sadyrkulov and his protege Elmira Ibraimova (from positions of the Head of Presidential Administration and Vice Speaker of Parliament respectively). When Daniyar Usenov, a long-time adversary of Sadyrkulov came to occupy the seat, many expected purges in higher echelons of power. And that is exactly what happened in late January.

Even though President Bakiyev and several pro-power pundits stress that more young cadres with good education and proven experience were needed in the Executive, the matter of fact seems to be that Usenov is now pulling his own people into the White House. Even though President's changing favorites is not yet fully explained the following hypothesis seems to be a more plausible one: with presidential elections coming in 2010, Bakiev is getting ready for a tough battle with the opposition. However, the opposition might mobilize people even this spring, as soon as it gets warm enought for people to show up and stay.

Maybe that's why opposition leaders are being fiercely persecuted. To be more specific, criminal case has been opened up against O.Tekebayev for illegal modification of an assault weapon's bullet magazine.

President signed a bill recently allowing the involvement of the Army in civic affairs, another measure in case opposition gets too strong.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Фрагмент Совместной пресс-конференции по итогам российско-узбекистанских переговоров

22-23 января состоялся государственный визит Дмитрия Медведева в Узбекистан.
Узбекская сторона на доджном уровне встретила высокого гостя. Видимо, Президент РУз сможет найти общий язык и с этим российским президентом. Напомню, что В. Путиным и И. Каримов смогли найти общий язык, или по крайней мере так все выглядело. Тэт-а-тэт встречи Президентов в Самарканде позволяют предпологать что то же самое будут и с Д.А. Медведевым.

Несомненно, главной темой двусторонних переговоров были вопросы топливно энергетического комплекса, особенно в эти трудные финансовые времена. Стоит также омтемить, что Медведев отметил перспективы сотрудничества и в сфере авиастроенения. Но факт того что, 95 российских инветиций в Узбекистан направляются в добывающую отрасль и в телекоммуникации, а также визит Вагита Алекперова (ЛУКОЙЛ) за день до визита Медведева позволяют предположить что вопросы газа все таки занимали доминантную роль в переговорах.

Совместное коммюнике и заявления конференции позволяют по новому посмотреть на некоторые слухи и предположения активно муссируемые российскими СМИ.

Первое, о смене вектора внешней политики Узбекистана в сторону Запада. Развитию этих слухов также способствовал выход РУз из ЕвразЭС. Как показала встреча и отношения и заявления Президентов, Россия и Узбекистан будут сотрудничать и во многих вопросах единодушны.

Второй вопрос - удар в спину Узбекистана в виде российских инветиций в строительство Камбаратинской ГЭС (больше миллиарда долларов). Если РФ поможет таджикам построит Рогун, а кыргызам - Камбар Ата, то РУз будет испытывать серьезные проблемы с водоснабжением посевных площадей. Естественно, выбор Россией сторон в этом конфликте интересов очень сильно повлияет на отношение России с одной из стран Центральной Азии. Нижеследующее заявление Медведева позволяет предположить, что вопрос решается в пользу узбеков (тем более, что вопрос о Камбар Ате поднялся газетой Коммерсантъ в контексте вывода американской базы из Кыргызстана, слух который не был прокомментирован ни официальной Москвой ни Бишкеком).

(Источник - Сайт Президента РФ
ВОПРОС: Вопрос, который логически может продолжить эту тему. Вы на расширенном заседании, очень чётко так упомянули, что в политике решающими являются два фактора: это доверие и интерес. Хотела спросить об этом интересе: насчёт планов и позиции России в отношении строительства гидроэнергетических сооружений в некоторых странах Центральной Азии, и как при этом учитываются интересы других государств в этом регионе?
Д.МЕДВЕДЕВ: Что я могу сказать? Всякого рода проекты, тем более такие глобальные, как гидроэлектростанции, должны создаваться с учётом мнения соседей. Здесь невозможно действовать изолированно – не приведёт ни к каким результатам или создаст напряжение, которое придётся потом разрешать не экономическими, а политическими методами, не говоря уже о более опасных направлениях, или способах, разрешения противоречий. Поэтому когда речь идёт о сотрудничестве в сфере гидроэнергетики, выполнении тех или иных заказов, Российская Федерация исходит из того, что каждое государство, желающее что-то создать у себя, должно договориться со своими соседями, предоставить надлежащие доказательства экологической состоятельности проекта и выступить в роли нормального полноценного заказчика тех или иных работ. В этом смысле я исхожу из того, что все заинтересованные государства должны обсуждать этот вопрос на коллегиальной основе, руководствуясь в том числе и международными соглашениями на эту тему, а также своими двусторонними соглашениями в дружеской и добрососедской манере. Только в этом случае можно достигнуть успеха. Вот, собственно, и всё. Исходим из того, что такого рода проекты должны реализовываться на этих принципах.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Biggest executive reshuffles after the Revolution

January 23, 2009 looks like a frenzy day for the executive branch. One does not often see so many news in "personnel" section of AkiPress. In addition to Medet Sadyrkulov (former Head of Presidential Administration), Ednan Karabaev (former Foreign Minister), Elmira Ibraimova (former Speaker) who "написали заявления", today 13 officials lost their jobs in the Presidential Administration, in Ministry of Education, in foreign diplomatic missions, Bishkek and rayon akimiyats.

One of the better ones for public employees seems to be the departure of Ishengul Boldjurova, a very determinate and uncompromising lady, from the position of the Minister of Education. As reported by education experts, Boljdurova had a particular dislike for "independent" subordinates and organizations and attempted to bring them under the closer control of her Ministry.

Of course, the first reaction of the cynical "ordinary citizens" is that somebody very high in the Government has opened the "auction" for vacancies. We will see how the things settle.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Golden Curse

Took part in dubbing a documentary yesterday and want to share some of the facts and opinions on the Kumtor case.

The project came to being in the early 90s, after an agreement between Centerra Gold, an affiliate of Canadian uranium miner COMECO and the Kyrgyz Government. Centerra operates several mines, including one in Mongolia and the Kyrgyz Kumtor site. Gold mining at Kumtor is carried out by KOC - Kumtor Operating Company, headed by a certain Khomeniuk.

In 1996, there was a cyanide accident which ended up with the pollution of water in the Barskoon river and numerous cases of cyanide poisoning in the nearby villages of Barskoon, Tosor and Tam'ga. According to some estimates, some 1200 people passed away due to the accident and many more (3000-8000) earned serious diseases.

The economic consequences of the accident are not hard to picture - Pestilence of cattle and birds, absence of demand for Issyk Kul agricultural products, a heavy blow to the tourism industry and several hundred of locals who became disabled. Even harsher are the human aspects of the tragedy - almost each family in the three villages lost someone.

Either by themselves, or after somebody's consultations and advice, locals managed to organize and carried out several protest actions. The TNC acknowledged the accident and agreed to take steps towards fixing the problem, at least by paying out compensations. But the amounts were miniscule - 500 to 1000 per capital in cash. As one villager noted "The price of a Kyrgyz is that of a pack of Canadian cigarettes!"

Some high level officials in the current parliament (e.g. Vice Speaker Isabekov) blaim the Akayev government for the bad treatment of the victims. Mr Isabekov notes that the Akayev government stroke a "peace" deal with the Canadians and simply pocketed the 180 mln USD of compensation money. Besides the initial payments, Kumtor has paid, is paying and is to be more to the families.

Currently the Government is working on reviewing the Agreement with the Canadian company. Some of the issues include

payment of all due taxes
payment of customs duties
some responsibility for the tailing dumps
a change in the composition of the governing Board
allocation of reclamation monies to fix the mining sites after extraction works

Some interesting figures and number reported by Isabekov

201 tonns of gold extracted so far
193 million - deficit/loss of the company
15 cub. m of water used by Kumtor each second
66% initial share of the Kyrgyz side in the enterprise
15% curent share of the Kyrgyz side in the enterprise.

(Source: Victims of Kyrgyz Gold, a documentary by an independent Kyrgyz filmmaker)

Akipress Business report on the real sector (Excerpt)

Akipress пишет:

"В пищеперерабатывающем секторе стоит отметить падение производства хлеба на 62% (!), муки на 46% (!), макаронных изделий на 20%, консервированных фруктов и овощей на 39%, молока на 11%, сахара на 70%. В то же время увеличилось производство колбасных изделий на 63%, масла сливочного на 17%.
Также стоит отметить рост производства мебели на 14% и ювелирных изделий на 221%, имеющих неплохой экспортный потенциал, и почти не демонстрировавших негативную динамику в течение года."

Ссылка на

Конечно же, цифры "страшные." Муки произвели на половину меньше...Легко представить что будет с ценами на хлеб в 2009 г. Помнится, приехав студентом в Бишкек, я покупал лепешку за 5 сомов все четыре года. Через год после окончания хлеб стал 12-15 сомов.

Не знаю как откомментировать ювелирные странности. Алтын Стайл продает изделия из топаза и изумрудов за сотни тысяч сомов, а в их бутиках народу полным полно...

придется покопатся в этом....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kyrgyzstan to keep the American airbase

After hanging in the air for some time, the rumors of the Kyrgyz Government asking Americans to close the Ganci airbase, stationed at Manas airport were dismissed at the press conference of Gen. Petreus in Bishkek on January.

The rumor started after the Russian "Kommersant'" reported, with reference to reliable sources in the government, that President Bakiyev will ask the Americans to wrap up in exchange for some 2 bln dollars of Russian credit and investments into the energy sector.

The Kyrgyz officials have not made any statement during those three days. Interestingly enough, the issue was settled by Gen. Petreus and not Kyrgyz PM Chudinov or President Bakiyev. The Americans have also acknowledged their willingness to increase the financing of the airbase.

Had the Kyrgyz government closed the airbase, the Americans would have lost their second fortpost in Central Asia, after the Uzbek Khanabad's closure in 2005. It would have also signalled a change in the foreign vector of the Kyrgyz executive. However, the present government seems to continue the multi-vector policy of former Pr. Akayev, which among the people was simply called "sitting on two chairs simultaneously"