Kyrgyzstan. In the campaign ahead of the local elections
in Osh in the Fergana Valley in March, the disputes between
Kyrgyz and the Uzbek flared up, with memories of the bloody
ethnic riots in 2010. The national government in Bishkek
wanted to remove the controversial Kyrgyz nationalist mayor
of Osh, but his National Unity Party won the election.
countryaah, the international think-tank Crisis Group warned in a
report that anti-Uzbek policy in the Osh Region was
deteriorating relations between Kyrgyz and the Uzbek and
that radical Islamist groups succeeded in recruiting
frustrated Uzbek. The deep poverty among many residents
helped to make the situation worse.
The central government in Bishkek was challenged by the
opposition in demonstrations demanding the departure of the
coalition. Two coalition parties, Dignity and the
Fatherland, also demanded the resignation of Prime Minister
Omurbek Babanov after he was accused of corruption. The
conflict ended with both parties leaving the government in
August, and then the entire government was forced to leave.
President Almazbek Atambayev commissioned his Social
Democratic party friends to form a new government. The Prime
Minister became President of the Chancellor Zjantoro
Satybaldyev, who formed a majority coalition with the Social
Democrats, Dignity and the Fatherland (Ata-Meken). The new
prime minister was approved by 111 out of 120 votes when the
opposition also voted for him.
There was severe conflict over Kyrgyzstan's mining
industry during the year. The Nationalist Party of the
Fatherland (Ata-Zjurt) tried to push through the
nationalization of the Canadian-owned gold mine Kumtor,
which accounted for 12% of the country's GDP. Parliament
said no, but decided that the government would become a
part-owner of the foreign company, and a Chinese company was
forced to give some of the profits to the locals after being
threatened with a fire in a mine.
When the government announced an international auction on
mining licenses, the protests became fierce. Protesters
stormed in and stopped the auction scandalous nationalist
slogans. In October, protesters entered Parliament, where
police opened fire to disperse them. Several people were
injured. The opposition politicians who led the protest were
arrested and accused of coup attempts. Then came new protest
rallies outside the parliament, where the protesters
demanded mine nationalization but also that the parliament
should be dissolved and new elections announced.
Parliament voted a second time in October to raise the
maximum penalty for bridesmaids from three to ten years in
prison. A third vote was to be taken, and before it the bill
was changed to seven years in prison. According to legal
activists, thousands of girls and women are kidnapped
annually for forced marriages in Kyrgyzstan, but very few
are sentenced, while cattle thieves end up in jail and can
face up to eleven years.
In 2012, the harshest verdict to date fell for the
bride-groom in Kyrgyzstan. A man was sentenced to six years
in prison after a young girl he robbed and raped had been
hanged. According to a survey of 400 men and women in Talas
in the northwest, 45% did not know that bridesmaids were a
crime. Over 60% of women had been kidnapped, and 87% of men
said they had been kidnapped.
Parliament approved in December an agreement authorizing
the Russian Federation to use its military base in
Kyrgyzstan for a further 15 years from 2017.
Following an acute energy shortage in severe cold, the
Kyrgyzgaz state announced in December that the company will
be sold to Russian Gazprom, which is expected to provide
safer gas supplies and lower prices.