Support The Moscow Times!

Kyrgyz Leader for Union

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Kyrgyzstan faces financial hardship and social unrest if it fails to join a Russia-led customs union, the country's acting prime minister said Wednesday.

Omurbek Babanov said Kyrgyzstan's 5.5 million people would be hit by higher fuel prices should the country remain outside the alliance with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

"A social explosion is possible if we don't join the customs union, when tariffs are introduced on fuel products," Babanov said. "It's a necessity for our state." Between 500,000 and 1 million citizens of Kyrgyzstan are estimated to live and work in the customs union states, mainly in Russia and Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan's economy survives to a large degree on remittances from citizens abroad, international donors and the production of a single gold mine.

(Reuters)

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.