Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Kyrgyz Leader Seeks Answer In Bridging Regional Divide

OSH, Kyrgyzstan — Kyrgyzstan's new leader sought to extend his government's reach in the turbulent state on Monday following an election central to deciding who will run Osh, the country's most ethnically divided city.

President Almazbek Atambayev, who took office in December, has sought to bridge the divide with southern regions, where people are traditionally wary of the central government in Bishkek.

In an election to the Osh city council on Sunday, his southern opponents united behind the powerful incumbent mayor, whose party won 47 percent of votes. Short of a majority, they will now need to negotiate with Bishkek.

"The authorities have begun to have some success and might bring the south under control," political analyst Toktogul Kakchikeyev said. "The patience of Atambayev's administration has helped to reach a level of agreement and cooperation."

Osh was the center of ethnic clashes in June 2010, when nearly 500 people were killed and hundreds of thousands fled their homes.

Thousands of protesters rallied in Osh days before the vote in a show of strength designed to ward off attempts by Bishkek to exert more control over the south.

Adakhan Madumarov and Kamchybek Tashiyev, defeated in the last presidential election, have joined forces to unite the southern vote. Both supported the party of Osh Mayor Melis Myrzakmatov in the election.

"Myrzakmatov's party won 47 percent," Kakchikeyev said. "But others won 53 percent, meaning that he must be more circumspect and act with caution toward other parties."

In a sign of simmering tensions, fighting broke out overnight in another town where local polls were held on Sunday.

After polls closed in Karakol, a town at the eastern end of Lake Issyk-Kul, about 80 people armed with sticks and stones broke into the city hall and smashed windows, police said.

Police said voters were angry at the apparent removal of names from the electoral roll and the presence of voters from other regions.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more