Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is backing its Kyrgyz colleagues in their efforts to prevent the Central Asian country gripped by political unrest from sliding into “total chaos,” the Vedomosti business daily reported Thursday.
FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov this week held phone talks with former Kyrgyz deputy national security chief Omurbek Suvanaliyev, who has claimed the top title after violent post-election protests descended the country into mob rule.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the conversation, effectively legitimizing Suvanaliyev as an important player in the midst of the ex-Soviet nation’s power vacuum.
“We expressed support for the state security committee’s actions to stabilize the situation in the republic to prevent its total slide into chaos,” Peskov said.
“There are certain obligations of mutual assistance under the relevant documents” of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Russian-led intergovernmental association of post-Soviet republics, Peskov said.
The FSB may have helped Kyrgyz border guards seal off exits for disgraced officials and temporarily disable international money transfers to prevent mass capital flight, Vedomosti cited an unnamed former Russian intelligence official as saying.
Moscow said earlier this week it had beefed up security at a military base near the capital Bishkek.
One protester has died and more than 1,000 people, including protesters and riot police, were injured in the violence that broke out after the disputed Oct. 4 parliamentary election. Russia’s Embassy in Bishkek said no Russian nationals were hurt.
Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who has not been seen since demonstrators stormed his office and rival groups jockeyed for power, issued a statement early Friday saying he was ready to step down.
"We need to get the situation back to the rule of law as soon as possible,” Jeenbekov said.
“After legitimate executive authorities have been approved and we are back on the path of lawfulness, I am ready to leave the post of President of the Kyrgyz Republic,” he said.
AFP contributed reporting.