Grigory Pasko: Kulov and Me


Kyrgyzstan is currently undergoing the difficult process of a fundamental restructuring of the state’s administrative apparatus. The recently elected parliament is attempting to adopt new laws, for example, on the federal budget for current year, while opposition MEPs are attempting to lodge their disputes with this agenda. 

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In general, the opposition is behaving itself obstinately. For example, its leader Felix Kulov, known for his pro-Russian position, recently published a controversial report boldly entitled “Certain Corruption Schemes in the Kyrgyz Republic” on the web site of his Ar-Namys party.  At a press conference announcing this document, the former MVD general reported that the annual damages to the country from corruption comprises more than $427 million.

According to Kulov, upon the uprooting of corruptional schemes, a sum capable of covering the record deficit formed in the year 2010 could be received into the budget of the country – a minimum of $300 million. And he added that the opposition wants to help the new government.

It has to be noted that the new government did not react in any waywhatsoever to the titanic efforts of the general and his party retinue.Why? There’s no corruption? There is! How can things be without it?Phony schemes? Supposedly, real ones, not contested by anyone. Sowhat’s the deal then?

Well, it’s that in the loud report of Kulov & Co there isn’t asingle surname! Towards whom to apply harsh anti-corruptional measures -unknown. Who the head corruptioneers and compilers of the schemes are -incomprehensible.

That is, upon close examination the general’s bravery turned out to be …ordinary political tub-thumping. In the opinion of local human rightsadvocates, the absence of concrete names and facts made the analyticalreport of the oppositioneers little-effective, and the appearance ofFelix Kulov – self-advertisement and the desire to be in the limelight.

It needs to be noted that in general the opinion of the oppositionon corruption coincides with the opinion of the ruling elite: at arecent appearance in the Council of defense current president ofKyrgyzstan Roza Otunmayeva said:  “What is imperative is a systemic,all-people’s and resultative struggle against corruption. It hasencompassed literally everyone and everything, starting with pre-schoolsand ending with all the links of the organs of state. For some peopleit has become even a way of life. I will not shirk from saying thatjust about everything depends on the resolution of this question. Tothis problem I would like to bring particular attention, since it hashuge influence on the consolidation of society and is a component partof public safety».

Further on, Roza Isakovna added that «forrealisation of the priority direction, attracting the efforts of societyand independent mass information media under the president will becreated a Consultative council for the prevention and counteraction ofcorruption».

I will admit, I immediately thought of Felix Kulov: how could thiscouncil get by without him, the loud fighter with corruption?

And I, being a real journalist, decided right away to take an interview from the general-politician.

Alas! Person of heroic biography Felix Kulov, fighter with corruptionand oppositioneer, general and politician, who meets daily with a dozenjournalists (including also because presidential elections are ahead inKyrgyzstan, and Kulov – is a likely candidate), after three days oftortuous contemplations refused to meet with me. As they reported tome, he values that I am a guest of his republic, but… I, of course,understand Felix Sharshenbayevich: he has to like Putin, but I, to putit mildly, don’t like him; he needs to count on Putin’s help (all themore so before the presidential elections), while I am convinced that itwould be better for my country without Putin. (And for Kyrgyzstan too,in the big picture. I shall note- not without Russia, but withoutPutin, these should not be confused). That is, as I understood thegeneral, the reason for his refusal to meet with me lies someplace onthis plane of thought. Although, I will admit, I had considered Kulov abrave man. Not only because he literally saved Bishkek from pogroms acouple of times. Not only because he (like, while we’re on the subject,I too) has sat in jail.

And at the very least because if you’re afraidof a journalist – you shouldn’t be going into politics. Although, ifyou don’t go into politics – you can’t become president.