DE RUEHMO #2139 3041422
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311422Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4704
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 012139
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/31/2016 TAGS: PREL PGOV KG RS SUBJECT: GOR DOWNPLAYS PROSPECT OF VIOLENCE IN BISHKEK
REF: BISHKEK 1532
Classified By: POL M/C Alice G. Wells. Reasons: 1.4(B/D).
1. (C) In an October 31 meeting, Maksim Peshkov, Director, First CIS Department (Central Asia), attributed Kyrgyzstan's current turmoil to the failure of the Bakiyev-Kulov "tandem" to achieve political and economic stability. He said that Bakiyev, representing the South, and Kulov, the North, could have succeeded in establishing a more unified political force in Kyrgyzstan and avoided the persistent opposition movement. Peshkov underlined Russia's view that the change from Akayev to Bakiyev last March did not qualify as a democratic revolution, nor did it bring any improvement in the country's economic situation. Now, the Kyrgyz are simply fed up. He said the planned November 2 opposition demonstration was not just a result of the delay in constitutional reform but reflected overall dissatisfaction with the Bakiyev government.
2. (C) Peshkov admitted that Russia, unlike the U.S., does not frequently engage with the opposition. He warned that the November 2 demonstration would attract "criminal" and "mercenary" demonstrators, who are happy to see destructive action in their capital. He noted that fatigue with street politics might lessen turnout. Peshkov concluded that absent a provocation, the street protests would not turn violent. Acknowledging dissatisfaction within security structures for the Bakiyev government, Peshkov was quick to underscore that this did not constitute support for the opposition. He agreed with the U.S. message that demonstrations should be peaceful and in accordance with the constitution and also agreed that reform was necessary for Kyrgyzstan. Corruption, ingrained clan politics, and the lack of resources hamper the country's step forward. Where Russia differed with the U.S., he reiterated, was on the timeline for reform given the social and cultural realities in each of the Central Asian republics.
3. (C) Comment: Peshkov did not rule out the prospect that the November 2 demonstration could turn violent, but did not provide us with any strong feel for how Russia would react. Lacking the means to change the situation significantly, Moscow has usually been willing to let events take their course while seeking protection for Russian interests. BURNS