It’s no secret that former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a fugitive in his own country, has been hiding Belarus. He’s held news conferences there and has even, sources in Minsk tells us, been spotted eating ice cream in the street. Now, if local media are to be believed, he’s a Belorussian citizen, too.
Citing Belorussian portal Tut.by, Russian media report that Bakiyev, in fact, received citizenship back in August 2010, only months after fleeing a bloody mess in the streets of Bishkek.
Belorussian authorities neither confirm nor deny the story, which was based on an anonymous tip. But Lenta.ru reports that a police source said Bakiyev’s name exists in the Belorussian registry of internal passports. According to local protocol, Lenta.ru adds, the decision to confer citizenship would have had to come from President Alexander Lukashenko.
Kyrgyz authorities have nothing to add, but local media outlets are also reporting that Bakiyev has purchased a house outside of Minsk for $2 million. Kyrgyzstan’s yellow, and often vindictive press has made outrageous claims about the former president and his family in the past, however, without much concern for veracity.
Belarus, widely recognized as the most authoritarian country in Europe, welcomed Bakiyev in 2010 after his security forced clashed with protestors, leaving almost 100 dead. Bakiyev, who helped lead Kyrgyzstan’s so-called Tulip Revolution in 2005, is still wanted at home in connection with the deaths and on corruption charges.