To reduce its vulnerability to being squeezed by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on energy supplies, Kyrgyzstan’s government is rushing into Russia’s embrace. Some experts, however, believe Bishkek is solving one problem by creating another.
In mid-2010, when 20-year-old Sultan Temirzhan uulu left Kyrgyzstan to attend university in St. Petersburg, he was unprepared for the big city noise and the White Nights of summer. He was also unprepared for the discrimination.
Economics, not politics is prompting Russia to get tough with Kyrgyzstan, a top Russian diplomat based in Bishkek tells EurasiaNet.org. At the same time, the diplomat blamed the Kyrgyz government for delays in a hydropower deal, asserting that officials in Bishkek were politicizing the issue.
The Kremlin is getting cranky over Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to obtain aid without any diplomatic payback. To convey their displeasure, Russian officials are now delaying cooperation agreements and demanding an expanded share of a Kyrgyz military facility.