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Rosa’s revolution

By Messenger Staff
Monday, April 12
The international community is observing very attentively the tragic events in Kyrgyzstan. The leader of the Kyrgyz interim government, former Foreign Minister Rosa Otunbaeva, is quite well known to the Georgian political establishment as around 7-8 years ago she worked in Georgia at the OSCE mission and was affiliated to some international organisations. She personally had very warm relations with Georgians and some members of the Georgian political establishment have expressed their confidence that if she remains the leader of Kyrgyzstan relations between two countries will be positive.

What is going on in Kyrgyzstan is still quite vague at the moment. Kyrgyzstan is not one of Georgia’s strategic partners, as their strategic interests lie in different directions, and both countries have enough internal problems of their own. So who will lead Kyrgyzstan does not make much difference for Tbilisi. However Kyrgyzstan is important, not as a partner or an ally of Georgia but as an example and warning of how things could develop here too. The present Georgian administration came to power by revolution, and Kyrgyzstan has just had its second revolution in a row.

Analyst Zurab Abashidze thinks that everything will become clear as soon as Kyrgyzstan sets its foreign policy. Russia was the first country to officially recognise the change of the power in Kyrgyzstan. On April 8 Russian premier Putin spoke with Rosa Otunbaeva on the phone and advised her to refrain from using excessive force, promising economic assistance as well. This prompted many analysts, politicians and journalists to suggest that Russian had a hand in the Kyrgyzstan events. On April 8 the Georgian President's Press Spokesperson Manana Manjgaladze said that according to the information available Russia is interfering in Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs and is trying to play geopolitical games at the expense of the Kyrgyz people. In Prague however a representative of the Obama administration expressed his confidence that the events in Kyrgyzstan were not a coup d'etat plotted by Russia.

Some analysts suggest that the Kyrgyz events will encourage the Georgian leadership to put further pressure on the opposition, which says it will hold big protest actions if the local elections on May 30 are rigged. The non-Parliamentary opposition have already started saying that the Kyrgyz events are an example of what might happen in Georgia. They stress that in Bishkek similar public protest about social issues became a military coup and resulted in casualties. They say that the Kyrgyz leadership ignored the demands of the people and were corrupt, implying there is a parallel in Georgia.

All sides in Georgia will be trying to take their own lessons from the Bishkek events and give these to their opponents. However both interpretations of the Bishkek events and the attempts to apply them to Georgia are dangerous for the country. Things in Georgia are developing in a very controversial way. Some time ago even making a telephone call to Russia was regarded as treason and those caught doing this were called Russian agents. Expressing pro-Russian sentiments was condemned generally. But now opposition leaders travel to and from Moscow openly and some already talk about establishing closer relations with Moscow and reintegrating the country through good relations within Russia.

The word revolution is now quite often heard coming out of opposition mouths, after those same mouths have spent years denouncing the very idea. So the situation is quite aggravated here without the Kyrgyz factor. The parallels between the situation here and the one in Bishkek just prior to that revolution are indeed disturbing, and cannot be ignored.