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Ousted Kyrgyz President Arrives in Moscow

  • Anya Ardayeva

Askar Akayev (File photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly offered his help to the new Kyrgyz leadership. Meanwhile, reports in Moscow say that ousted Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev has taken refuge in Russia.

Kyrgyzstan's interim leader, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, says he spoke to the Russian leader on the phone, and was offered help.

Mr. Bakiyev says the Russian president expressed interest in what was happening in Kyrgyzstan, and asked if any help from Russia was needed to stabilize the situation. Mr. Bakiyev said he was grateful to the Russian leader for showing concern and extending the hand of friendship to Kyrgyzstan's new leadership.

Speaking in Yerevan, Armenia, on Friday, Vladimir Putin said the opposition leaders in Kyrgyzstan who have formed an interim government were known well in Russia, as they have worked in Kyrgyzstan's government in the past, and have contributed to developing relations between Moscow and Bishkek. He said Russia was ready to do everything to further develop the relations between the two nations.

Mr. Putin also said that the change of power in the central Asian nation was a result of weak leadership and multiple social and economic problems in the country.

The Russian leader said he was sorry that, once again, in the territory of the former Soviet Union, political questions are solved, "in an unlawful way," and are accompanied by what he called pogroms and human casualties. He called for Kyrgyzstan's interim leaders to bring the situation in the country under control.

The Russian president also said that ousted Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev was welcome to come to Russia.

Mr. Akayev fled the country on March 24, as opposition supporters stormed government buildings and took control of the capital, Bishkek. On Saturday, the Interfax news agency reported, the Kremlin confirmed that the ousted Kyrgyz leader had arrived in Russia. Mr. Akayev has said that he is still Kyrgyzstan's legitimate president. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the opposition leader appointed by parliament to lead an interim government, said he would run in a June election to replace Mr. Akayev as president.