Russia offers help in stabilizing Kyrgyzstan
Russia is ready to render various assistance in overcoming the current political turmoil in Kyrgyzstan, a Russian deputy foreign minister told the head of the Kyrgyz interim government on Monday.
Grigory Karasin told Prime Minister Roza Otunbayeva that Russia "took very close to the heart" the violent unrest which claimed the lives of at least 80 people and led to the overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
"Our mission is to find out where we can be of help, what measures can Russia undertake to help in stabilizing and normalizing situation in Kyrgyzstan," Karasin said.
The situation in the Central Asian republic remains strained, with sporadic violence breaking out now and then. The self-declared interim government urgently needs funds and fuel to normalize conditions in the impoverished state.
The republic is to hold a referendum on a new draft constitution on June 27, followed by parliamentary elections on October 10. The new constitution could turn Kyrgyzstan into a parliamentary republic, with the role of the president reduced and impeachment procedures simplified.
"Our mission is to understand what are the main problems facing the interim government. What plans are there to legitimize power structures in these difficult conditions, what will happen to the constitution?" Karasin said.
Otunbayeva said the interim government was "very thankful to Russia for all the support we have received."
"Russia has been with us this while time," she added.
Russia has repeatedly shown political support for the new Kyrgyz government, possibly even to the detriment of other former Soviet allies.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has recently hinted that his country might reduce its financial aid to Belarus over the country`s decision to invite ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to the country.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, in his turn, advised the Russian leader to "remember" about the early missile warning radar in the town of Baranovichi and a base in Vileyka, which provides communication with the Russian submarine fleet in the Atlantic Ocean. Russia uses both facilities free of any charge.
A Kyrgyz delegation paid a visit to Moscow last week to discuss the terms of Russia`s financial assistance to Kyrgyzstan.
The Russian government has already expressed readiness to provide aid to Kyrgyzstan`s interim authorities. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Russia would give Kyrgyzstan a $20 million grant and a $30 million concessional loan to help stabilize the economic situation in the impoverished country.
Russian authorities refused, however, to simplify the entrance rules for Kyrgyz citizens despite an increase in the number of applications.