Authorities probe Kyrgyz opposition’s discussion on ways to overthrow government

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Authorities in Kyrgyzstan are investigating two audio recordings apparently featuring the voices of opposition politicians discussing ways to overthrow the government, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

Kyrgyz Interior Ministry spokesman Bakyt Seitov told RFE/RL on March 22 that the audio recordings’ authenticity was being checked.

The two audio recordings circulated on the Internet on March 21-22. They carried voices similar to those of several opposition politicians discussing ways to seize power in Kyrgyzstan.

One of the politicians apparently involved, Bektur Asanov, confirmed to RFE/RL that such a discussion had taken place, but said the talks touched upon legal ways to hand over power to another government.

Asanov called the audio recordings’ appearance on the Internet as “an attempt to blackmail the opposition.”

The audio recordings about an allegedly planned unrest are absolute nonsense, Kubanychbek Kadyrov, the leader of the National Opposition Movement, told KyrTAG information agency on March 22.    

“There were two revolutions already and what is the result? A zero… There is no sense in achieving anything by ways of a coup. We do not even have such thoughts. But we will hold a kurultai (people’s assembly) very soon and raise the issue of [President] Atambayev’s voluntary resignation. If not, everything will be decided by the people. And we will be with the people,” he said.   

In the meantime, some 3,000 police officers have been deployed in Kyrgyzstan’s southern city of Osh days before local elections and a planned opposition protest.

The Osh regional police department’s spokesman, Jenish Ashyrbaev, told RFE/RL that, additionally, some 2,000 volunteers had joined the police officers in Osh’s central square on March 22.

According to Ashyrbaev, the police and volunteer deployment in the city center is “a planned event to exercise safety on the eve of local elections” scheduled for March 27.

Opposition groups announced earlier that they plan a mass protest in the city on March 24.

Sergey Kwan

TCA