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RIA Novosti

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Tensions in Kyrgyzstan, where the opposition is clashing with the authorities, are reminiscent of the "velvet revolutions" in Georgia and Ukraine. Konstantin Simonov, the director of the Center for Current Politics in Russia, tells RIA Novosti about the political reasons for this situation.

Question: What is your view on what is happening in Kyrgyzstan?

Simonov: The situation in Kyrgyzstan has shown once again that claims about it being impossible to apply the Ukrainian scenario of the "velvet revolution" in Central Asia were excessively optimistic and unjustified. Despite differences in the political culture of those countries, the methods used, though with some changes, in Yugoslavia, Georgia and Ukraine have been effective in Central Asia too.

In fact, there were no obstacles to their use in the region, especially given that Kyrgyzstan was the weakest link in the chain of recent elections in Central Asia. This is why the blow was delivered at it.

It was apparent that the parliamentary election in Uzbekistan, which I attended as an observer, would pass off better than in Kyrgyzstan, because Akayev's power is weaker than Karimov's grip.

When the first results of the Kyrgyz election were made public, many commentators shouted jubilantly that a vaccine against "orange revolutions" had been found. They were wrong, of course, and we see that the situation in Kyrgyzstan is developing along a well-trodden path: the opposition refuses to recognize the election results and European organizations support it. I wonder why nobody was outraged by the president of Georgia winning nearly 100% of the vote. Unlike the situation in Tbilisi, the West is not satisfied with the regime in Kyrgyzstan, which explains the nervous reaction and double standards.

We see now that the OSCE is not acting as an observer but has become an active participant in these events, playing the part of an intermediary between the opposition and the authorities.

Question: What do you think will happen next in Kyrgyzstan?

Answer: So far, the events are developing according to the Ukrainian scenario. But I doubt that the opposition will be granted its demand: a third round of the election. The peak of confrontation will take place during the presidential election planned for this fall. This is when the sides will fight to the bitter end.

Other countries will soon offer their services in negotiations soon. Kyrgyzstan will have its own Kwasniewski and Walesa.

Q: What consequences could there be for Russia?

A: Russia is paying for erroneous decisions taken with regard to the post-Soviet republics. It had watched events there and tried to become friendly with their regimes, which did not regard Russia as a friendly country and were flirting with the West.

As a result, both lost. They lost because they thought that the West would disregard the internal political situation in their countries if they allowed it to invest in their economies. We see now that the West is ready to put pressure on these regimes and encourage a change of power to see more loyal and manageable people at the top.

We lost because we did nothing to create a pro-Russian elite in the CIS. The West spent several years bringing up a pro-Western political elite capable of challenging the incumbent authorities. It financed opposition structures and supported non-state media in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and other countries.

Russia should overhaul its foreign policy in the former Soviet states and start bringing up a pro-Russian political elite in the CIS.

Q: Do you think the geopolitical rivalry between Russia and the West in the former Soviet countries will diminish or grow stronger?

A: I think nothing will change in the near future, because the West has made its choice. Its policy with regard to the post-Soviet territories is apparent: it will play for regime change. Russia cannot accept this and so, though this may be sad, the conflict will not abate. I think that in the next few years the CIS will become the battleground of a new Russia-West cold war for geopolitical influence.

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