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MOSCOW TO BACK NEW KYRGYZ REGIME

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 25 (Petr Goncharov, RIA Novosti commentator) - The Kyrgyz velvet revolution triumph was something of a surprise even to its leaders-such a rapid and unexpected turn yesterday's events took in Bishkek. Opposition was amazed to see power falling into its hands like a ripe apple down the tree. Its amazement came out the clearest as victorious leaders started coaxing their partisans to get back to the peaceful routine and spare the city violent anarchy. Those efforts are only a partial success now.

What matters to the nascent regime most is to gain support from neighboring countries, and from Russia and the USA-principal influences on Central Asia. Meanwhile, neither Kyrgyzstan's neighbors nor the West are outspoken about their opinions on the latest developments.

Russia, too, made do yesterday with a circumspect Foreign Ministry statement. It boiled down to a call to get the country back to law and order as soon as possible, comply with the national Constitution, and withstand from whatever steps that might undermine social peace and public safety. However, the several statements President Vladimir Putin made today make one expect Moscow backing the new regime.

Mr. Putin started with an address to it, in which he expressed hope for further progress of Russian-Kyrgyz relations. Bred by a weak previous regime and stockpiling social and economic problems, the Kyrgyz revolution was no surprise to Russia, said the President. He optimistically expects the new regime soon to take the situation under control and improve it. "We know those people quite well," he remarked with reference to opposition leaders, and highlighted their previous work in their country's ruling bodies. "They spared no efforts to promote Kyrgyz-Russian contacts. They have done much for our interstate relations to get on the current level. I hope our relations will go on making good progress to the benefit of the Russian and Kyrgyz nations."

The hope the President has expressed means, in fact, Moscow's recognition of the new Kyrgyz regime.

Kyrgyzstan has a very particular attitude to Russia. No one has ever made a secret of it-neither on the now fallen regime nor in the opposition. Bishkek hopes Russia will not misunderstand current Kyrgyz developments, Muratbek Imanaliev, prominent on the opposition, indicatively stressed in a Novosti interview last night. "Bishkek hopes to meet understanding in Moscow. The change of regime in Kyrgyzstan by no means implies whatever geopolitical factors. Domestic problems alone have caused it. To shift foreign-political bearings is the last thing Kyrgyzstan intends to do. Whoever stands at the Kyrgyz helm, Russia will remain Kyrgyzstan's top strategic partner."

Russia has understood what is going on in Kyrgyzstan, the President now said.

Russia is willing to host the overthrown President Askar Akayev if he chooses to come, added Mr. Putin.



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