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MOSCOW PURSUED WISE POLICY ON KYRGYZ EVENTS

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 25. (RIA Novosti)-Nobody knows how Moscow would have reacted to the events in Kyrgyzstan if it had not learned the bitter lessons of the "orange revolution" in Ukraine, when even common sense told the Russian authorities not to state their preferences openly, writes Kommersant.

In relation to events in Kyrgyzstan, the Kremlin's position was almost impeccable. Moscow obviously favored Askar Akayev's regime, but never stated its support openly. Moreover, shortly before the February parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov received a leader of the Kyrgyz opposition, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, in Moscow.

During the elections, Moscow maintained a neutral position. The Kremlin neither campaigned for the party of power nor sent any spin-doctors to help it.

Moscow only committed a minor error when the Kyrgyz opposition incited public disturbances in the south of the republic. Russian TV channels broadcast alarming reports about disturbances provoked by extremists and drug barons. In addition, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov criticized "the so-called opposition," which he said had "not controlled anything for a long time."

Nevertheless, Moscow quickly found the right tone. Yesterday, the comments made by Russian officials were similar to those made by foreign politicians: we are concerned about the current situation and we believe that the crisis must be settled by legal means. As a result, when the opposition in Kyrgyzstan comes to power, Russia will not have to find excuses for previous attempts to "drown" it.

Nevertheless, this "wise policy" seems to have been largely devised on the cuff. For instance, Bakiyev was invited to Moscow mainly to threaten and soften up Akayev, who attempted to play both Russian and Western cards. Akayev correctly took the hint and refused to allow the United States to deploy AWACS planes in Kyrgyzstan.



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