Who and how does Kyrgyzstan represent the international scene?
About what lies behind the sparkling signs of the diplomatic institutions of Kyrgyzstan …
“Lame ducks” are, for example, many of our extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors who go abroad for a beautiful life. They are for free drinking expensive cognacs at numerous receptions. They attach their children abroad. Every ambassador’s salary is paid to a wife somewhere within a thousand euros a month – just because she’s a wife. Nishtyakov they have a lot. But there is no effect … “
This is the opinion of our expert, Doctor of Law, Counselor of the Diplomatic Service Kairat OSMONALIEV. We know more about foreign policy of Kyrgyzstan from official reports and ceremonial pictures of all kinds of visits and meetings. Our interlocutor drew another picture – non-parade. And he opened the behind-the-scenes side of Kyrgyz diplomacy – and far from completely.
– Do you think there are any changes in Kyrgyzstan’s foreign policy after the change of power in the country?
– There is. Spoiled relations with Kazakhstan are being established. With Azerbaijan under our previous authority, we quarreled to the nines, it was not until the embassy closed in this country. Now President Jeenbekov corrects the situation. With China, however, it is more difficult – the head of our state returned from there, frankly, not quite satisfied.
– Is it?
“That grant of 600 million yuan , which China gives us for the reconstruction of roads, can be considered a modest gift compared to the amount of investment that our neighbors can count on. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and even Tajikistan within the framework of the Chinese initiative “One belt – one way” will receive investment projects totaling 8 billion yuan . And this, I believe, is the result of the activity (more precisely, inactivity) of the current Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan in China, Azamat Usenov. By the way, he is brought to his son-in-law by the former mayor of Bishkek, Albek Ibraimov. I even heard that during that visit to the PRC, the President heavily chastised Ambassador Usenov, and Foreign Minister Abdyldaev said: “You are a Sinologist, why do not economic projects with China advance?”
The so-called economic diplomacy, which Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev likes to speak beautifully ,does not work at all. Who from the Kyrgyz ambassadors brought at least some economic benefit to his country ?! Let Abdyldaev at least one example lead, boast. In general, in the foreign policy of Kyrgyzstan, the president in manual mode, with large strokes, corrected something. But the executors of our foreign policy are “lame ducks”.
– This is a vicious term, Americans designate a politician who is still in office, but he does not decide anything, because he is not to be reelected. Another value is a bankrupt company. And what is your point in this phrase?
– Both that, and another. “Lame ducks” are, for example, many of our extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors who go abroad for a beautiful life. They are for free drinking expensive cognacs at numerous receptions. They attach their children abroad. Every ambassador’s salary is paid to a wife somewhere within a thousand euros a month – just because she’s a wife. Nishtyakov they have a lot. But there is no effect. All these “lame ducks” should leave the diplomatic service and not return there. They need to be officially announced as BANKS. In their place must come professionals.
– And today the foreign policy of Kyrgyzstan is conducted by non-professionals?
– In many respects the weather is done by them. “Cadres decide everything” – this old formula has not been refuted yet. At the time of Atambayev’s presidency, foreign policy was jerky, chaotic and inconsistent. Almazbek Sharshenovich managed foreign policy as best he could – and for this he surrounded himself with the most, he believed, obedient and faithful executors of his will. Moreover, it did not matter to him that a specific person who performs work in the foreign policy sphere does not possess the necessary professional skills and qualities.
And, you know, I would not call the foreign policy of Kyrgyzstan of that period Atambayev. The greatest “contribution” to our diplomacy (the consequences of which, unfortunately, will be felt for a long time) was made by Sapar Isakov , the permanent head of the foreign policy department of the presidential staff.
– You do not exaggerate his role?
– No. Sapar Isakov on this front decided almost everything – who will be the ambassador, to whom to say what to participate in, what to sign . Almost all foreign policy, this young man, who liked Atambaev, closed himself.
Many of the current leaders of the Kyrgyz overseas institutions are appointed by Sapar Isakov. For example, Kadyr Toktogulov , Kyrgyz ambassador to the United States, former press secretary of Atambayev’s president. Yes, he speaks fluent English – he graduated from the American University of Central Asia. But Toktogulov did not work for a day in the diplomatic service system.
– His appointment and for us was a shock. “The era of” amateurs “continues in our diplomacy,” our newspaper wrote in January 2015, when, following Rina Prizhivoit and Zamira Sydykova, a young man with only a journalistic education was appointed to the most important diplomatic post, who did not even show himself as a spokesperson .
– What does this young man, representing Kyrgyzstan’s interests in the superpower, do? This can be judged from photographs on the Internet. Kadyr Toktogulov hangs out in some dubious bars resembling gay clubs, actively consumes alcoholic beverages – and photos of all this appear in social networks. For the ambassador, I think this is impermissible, untenable, ugly. By the way, the term of Toktogulov’s trip has already ended, but for some reason they are not in a hurry to return him to Kyrgyzstan.
Another example is the appointment of Mirgul Moldisayeva as the permanent representative of Kyrgyzstan to the UN . Before that, she headed the department of international cooperation of the government apparatus, and before … was the secretary in the reception room of Sapar Isakov. Now let’s see who represented and represents in the United Nations, for example, the Russian Federation: Sergei Lavrov, Vitaly Churkin, Vasily Nebenzia. The real bison of diplomacy! Is it possible to compare them with Moldova? The most experienced and trained diplomats are usually appointed to this high post . But Kyrgyzstan, unfortunately, has become an exception in this regard.
You probably heard: in diplomacy there is such a thing as a “parachutist”. These are, as a rule, friends of leaders of states or other influential persons who are appointed ambassadors to other countries without any diplomatic experience.
It’s good if they are famous people, with political baggage, respected – like, for example, Chingiz Aitmatov. Then it is understandable and justified. But when to represent the country abroad send “parachutists” who do not have any political weight … In those countries, after all, too, draw conclusions – not in favor of Kyrgyzstan.
– How does non-professionalism influence diplomacy in Kyrgyzstan’s foreign policy?
– We can briefly list the most odious omissions and omissions of Kyrgyz diplomacy during the years of Atambayev’s rule, when Sapar Isakov controlled foreign policy as the head of the foreign policy department with the rank of deputy head of the presidential staff.
The deterioration of relations with the United States. The decision to withdraw the US military base was probably true from the point of view of Kyrgyzstan’s national interests. But it was carried out, in my opinion, very clumsy. The result is a curtailment of cooperation with the US in almost all areas. Including diplomatic: pay attention to how long Washington does not send its ambassador to Bishkek.
Deterioration of relations with Russia . Relations with our strategic ally and the main partner developed chaotically, inconsistently and unpredictably. At first, as you remember, the president’s team in fanfare-bravura style reported as a major success about the arrival of Gazprom in Kyrgyzstan. Sapar Isakov, by the way, is quite officially – it was for some reason permitted – he was a member of the board of directors of LLC “Gazprom Kyrgyzstan” (and, according to the media, he received a salary of 10 thousand dollars). Then – a scandalous unilateral rupture of the contract for the construction of a hydropower plant with RusHydro and accusations of dishonesty by the Russian side. Came to direct outrage against the Russians from Atambaev. And this despite the fact that only Russia has written off all debts to Kyrgyzstan that were formed during the years of independence – about 500 million dollars.
– Do you think that Sapar Isakov had to do with the rupture of that agreement?
– I am convinced that Isakov was involved in all major foreign economic projects – Atambaev gave him carte blanche. Remember who was at the source of the adventure with the Czech company “Liglass”? Correctly – the head of foreign policy Sapar Isakov. Your newspaper wrote about how Isakov – already at the post of prime minister – nearly gave up the Manas airport for a quarter of a century under Turks’ control. Further…
Deterioration of relations with Kazakhstan. The result is a huge damage to the economic interests of Kyrgyzstan, big problems for our entrepreneurs, as well as compatriots who live and work in Kazakhstan. And who would be prevented by $ 100 million to adapt to the conditions of the EEA, which the Kazakh side intended to transfer to Kyrgyzstan and which we refused? The peak of deterioration occurred in 2017, but relations began to deteriorate earlier. In Kazakhstan for more than two years there is no Kyrgyz ambassador. And this is a diplomatic sign. This means that Kyrgyzstan in this country is not seriously represented. As far as I know, the Kyrgyz side offered some candidacies for the post of ambassador, but Kazakhstan did not give an agronomist – its prior consent. This is also a sign …
Well, all ended with personal insults from Atambayev addressed to President Nazarbayev.
– Do you think these attacks were improvisation of Atambayev himself? Or did Sapar Isakov attach a hand to these speeches?
– I’m almost 100% sure: for many of what was said by Almazbek Atambayev on foreign policy, the point of view of Sapar Isakov was covered. He painted Atambaevu a certain picture, and the president emotionally reacted. And improvisations were born. Let’s continue …
Gradual deterioration of relations with the European Union. Outwardly everything looks safe and respectable, no one arranges demarches, does not slam the door and does not insult anyone. But cooperation is noticeably frozen – there is no development. There is a decrease in the number of projects financed by the EU. By the way, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nurlan Abdrakhmanov , who is in charge of this important area, DOES NOT HAVE AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE. But this is the official language of the EU, on which agreements are being drawn up with Kyrgyzstan.
Meanwhile, the concept of Kyrgyzstan’s foreign policy envisages the strengthening of the European vector. By the way, do you know that this concept was approved in January 2006? And after that, it did not change and was not processed. But this is the main document that determines the foreign policy of the country. It turns out that Kyrgyzstan is still building this policy, based on the reality of twelve-year-old!
Deterioration of relations with Azerbaijan . It happened because Kyrgyzstan, represented by Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldayev in 2016, refused to sign the resolution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Nagorno-Karabakh. The resolution supported the position of Azerbaijan and condemned Armenia’s actions to destroy cultural property on the territory of Karabakh. Kyrgyzstan became the only country in the Muslim world, which, roughly speaking, jumped aside. Azerbaijan did not like this very much – like most countries participating in the OIC. Prior to that, the Azerbaijani side had allocated a new building for the embassy of Kyrgyzstan, and equipped it. And after the Kyrgyz demarche, all this work was canceled. Our people did not come up with anything cleverer than to recall the Kyrgyz Ambassador Ajigit Buranov from Baku. And he, by the way, graduated from MGIMO – such specialists in our Foreign Ministry can be counted on the fingers. I understand that Minister Abdyldaev is also feeling some kind of hostile feelings towards him.
– Or maybe there was logic in the position of the Kyrgyz side? Still, with Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan is at once in two unions – the CSTO and the EEA. And if our country was forced to choose between Armenia and Azerbaijan …
– There were no risks from joining to that duty resolution for us. It duplicated the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. And in 2013, all the same minister Abdyldaev signed a similar resolution without problems. And all the professional diplomats from this 180-degree turn made an unambiguous conclusion: Kyrgyzstan under somebody’s influence is pushing Armenian interests . That is, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic to the whole world has shown that it takes decisions not dependent. Such pirouettes in diplomacy are completely out of place.
This is the first. Second, Armenia and Armenia have absolutely no economic relations. And there is Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan was ready to invest millions of dollars in investment projects in Kyrgyzstan.
Now the most interesting. Just in the period of worsening relations with the United States, the European Union and Azerbaijan, Kanat Tursunkulov was in charge of the Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of these areas . Personality in its own famous. Do you remember how at the end of 2008 a huge scandal broke out? Perhaps the most grandiose in the history of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan … The Chekists intercepted at the Manas airport a smuggled cargo – 12,000 packs of cigarettes, weight – 270 kilograms. The cargo was issued as a diplomatic post, its sender was the Foreign Ministry, the recipient was the Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in the UK. It turned out that this is the sixth or seventh contraband operation: the most impudent way to stuff cigarettes for sale in London, where the price for them is several times higher.
So, on charges of complicity in this crime, this same Kanat Tursunkulov, who then headed the Department of Western Countries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic and was in charge of the European direction, in particular, the embassy in London, was arrested. He was closed in the GKNB jail. And then the most interesting happened. On April 7, 2010, the criminal case on smuggling is safely destroyed by a fire in the building of the General Prosecutor’s Office . Do you know who was the investigator in the case? Kylychbek Arpachiev, who is currently serving his sentence for taking a bribe of 100 thousand dollars!
– And what – did not restore the criminal case?
– I do not know this. But I did not see any court decision on it. The criminal case, apparently, somehow stopped. Tursunkulov left the detention center. And Minister Erlan Abdyldaev – as far as I know, Tursunkulov’s friend – again took him to the Foreign Ministry.
Now Kanat Tursunkulov is in charge of the First Political Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, overseeing the most important areas – Russia, China, the countries of Central Asia. The most recent example of his lack of professionalism is the organization in July this year of a meeting of the Central Asian foreign ministers in Issyk-Kul. On July 21, the participants of the meeting celebrated the birthday of their favorite chef Tursunkulov, Erlan Abdyldaev, in Cholpon-Ata. But there was not envisaged a protocol meeting of ministers with the president of Kyrgyzstan. Behind this puncture, I think, lies the banal misunderstanding of the importance of the historical moment: for some time in Kyrgyzstan the heads of the foreign policy departments of neighboring countries have gathered, the development of relations with which President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has proclaimed as the highest priority!
And Minister Abdyldaev constantly covers Tursunkulov, does not pay attention to all his omissions and misses.
By the way, Tursunkulov is not the only participant in the contraband history that now works in the Foreign Ministry.
– The duty of diplomats is to protect the interests of citizens of Kyrgyzstan abroad. How is this going?
– Here is a striking example: one of our citizens worked in the Chinese city of Urumqi and overdue the visa. He was arrested, stayed in prison for about a year, while deciding the issue of his deportation – in terrible conditions. Blighted health. The Chinese themselves, as it turned out later, were told to him: “If you are from Kyrgyzstan, the question will not be settled soon”. But there is a Kyrgyz consul in Urumqi! According to my information, these our diplomats-majors do not even move, until their compatriots, they say, do not podmazhut.
I’ll give you an example. I am a freelance professor at the Shanghai University of Politics and Law. In this educational institution of the SCO, according to the signed memorandum, many employees of our power structures were disaccustomed. And when a whole delegation of the Shanghai University came to Kyrgyzstan, she was completely helplessly denied visas. When I asked about the reasons for the refusal of the Kyrgyz diplomat who made the decision, he answered: “I decided so – the Chinese do not give our citizens a visa either.” A sort of people’s avenger was found! At the same time, Chinese businessmen come to Kyrgyzstan in bundles. And we know why … But the employees of Chinese state universities become victims of such “avengers” here. Because they do not give money.
– Can you list the Kyrgyz diplomats who, in your opinion, are not professionals?
– Please – in addition to the above … Erkin Sopokov – the Consul General of Kyrgyzstan in Istanbul. Prior to that, he had not worked for a day in the Foreign Ministry system – he was the director of the state residence “Ala-Archa”, he worked in the financial department of the muftiate, he was deputy director of the State Tax Service. Known as a “chauffeur driver” – he once worked for the notorious Ikram Ilmiyanov.
In the same consulate in Istanbul, known as a very bread place, worked Alima Okeyeva , the daughter of a famous film director. She graduated from the Tashkent Theater School. By the way, she grew up in one yard with Minister Abdyldaev. Working in the consulate, Okeyeva got into a big scandal: she wrote a passport for a child that her mother had taken from Kyrgyzstan to the US without the consent of his own father – there was a complicated scheme. Okeyev wanted to be prosecuted, but now she works safely in the Kyrgyz embassy in Astana.
The Consul General of Kyrgyzstan in Yekaterinburg Boobek Salimzhanov joined the Foreign Ministry system as an inspector of the State and Territorial Administration Department and the personnel work of the presidential staff – this is the junior position in the civil service system. Nominee Sapar Isakov. Consul General of Kyrgyzstan in Almaty Aliyasbek Alymkulov , the hero of the April revolution, headed, as you remember, the Ministry of Social Development. Kylichbek Sultanov, ambassador in South Korea, is the owner of the newspaper Super-Info. Ibrahim Zhunusov , Kyrgyz Ambassador to Turkey, is a singer …
You can enumerate for a long time. Already mentioned me the ambassador in China, Azamat Usenov , the son-in-law of the former mayor of Albek Ibraimov, is also Isakova’s nominee. Like Aizada Subakozhoeva – Deputy Secretary General of the SCO from Kyrgyzstan. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she worked in junior positions, then Isakov transferred her to the foreign policy department of the presidential staff.
Both these diplomats, by the way, had the most direct relation to the scandalous deal with the Chinese TVEA companies at Bishkek CHP . Usenov, as I know, conducted all negotiations on behalf of Isakov on agreements with the People’s Republic of China related to loans and grants. Subakozhoeva also participated at all stages of the negotiation process. The most direct participation in the conclusion of the agreement on CHP was also taken by the Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev . It is known that the agreement auknulos country. But Abdildayev’s former boss, Sapar Isakov, is sitting in the SIZO as an organizer, and the performer, Abdyldaev, was interrogated, as I know, only as a witness . It seems very strange to me.
– It’s very strange that in the bleak picture that you drew, the role of Erlan Abdyldaev is incomprehensible. After all, he – the Minister of Foreign Affairs – is responsible, in theory, for the foreign policy of the country.
– Yes, and in September he will celebrate the sixth anniversary of his work at this important post. Abdyldaev seems to be a competent Sinologist, graduated from MGIMO, had time to work as a referent in the Soviet Embassy in Beijing, worked as Kyrgyzstan’s ambassador there … Who else, if not him, would seem to help the head of state in implementing foreign policy. But Abdyldaev, I think, has shown himself to be an unscrupulous, spineless and helpless head of the Foreign Ministry. He fully indulged Sapar Isakov, who, as I have said, closed everything on himself – from the appointment of heads of foreign missions to the formulation of the country’s foreign policy.
Among the many foreign policy punctures, we can mention the fact that Kyrgyzstan has not had ambassadors for six years in six countries – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, India, Malaysia, Afghanistan. But some of these countries are very important for us. The absence of ambassadors there (and they were not appointed sometimes by far-fetched proposals, for example, from personal dislike on the part of high-ranking officials) not only narrows the possibilities of Kyrgyzstan, but can be regarded in those countries as a manifestation of unfriendly intentions on the part of Kyrgyzstan.
– Do not you think it strange that the personnel cleansing, which after the change of power swept through Kyrgyzstan, still have not touched the Foreign Ministry?
– I think it’s natural. First you need to deal with internal affairs, and then really do foreign. The new president of Uzbekistan, Mirziyoyev, did the same: first he carried out internal cleaning, after which he dispatched most of the ambassadors – those who could not report on what they had done for the country. According to my information, after the end of the World Games of nomads, we can expect a new wave of rotations – already in the MFA system. I hope that all nonprofessionals, all these Isakov majors from the diplomatic service will be removed. I think we will learn a lot about the history of the Chinese company TVEA and other criminal cases. The question has matured, – Kairat Osmonaliev conclusively concludes.
The behind-the-scenes side of Kyrgyz diplomacy is an inexhaustible topic. And our newspaper will return to it.