Thursday, May 25, 2006


A couple of weeks ago I was trying to dig out information on the economic factors which I suspected underlay various elements of Kyrgyz politics. This bit may be important:
"Last June, Nurlan Motuev -- the head of the radical Joomart political group -- and his supporters took over Beshsary, the largest mine in the Kara-Keche coal basin, which reportedly accounts for 30 percent of the country's coal production. Motuev established himself as Beshsary's director and demanded control over all five Kara-Keche mines, threatening to withhold coal supplies from the capital, Bishkek, during the winter.

"Motuev was arrested on May 23 on charges including taking over state property and tax evasion. Observers note that the arrest came after the murder of the alleged crime boss Rysbek Akmatbaev, who allegedly supported Motuev. Akmatbaev was assassinated on May 10 near Bishkek."

Based on this article from June 2005, Joomart would seem to be leftist in ideology, though mafia in practice:
"On June 6, Joldoshbaev’s Karakeche coal mine in the northern Naryn region was seized by 200 people claiming to be members of the Patriotic People’s Movement (Joomart).

"Joomart leader Nurlan Motuev told IWPR that the commandeering of the mine was part of an attempt to redistribute property in a just way following March’s popular revolution.

"'Corrupt officials and foreigners fed off the profit from this coal mine,' he told IWPR. 'From now on 70 per cent of the profit will go to local residents and the state can take the remaining 30 per cent.

"'Some people say these actions are illegal, that we have seized private property. I couldn’t care less about these laws, which were written during [former president] Askar Akaev’s rule! What did we bring about a revolution for?'

"Motuev also told journalists that three days earlier, on June 3, his organisation had seized storage facilities, equipment, keys, documents and mines belonging to Joldshobaev’s Besh-Sary firm, as well as those owned by another private firm Ak-Jol and by the Meerim foundation, which is the property of former first lady Mairam Akaeva."

Nathan Hamm has more.


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