Word out that the Kyrgyz government has collapsed. More as it develops, links forthcoming.
Random thoughts: I’d say Putin is probably being straight up on this. Bakiev was largely thought to be a creation, or an ally of the Kremlin, so his ouster would be counter to Russian interests.
Also, another thing to remember is this: Bakiev is from the lowlands of KZ, the Ferghana to be precise and has a lot of connections with the Uzbek majority in the Ferghana Valley. There are a lot of tribal politics in KZ still and I’m frankly surprised his government lasted as long as it did.
Update: From RIA Novosti, via Stratfor:
A leader of the United People Movement (UNM), Temir Sariev, said April 7 that the government of Kyrgyzstan has resigned, RIA Novosti reported. Sariev made the statement to journalists following reported negotiations between the Kyrgyz opposition and the government led by Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov. Opposition movement supporters have been protesting and rioting across the country, and there are unconfirmed reports of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev having left the country. The opposition has appointed Rosa Otunbayeva, the country’s former foreign minister, as chief executive, and is reportedly trying to release from custody the country’s former defense minister, Ismail Isakov, who was recently sentenced to eight years of imprisonment. The opposition has stated that if Isakov is released, then the movement will gain the support of the army. It appears that the opposition is trying to set up a new government around Bakiyev’s former Cabinet, which was dismissed en masse in October 2009, and it has resorted to a coup to achieve these ends.
It’s really hard to get a fix on what is happening in KZ right now. And with the rumors that Isakov will be released form prison to join the new government–which will be the former cabinet members dismissed by Bakiev in 2009, leaves open the possibility of Russian involvement. But still, I would err on the side of this being typical KZ-tribal-consensus politics and a revolt (obviously) against Bakiev’s increasingly autocratic rule, just like that of his predecessor, Askar Akayev.
More here and here. When you read the second link keep in mind something that is missing from it: Bakiev is from the Ferghana lowlands and the upland/lowland divide informs a great deal of Kyrgyz politics. Let me rephrase: it’s not necessarily a weakness. But I’d like to see more on the tribal and ethnic divide in Kyrgyz politics. My Kyrgyz friends are always telling me about this. I’m trying to track them down today and get a better post up on the country for tomorrow.