Tulip Revolution."). Sanjuro informs us:
The Russian language section of Ferghana says "it's the second day of the revolution, not fully successful - yet", but cautiously optimistic meaning it's pro-opposition.
As of yesterday and earlier today, law enforcement and opposition are clashing in the streets in the Bishkek, with the opposition laregly prevailing. The opposition firmly control the northern provinces, the south is in the swing mood - they used to be more pro-government. From Gazeta it seems that the President Bakiyev is either hiding or already fled the country. Just two weeks ago Bakiyev announced his intent to finally alter the Constitution to abolish elections etc. Ferghana doesn't know where he is.
Another Kazakhstan source, Silk Road Intelligencer, reports, "the opposition says it has taken power."UN Dispatch blogged today:
... the opposition is weak and fragmented. A coalition of opposition parties united behind Almazbek Atambayev in the 2009 presidential elections but only received 8% of the vote. Atambayev is nowhere to be seen during the recent unrest. Roza Otunbayeva, the leader of the Social Democratic Party and key member of the Tulip Revolution, has been the face of the protestors. Sadly, like the last time around Otunbayeva and company seem caught off guard and genuinely surprised at the ability of a popular uprising to unseat the government. In order to maintain any semblance of credibility the opposition will have to act quickly to stop looters....Kyrgyzstan has a youthful population. Out of the country's 5 million inhabitants, one third are under the age of 15. Two thirds of the people live in the countryside, where half the country's labor force devotes itself to agriculture. According to Reuters, a key source of foreign revenue was migrant workers in Russia, but since the Russian economic slowdown many have returned home. Kyrgyzstan's Kumtor Gold Mine, which opened in 1997, is based on one of the largest gold deposits in the world.
In addition to gold, Kyrgyzstan has one other dependable source of foreign currency: Kyrgyzstan hosts both a Russian and American military airbases (the US base came about as a result of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan). Reuters notes:
"Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted in February 2009 to approve the closure of the U.S. base after securing pledges of $2 billion in aid and credit from Russia. Washington later agreed to pay $180 million to Kyrgyzstan to keep the base open."____
"U.S. General David Petraeus met leaders in Kyrgyzstan last month, a day after the United States said it would build an anti-terrorism center there. The visit by Petraeus was likely to irritate Moscow which has seen Kyrgyzstan as part of its sphere of influence. The presence of the two bases has come to symbolize Russia-U.S. rivalry in the region."
*Usually Ferghana.ru (fergana.ru) is the best source of Central Asian news, but this time they are a bit late with an English language update.