Sunday, April 3, 2005
Shortly before parliamentary elections were held in Kyrgyzstan, an opposition-run newspaper ran photographs of a palace under construction for since-deposed president Askar Akayev. This newspaper received grants from and was printed on a printing press financed by the US government.
The US government itself confirms this. In fact, nearly one year ago in May 2004, Lorne Craner, US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor revealed:
We did a project recently... in Kyrgyzstan where there had only ever been one printing press. We funded the operation of another printing press there so that newspapers that were once unable to print day by day -- due to censorship and lacks of facilities -- are now able to print much more often, basically every day now.
Kyrgyzstan became the nation with the highest per-capita foreign assistance level in central Asia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Most of the money came from the US, under the FREEDOM Support Act, passed in 1992 to help former Soviet republics in transition. Money ear-marked for Kyrgyz pro-democracy programs totaled about $13.3 million dollars last year.
According to a US State Department statement, the programs receiving the money "focus on improving political processes and accountability of government institutions, strengthening civil society and public advocacy, and supporting independent media."
Akayev, in an interview with RIA Novosti, said that the opposition which had taken over the government in Kyrgyzstan was supported "with financial and technical support from the USA."
As proof, he cited a report which was posted on the Internet and attributed to the US ambassador in Kyrgyzstan. "The scenario was carried out to a tee. In it he writes that president Akayev has to be toppled, removed. And because the country is key, a neighbor of China, with a Russian [military] base, it's necessary to increase influence there."
The New York Times described this report as "crudely forged" and Kyrgyzstan's new leaders have pledged to keep both the US and Russian military bases in the country and maintain friendly diplomatic relations with Russia.
== Related news ==
"Akayev willing to resign as president of Kyrgyzstan" — Wikinews, March 31, 2005
"Upper house of former Kyrgyz parliament steps down, Bakiyev pledges to fight corruption" — Wikinews, March 29, 2005
"New Kygryz parliament backs Bakiyev, lower house of former parliament steps down" — Wikinews, March 28, 2005
"Kulov declares newly elected parliament legitimate, Kyrgyz parliamentary conflict deepens" — Wikinews, March 27, 2005
"New Kyrgyz election scheduled after lightning coup" — Wikinews, March 27, 2005
"Multiple parliaments meet in Kyrgyzstan, legitimacy uncertain" — Wikinews, March 26, 2005
"Police, militia confront looters in Bishkek, leaders say city now calm" — Wikinews, March 26, 2005
"Five dead, over 200 injured as looting continues in Bishkek" — Wikinews, March 25, 2005
"Akayev flees Kyrgyzstan as protesters seize control of Bishkek" — Wikinews, March 24, 2005
"New Kyrgz interior minister says force may be used, riot police clash with protesters in Bishkek" — Wikinews, March 23, 2005
"Kyrgyz government declares elections valid, refuses to declare state of emergency as opposition cements control of the south" — Wikinews, March 23, 2005
"Kyrgyz president orders election probe as protesters seize control of second city" — Wikinews, March 22, 2005
"Violent protests break out in Kyrgyzstan over allegedly rigged parliamentary elections" — Wikinews, March 21, 2005
== Sources ==
Steve Gutterman. "U.S. Programs Aided Kyrgyz Opposition" — AP, April 1, 2005
"Ousted Kyrgyz leader blames US for toppling of his regime" — AFP, April 1, 2005
George Gedda. "U.S.-financed printing press helped opposition in Kyrgyzstan" — AP, March 30, 2005
Craig S. Smith. "U.S. Helped to Prepare the Way for Kyrgyzstan's Uprising" — The New York Times, March 30, 2005
"New Report Recaps U.S. Efforts to Support Human Rights" — Embassy of the United States, Japan, May 2004