Ukrainian Defense Minister Claims Russia Is Planning A New Mobilization, Urges Russians To Avoid It

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has claimed Russia, bogged down in Ukraine after invading its neighbor more than 10 months ago, will soon announce a further mobilization, and urged Russians to avoid it.

“Avoid mobilization in any way. When the bunker leaders are unable to send new recruits, they will be forced to admit defeat. And the war will end. It will still happen and the question is in the price. And will this price be paid with your blood,” Reznikov said in a video message issued late on December 30.

According to Reznikov, Russia was preparing to close it borders to men of conscription age.

“I want to appeal to Russian conscripts. First of all, this applies to residents of large cities. I know for a fact that you have about one week left to make at least one choice. At the beginning of January, the Russian authorities will close the borders for men, then they will declare martial law,” Reznikov said, adding Belarus could take similar action.

“I’m not asking you to take my word for it. I want you to ask yourself only one question and answer it honestly: When you go to war, where you can die or become crippled for life, what exactly will you be fighting for, you personally?” the Ukrainian defense chief asked.

Russia invaded Ukraine 10 months ago, alleging a threat to its security orchestrated by NATO. The war has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions so far.

After Kremlin public denials that any such action was planned, Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 21 ordered a “partial mobilization.” At the time, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the military would seek to call up about 300,000 men.

The announcement triggered a massive exodus from Russia. Hundreds of thousands of Russians fled the country, with many crossing the borders into Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Reznikov’s video appeal came after the Ukrainian defense minister told The Guardian newspaper that the training of tens of thousands of mobilized and new conscripts in Russia may indicate Kremlin intentions to launch a new offensive in Ukraine.

Source: Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

President Sadyr Zhaparov receives number of New Year’s greetings

President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov received congratulations on the occasion of the New Year from foreign leaders of states, heads of governments and parliaments, heads of international organizations and others.

President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, Chairman of the Halk Maslakhaty Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matvienko, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Zhang Ming, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha sent their congratulations.

Source: Kyrgyz National News Agency

Putin congratulates Zhaparov and people of Kyrgyzstan on New Year

President of Russia Vladimir Putin congratulated President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov and the people of Kyrgyzstan on the New Year.

“Relations of strategic partnership and alliance between our countries are developing upward. Kyrgyzstan and Russia are actively interacting within the framework of the Eurasian integration processes, joining forces in countering the challenges of regional and international security.

I am confident that in the coming year we will continue our joint work to develop constructive bilateral cooperation in all areas for the benefit of our fraternal peoples.

I sincerely wish you, your family and friends good health and success, and peace and prosperity to all citizens of Kyrgyzstan,” Vladimir Putin said in his congratulatory message.

Source: Kyrgyz National News Agency

Tokayev extends New Year congratulations to president and people of Kyrgyzstan

President of Kazakhstan Kassym Zhomart-Tokayev congratulated President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Zhaparov and the people of Kyrgyzstan on the New Year.

“Please accept my sincere congratulations on the upcoming New Year 2023! I wish you well-being and new achievements for the benefit of the fraternal people of Kyrgyzstan,” the congratulatory telegram says.

Source: Kyrgyz National News Agency

Uzbek President Mirziyoyev’s congratulations on New Year

President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev congratulated President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov and the people of Kyrgyzstan on the New Year.

“Please accept my sincere congratulations and best wishes on the upcoming New Year 2023! I wish you good health and great success, and peace, prosperity and constant progress to the people of your brotherly country,” the congratulatory telegram says.

Source: Kyrgyz National News Agency

Ilham Aliyev congratulates Sadyr Zhaparov and people of Kyrgyzstan on New Year

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev congratulated President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Zhaparov and the people of Kyrgyzstan on the New Year.

“I believe that the traditional relations of friendship and cooperation between Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, our strategic partnership in the coming year will develop and expand in the name of the interests of our peoples.

I wish you good health and happiness in the new year, and peace and prosperity to the fraternal Kyrgyz people,” the congratulatory telegram says.

Source: Kyrgyz National News Agency

Turkmen president extends New Year congratulations to president and people of Kyrgyzstan

President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov congratulated President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Zhaparov and the people of Kyrgyzstan on the New Year.

“I sincerely congratulate you on the upcoming New Year 2023. I wish you good health, happiness and great success in responsible state activities, and well-being and further progress to the fraternal people of your country. May the New Year be a year of prosperity and new achievements for all of us!” the congratulatory telegram says.

Source: Kyrgyz National News Agency

Five Stories To Watch In Central Asia In 2023

ALMATY — From crackdowns on protesters to deadly border clashes and the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine, 2022 was a memorable year in Central Asia for all the wrong reasons.

Here are five stories that shaped the region in 2022 and could have a bearing on events in Central Asia in the year ahead.

‘Social Tensions’ Fueled By Inflation

In Kazakhstan, 2022 began with unprecedented anti-government protests and a brutal state crackdown that left at least 238 people dead. The unrest ended after Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev called in Russia-led troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The nationwide demonstrations were initially triggered by a hike in the price of fuel. But the protests quickly grew into a show of anger over corruption and nepotism that has plagued the country for years.

While they crack down on opponents — both real and perceived — the biggest threat to the authoritarian governments of Central Asia is surging food prices, observers say.

On several occasions this year, Moscow also cut off Kazakhstan’s access to a Russia-controlled oil pipeline that Astana relies on to export crude to the European Union. The move is a sign that Moscow is punishing its ally for failing to show sufficient loyalty, according to some observers.

This month, Kazakhstan joined 13 other countries in voting against a United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning rights abuses in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Previously, Astana had abstained on Ukraine-related resolutions.

A representative of Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, Aibek Smadiyarov, said online criticism of the vote had “an emotional hue.”

While recognizing Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Kazakhstan’s consistent position was “not to harm, but to help in overcoming problematic issues,” Smadiyarov said.

But Kazakh lawmaker Aidos Sarym told RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service that the decision was comparable to appeasing an alcoholic neighbor, adding that he hoped Kazakhstan would abstain in future votes.

Analyst Dimash Alzhanov told the service that Kazakhstan’s failure to modernize its military and security services meant that it would continue to look to Moscow for its security needs.

Holding Onto Power By Handing It Down?

In Turkmenistan, Central Asia’s most isolated and authoritarian country, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov stepped down and handed power to his son, Serdar, in a managed election in March.

Another transition could occur in Tajikistan, where there is mounting speculation that Rahmon is preparing to hand the reins to his son, Rustam Emomali.

Rahmon, 70, has been bestowed with the title of “Leader of the Nation,” suggesting he is likely to wield considerable influence even if he steps down.

In Turkmenistan, the elder Berdymukhammedov continues to play the role of a president. Authorities just announced that a newly built city would be named in his honor.

Deirdre Tynan, a senior adviser at Pace Global Strategies, says real change is unlikely, even if there is a change at the top.

“Neither Rahmon nor Berdymukhamedov senior are inspirational role models when it comes to good governance. How far can an apple fall from a tree?” Tynan told RFE/RL.

Father-son transitions can produce tension as well as continuity, she warned.

“The new, younger leaders inherit power structures that may not feel the same sense of loyalty to them as they did their fathers, and the risks here abound,” Tynan said.

Kyrgyzstan’s Unrest-Crackdown Cycle

The past year witnessed some of the most violent state crackdowns in Central Asia in years.

In July, Uzbek security forces used lethal force to crush protests over mooted constitutional changes affecting the country’s autonomous Karakalpakstan region, causing 21 deaths, according to an official toll.

In Tajikistan, the government’s crackdown on protests in the restive Gorno-Badakhshan region in May killed at least 16 people, although witnesses said the toll was much higher.

Historically, these more authoritarian governments have managed to crush dissent without putting regime survival on the line.

But in Kyrgyzstan, the region’s most pluralistic country, crackdowns have often come back to bite jittery administrations.

After revolutions in 2005, 2010, and 2020, it remains to be seen whether the shrinking space afforded to the opposition by Japarov will provoke another backlash.

Analyst Emil Dzhuraev says the Japarov government will survive in the short term because it is “different from some of its predecessors in important ways.”

In particular, Dzhuraev said, the current administration “enjoys a stronger support and more mobilized following among rural citizens” who have traditionally played a central role in anti-government uprisings.

But this support “has been declining over time,” Dzhuraev said.

Source: Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.