Kyrgyzstan. During the year, a bitter political battle was fought over the mining of the large gold deposits in the Tian Shan Mountains. There, the Kumtor mine accounts for half of the poor country’s exports, and a growing opinion called for Kyrgyzstan’s share of the profits to increase, as well as compensation for environmental degradation that is said to jeopardize the health of the local population.
According to Countryaah, Parliament demanded in February that the government should renegotiate the agreement with Canadian mining company Centerra Gold, which controlled 67% of the mine and was considered to have a too low tax rate.
Three opposition politicians from the Fatherland (Ata-Zjurt) were brought to trial for a demonstration in the capital Bishkek the year before, when they demanded the nationalization of the Kumtor mine, the dissolution of parliament and the election. Now a series of protests, partly on horseback, were carried out in support of the three politicians and demanding the dissolution of Parliament. The three were sentenced to prison between one year and 18 months accused of causing public riots and trying to overthrow the government.
In May, activists who closed the electricity supply to the mine were arrested, and violent protests ensued. Police went in with shock grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets – many people were injured and many were arrested. President Almazbek Atambayev introduced a state of emergency in the district, but the protests spread south, where the governor’s regional office in Dzjalal-Abad stormed with demands for the release of the three imprisoned politicians. The protesters appointed the leader of the protest as “the people’s governor”, but he was arrested by police.
The three opposition leaders were acquitted by an appeals court in June, but the acquittal was appealed by prosecutors, and the Supreme Court ruled that the three were guilty. They did not have to return to prison but were deprived of their mandate in Parliament. The convicts claimed that the verdict was political.
A government envoy to the mining region in October was taken hostage by activists on horseback who demanded the nationalization of the Kumtorg mine. He was threatened with life, but police with tear gas dispelled the protesters who were arrested and charged.
The government negotiated a new agreement with the mining company, where both parties would own 50% of the Kumtorg mine. However, the opposition demanded nationalization or at least 67% state ownership. President Atambayev, who termed the violent protests as terrorism, said that Kumtor could not be nationalized without major losses to the Kyrgyz economy.
When the proposal for a new agreement was presented to Parliament, it was rejected, and the majority of the elected people voted for a demand of 67% state ownership. Thus, the government was crowded, as the mining company demanded a share of at least 50%.
The lawyer who defended the three indicted opposition politicians was assaulted in November and badly beaten by unknown perpetrators. He was taken unconscious to hospital.
At the end of the year, former President Achmatbek Keldibekov was arrested on charges of abuse of power and financial crimes. It led to violent demonstrations, in which thousands of opposition supporters stormed a government office in Osh and demanded Keldibekov’s release.
President Atambayev signed a law at the beginning of the year that increased the maximum penalty for bridesmaids to seven years in prison, and up to ten years if the bride abducted is younger than 17 years, minimum age for marriage.
In February, a verdict fell against former President Kurmanbek Bakijev, who overthrew in 2010 and fled the country. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison for abuse of power.
Kyrgyzstan decided that the agreement with the United States on the Manas air base should be terminated and that military use of the base should cease in 2014 as NATO forces leave Afghanistan.
Parliament ratified an agreement with the Russian Federation on the construction and operation of nine hydroelectric plants in the Naryn River, a project criticized by neighboring Uzbekistan, which fears less water flow.
With China, a declaration on strategic partnership was written, and it was decided on Chinese billion-dollar investments in, among other things. gas pipeline and new highway between northern and southern Kyrgyzstan.