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Cablegate: Head of Kyrgyz Secretariat Claims Rfe/Rl Fosters

VZCZCXRO8657
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHNEH RUEHPW
DE RUEHEK #0096/01 0390645
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 080645Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BISHKEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3024
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RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 1642
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE IMMEDIATE 3700
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 3093
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 000096

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (GORKOWSKI)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/08/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KG
SUBJECT: HEAD OF KYRGYZ SECRETARIAT CLAIMS RFE/RL FOSTERS
INTOLERANCE

REF: A. 09 BISHK...

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BISHKEK 000096

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (GORKOWSKI)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/08/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KG
SUBJECT: HEAD OF KYRGYZ SECRETARIAT CLAIMS RFE/RL FOSTERS
INTOLERANCE

REF: A. 09 BISHKEK 1296
B. 09 BISHKEK 1274
C. 09 BISHKEK 1201

BISHKEK 00000096 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Ambassador Tatiana C. Gfoeller, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: In a friendly lunch at the Ambassador's
residence, Oksana Malevanaya, the Head of the Presidential
Secretariat, reiterated her opposition to RFE/Radio Azzatyk,
claiming that their programs are anti-government,
anti-Christian, and promote intolerance to the edge of
anti-Semitism. She said that the Uzbeks told her that
Secretary Clinton plans to visit in April, and pleaded that
if that is true, the Secretary "must" visit Kyrgyzstan as
well. She promised that the Drug Control Agency would soon
begin operations in its new institutional home under the
Ministry of the Interior, and confirmed rumors that the
Ministry of Defense would be abolished, replaced by a Council
structure with the current Minister of Defense at its head.
End Summary.

2. (C) The Ambassador hosted Oksana Malevanaya, the Head of
the Presidential Secretariat, for a lunch at her residence on
February 3. The discussion was friendly, and covered several
topics, including pressing for a visit by Secretary Clinton,
the future of the Drug Control Agency, and the abolishment of
the Ministry of Defense. The tenor of the discussion
changed, however, when Malevanaya introduced the topic of
Medet Sadyrkulov, and described her perspective on his
political activities and the nature of his death (septel).
This is Part I of two cables describing the Ambassador's
discussion with Malevanaya.

A Visit From the Secretary?
---------------------------

3. (C) Malevanaya said that the Uzbeks told the Kyrgyz that
the Secretary would be visiting them in April. Displaying
some nervousness, Malevanaya insisted that if the Secretary
visits Uzbekistan, she must visit Kyrgyzstan as well.
Malevanaya added that perhaps the Women's Rights Conference
(ref A), planned for Bishkek in May, could be changed to
coincide with the Secretary's visit, or perhaps the
Secretary's visit could be changed to May. Regardless,
Malevanaya said that she strongly supported the Secretary's
attendance at the conference, and welcomed Foreign Minister
Sarbayev,s intention to send the Secretary a letter of
invitation.

4. (C) The Ambassador raised the issue of pressure on the
American University in Central Asia (AUCA) to vacate their
current building. She told Malevanaya that AUCA is willing
to move, but they need high-level support to ensure that they
have a suitable new campus for relocation. Malevanaya
replied that she is familiar with the sources of the pressure
on AUCA, and that hosting the Women's Conference might
provide a solution. If they were to host a high-level
conference that the Secretary attended, they would be
relatively invulnerable to pressure: "If Hillary comes, AUCA
is golden."

Government Reorganization
-------------------------

5. (C) Following up on their last meeting, the Ambassador
asked about the status of the Drug Control Agency, noting
that we have contributed $22 million towards its development,
and that it is currently inactive. Malevanaya agreed that
things were proceeding too slowly, but noted that only the
day before, the President had signed a law reestablishing the
Drug Control Agency under the Interior Ministry. It will
soon begin operations again, she said.

6. (C) The Ambassador asked Malevanaya if it was true that

BISHKEK 00000096 002.2 OF 002


the Ministry of Defense would be abolished. Malevanaya
confirmed it, and said that all Defense functions, including
the Border Guards, would be placed under a Military Council.
The President of the Council will play a role analogous to
the Minister of Defense, and in fact the position will be
filled by the current Minister of Defense, Bakytbek Kaliyev.
The President of the Council will not be Commander-in-Chief,
however -- that role will be retained by President Bakiyev.
Echoing prior cautions (ref B), the Ambassador warned
Malevanaya that mixing police and military units under a
single command structure might pose legal constraints on the
ability of the U.S. to provide security assistance.

7. (C) Malevanaya also raised Maxim Bakiyev's proposal to
develop a counter-terrorism training center in the South, in
Batken Province (ref C). She said that it was very
important, and they want to proceed with it as soon as
possible.

Malevanaya Says RFE Anti-Government, Promotes Intolerance
--------------------------------------------- ------------

8. (C) On the issue of RFE/Radio Azzatyk, Malevanaya said
that she had reviewed the issue, as the Ambassador had
requested in their last meeting, and her conclusion that RFE
had an anti-government bias was if anything strengthened.
Malevanaya said that she recently had met with an RFE
official from Prague , and had shown her some egregious
examples of RFE's anti-government bias. According to
Malevanaya, the RFE official agreed that the pieces did not
represent objective journalism.
9. (C) Malevanaya said that her greater concern with RFE is
that it is contributing to undermining Kyrgyz traditions of
religious and cultural tolerance. She cited an RFE program
in which a participant said that it is outrageous that Maxim
Bakiyev is his father's heir, because he is the wrong color
(i.e., has a Russian Jewish mother, and therefore is not
sufficiently Kyrgyz), and he wears a cross. She said that
RFE appears to her to be anti-Christian, if not actually
anti-Semitic, and it feeds into the Kyrgyz nationalist
chauvinism that already exists in the opposition press:. In
this context, she cited an opposition newspaper article that
claimed President Bakiyev was surrounded by (a derogatory
Russian term for Jews), and said that as a Russian Jew
raising children in Kyrgyzstan, she is acutely sensitive to
the prospect of anti-Semitism.

10. (C) Continuing on the theme of anti-Russian sentiments,
Malevanaya raised the issue of a photography display by Amcit
Sergei Melnikoff, who, according to Malevanaya, said in an
interview with a Chechen media outlet that "the only good
Russian is a dead Russian." She asked, "Why are there such
outrageous Americans running around Kyrgyzstan?" The
Ambassador said forcefully that sentiments of that kind
against any group of people, including Russians, are
reprehensible, and that the Embassy had nothing to do with
his exhibit. Mollified, Malevanaya said that the pro-Russian
camp in the government is trying to use Melnikoff as a lever
to separate Kyrgyzstan and the United States. The Russians
are offended that the Kyrgyz would give his work a venue, and
"we're already out on a limb with them as it is,"
(implication: because of hosting the Transit Center at
Manas.) Malevanaya said that she has spoken several times
with the Russian Charge in an attempt to smooth things over.
(Note: The Embassy had earlier declined a request to sponsor
Melnikoff's display. Later that day, the Government canceled
the exhibit, and fired the Director of the Culture Agency in
charge of it. End note.)
GFOELLER

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