In Kyrgyzstan, a Kumtor Shakedown or Setup?

Fecha de publicación: 
22 Sep 2013

Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee on National Security (GKNB) announced the opening of a criminal investigation after the video appeared on state television 28 August, purporting to show two men who had previously voiced environmental concerns demanding $3 million from a Kumtor representative in exchange for an apparent guarantee not to orchestrate protests.

Speaking in broken Russian in the video, the two men, identified as Bakhtiar Kurmanov and Ermek Dzhunushbaev, tell Douglas Grier, Kumtor’s director of sustainable development, that if their demands are not met the mine would suffer dire consequences. “We will close Kumtor,” one claims. They go on to threaten they are ready to “declare war, there will be a civil war, there will be a revolution,” if Kumtor does not give them what they want.

The two claim in the video to have the support of nationalist politicians Kamchybek Tashiev and Sadyr Japarov. Those two recently lost their seats in parliament when the Supreme Court found them, along with another Ata-Jurt lawmaker, guilty of attempting to seize power in connection with an October 2012 incident, in which an anti-Kumtor demonstration erupted into a riot.