Erica Marat, Associate Professor at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. said Atambayev’s outreach to Putin shows that “he clearly sees himself as a viable political figure in Kyrgyzstan”, emboldening his stance against the incumbent leader.
Marat said the pair’s confrontation is symptomatic of Kyrgyzstan’s failure to reform security institutions and courts.
“Jeenbekov must now decide whether to escalate violent confrontation with Atambayev’s supporters or negotiate,” Marat said.
Jeenbekov and Atambayev were once friends, and the former leader backed the incumbent in 2017 elections that marked an unprecedented peaceful transfer of power between heads of state.
But they fell out just months after Jeenbekov’s inauguration as Atambayev publicly criticised his successor and security services arrested several key Atambayev allies.
Political analyst and video blogger Azim Azimov raised fears that the standoff might devolve into a “civil conflict… if both sides decide to take it to the end.”
“This is the most scary potential outcome,” he said in a video published Thursday morning.