Kyrgyzstan: Security services arrest alleged coup plotters from obscure party

Kyrgyzstan: Security services arrest alleged coup plotters from obscure party
Going to plot: A GKNB-issued mugshot of one of the suspects detained on June 5. / GKNB
By Eurasianet June 7, 2023

The security services in Kyrgyzstan have detained around 30 people led by the head of an obscure political party on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government

The State Committee for National Security, or GKNB, a successor agency to the KGBsaid in a statement on June 5 that the group was plotting to instigate unrest and exploit the turmoil in order to seize power.

Rosa Nurmatova, the head of Eldik Kenesh, the party at the heart of this alleged scheme, has no public profile of note in Kyrgyzstan. Her past does, however, include a period, around 2012, in which she was closely allied to the current president, Sadyr Japarov, and his close, long-time associate, GKNB chief Kamchybek Tashiyev.

The GKNB said in its statement that Nurmatova and her associates recruited over 100 disgruntled citizens over the past year with a view to provoking street unrest. They further suggested this scheming might have been engineered from overseas.

"The arrival of significant funds from foreign sources was expected in the near future to finance organisational matters and remunerate key officials," the GKNB said in its statement.

By way of evidence, the security services produced an audio recording allegedly featuring Nurmatova and her associates discussing the coup plan. The voices in the recording can be heard talking about preparations for “a commotion” and planning to gather large numbers of people.

“You need to know how many guys to get ready and how many guys are ready to come out. We need a number," one person, purportedly Nurmatova, is heard to say. 

The GKNB have said that four of Nurmatova’s alleged accomplices have already confessed.

While it has not been specified as yet what charge is likely to be levelled at this group, the likelihood is that the case will follow the pattern established by the arrests in October of another group of politicians and activists that the security services claim was organising disruptive rallies with a view to seizing power. 

Japarov’s government is acutely aware of the potential for protests to escalate rapidly and lead to the toppling of the government as that is how he himself came to power in October 2020.

Few genuinely hardline critics of the current regime have escaped suggestions that they are scheming to instigate a coup in exactly the same way. Prosecutors are at present attempting to press parliament into stripping a government-critical lawmaker, Adakhan Madumarov, to be stripped of immunity from prosecution over alleged incitement to unrest. Among the charges being mooted for Madumarov are fomenting mass riots and plotting to seize power. 

This article first appeared on Eurasianet here.