Russian not-so-subterfuge in Central Asia over the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan may have been exciting six months ago but now only has me rolling my eyes over yet another example of Russian ambitions being played out. Rather than bore myself with an analysis I already know the answer to, I will simply refer you to three articles I've written if you want the tools to make sense of what's happening:
My question is why is Kyrgyzstan distancing themselves from the United States and making overtures with Russia and what exactly are the competing interests in the equation and how heavily do they factor in?
The following is a list (in no particular order) that I've come up with of possible factors.
1. Money. Russia is offering 2 billion in loans plus 150 million in aid dollars which is a good deal more than what the United States has been giving. Show me the money!
2. The ethnic makeup of Kyrgyzstan considers more tenable Russian relations rather than US relations?
3. Kyrgyzstan wants to see US efforts in Afghanistan fail.
4. Not only is Russia offering more money, but is pressuring Bishkek (capital city) in other ways to comply.
5. The United States is disliked by the Kyrgyzstan population
6. Kyrgyzstan is jockeying for points with China and sees this as a way to improve relations.
7. Kyrgyzstan president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, (elected in 2005 while base opened in 2001) sees the US differently than his predecessor and is using the recent Russian offer as an excuse to execute what he has wanted to do since elected.
At this moment I only have (good) questions. I'll do some research and come back with an analysis of not only what Kyrgyzstan is up to, but how this will affect and how this reflects trends in the greater Central Asia region.