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Ousted Kyrgyz present takes refuge in Belarus

This is interesting:

Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday that "Bakiyev and his family are in Minsk under the protection of our state and me personally." His presence, however, could exacerbate Belarus' tensions with both the West and neighboring Russia, as well as with Kyrgyzstan itself. ...

Lukashenko's move to give refuge to Bakiyev appeared to be an open challenge to Russia, which he accuses of trying to absorb or crush his country. Many observers suggest that Russia supported or even aided Bakiyev's ouster, angered by his reneging on a promise last year to evict the U.S. base.

With Moscow's role in the lead-up to the Kyrgyz uprising becoming more clear, it will be interesting to see how other authoritarian governments in the region respond. Lukashenko's government has resisted Russian pressure to recognize the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. With presidential elections scheduled for early next year, could we see Russia starting to put pressue on its onetime ally?

 

VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images

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