The government, as reported by 24.kg, revealed that $260 million of the promised funds to Kyrgyzstan are currently invested in the Russian securities market, and the Russian representatives within the fund have now chosen not to liquidate these investments.
To understand the reasons behind this move, we turned to our sources who are well-versed in the decision-making logic on the Russian side regarding such matters.
There are a few factors contributing to the hesitation in transferring funds to Kyrgyzstan at this time.
Firstly, with elections approaching in October in our country, it is widely understood that the current authorities will exploit any means to boost their election fund. They might even use the Russian funds for populist investments (such as a significant infrastructure project in a region where they need to garner votes for their chosen candidates).
The Russian authorities have not overlooked the adept way our government has utilized funds from international entities to combat the pandemic. For Russia, redirecting funds into the same «pot» now seems unproductive.
Secondly, a more fundamental issue lies in the current interaction between the Kyrgyz elites and Russia.
Originally, the RKDF was designed as a mechanism for Russia to financially reward Kyrgyzstan for the removal of the American military base. This agreement was brokered by Atambaev, and the exchange of the American base for the opportunity to utilize Russian funds is entirely Atambaev’s arrangement. The current status of Atambayev needs no further mention, much like the irritation caused in Moscow by last year’s events in Koi-Tash and the ongoing Batukaev story (among others), which everyone realizes has its roots in Russia, not in the pre-trial detention centre in Naryn.
Therefore, from a conceptual perspective, Russia no longer feels obligated to finance Kyrgyz projects under the terms of the old agreement. Furthermore, our northern partner is currently grappling with numerous economic challenges of its own: an economy stalled by the pandemic, reduced presence in oil and gas markets, ongoing sanctions, and so forth. Consequently, financing elections in a country rife with inter-clan conflicts and unpredictable leadership, perpetually swaying between loyalty and a multi-vector approach, is certainly not their priority.