Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 49

A new government proposed by President Askar Akayev and approved by the legislature took office in Kyrgyzstan this week. Most of its key members, including Prime Minister Apas Jumagalov, had served in the same posts in the preceding government (see Monitor, February 27). For reasons that were not explained officially, Kyrgyzstan failed to join the CIS customs union (currently comprised of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) on February 20 as scheduled. Jumagalov favors accession, but not without serious reservations. He recently pointed out that Kyrgyzstan’s customs legislation is more liberal than that of Russia and urged Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and other Russian officials to renounce protectionism if the customs union is to benefit the member countries. According to Jumagalov, the customs union offers the advantages of access to the Russian market, but also disadvantages such as the need to bring national taxation and the import and export tariffs in line with those of the partner countries, the risk of deteriorating relations with international financial institutions, and the [added "the"] reduction of exports to the "far abroad." (12)