The chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s Assembly of People’s Representatives (lower house of parliament), Abdygany Erkebaev, yesterday welcomed President Askar Akaev’s recent anticorruption measures (see the Monitor, December 14) but described them as belated and insufficient. Erkebaev compared Kyrgyzstan’s measures unfavorably to the measures in neighboring Kazakhstan and even in Russia. Although the presidential security council and the official press have combated corruption verbally, little has been done in practice, Erkebaev contended. “The men in high office–deputy prime ministers, ministers, heads of regional administrations–have gotten away with just a light scare” (Russian agencies, December 17).
The unprecedented arrests announced this week by the executive branch have–as the speaker’s remarks imply–not gone higher than the level of deputy prime ministers. That self-imposed limitation was traditional in the former Soviet republics, except when Moscow occasionally ordered an anticorruption purge as a cover for a political purge.
Last October a national referendum initiated by Akaev approved inter alia the cancellation of parliamentary immunity. Although the measure might facilitate anticorruption efforts, it seemed designed primarily to strengthen the president’s political hand in dealing with an often recalcitrant parliament.
NAZARBAEV WARNS OFFICIALS AGAINST OBSTRUCTING THE OTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES.