Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 135

Feliks Kulov was elected by the municipal council yesterday to the post of mayor of Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek. President Askar Akaev had opposed the holding of a popular election for the mayor’s post, on the grounds that such an election would be too expensive. Akaev went on to issue a decree on July 10, nominating Kulov for the post and ordering the municipal council to vote on that nomination. The president expressly warned that he would dissolve the council and appoint Kulov directly, if the nomination is rejected. Kulov was state security minister until April of this year, when Akaev appointed him acting mayor of the capital. The appointment met with some opposition from representatives of the indigenous population, but was strongly supported by the Russian and other minority organizations. (Russian agencies, July 11 and 14)

As security minister, Kulov called for repression of Islam and cooperation with Russia’s security agencies in that effort. His successor in the security post continues Kulov’s policy, while Akaev generally equivocates on the subject. Kulov’s predecessor as mayor of Bishkek, Boris Silayev, was appointed first deputy prime minister in April. The appointments reflect Akaev’s careful consideration of the Russian minority’s group interests regarding personnel selection, language use and other issues. — VS

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