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Last Updated: Friday, 25 March, 2005, 11:59 GMT
Kyrgyz upheaval worries regional press
People looting in Bishkek
Chaos in Bishkek

A day after demonstrations in Kyrgyzstan swept President Askar Akayev from power, newspapers in neighbouring countries are anxious about what the future holds for the region.

A Russian daily believes Moscow was wrong to remain inactive as an ally government collapsed, while papers in China see the events as US-inspired and aimed at weakening Russian and Chinese influence in Central Asia.

In Turkey and Ukraine, parallels are seen with the revolutions in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine.

Russia could have given Akayev timely military aid - there is no shame in that. We would have saved the situation. Even America would not have minded. But we overslept, as usual. Or did not have enough courage... Russia now has no other choice but to admit its terrible mistake. We have lost much. We have lost another ally. Russia now has only four left: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Tajikistan. If the Kremlin does not hurry and come up with a new political doctrine, we will have no allies left in two years.

Commentary in Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda

Yesterday's events showed that the leaders of the Kyrgyz "revolution of the crowd", having released the genie from the bottle, lost control of that genie, i.e. of the crowd... One can say without any possibility of a mistake that the Kyrgyz events were not masterminded by the West.

Commentary in Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta

[President Askar Akayev's] irrational behaviour prompted thousands of Kyrgyz to demand his resignation. He also preferred to ignore the indignation sparked in society by his orders to storm the regional administrations in Osh and Dzhalal-Abad on 20 March... It was the events of 20 March which finally provoked a spontaneous riot that knocked down Akayev's regime like a house of cards, although he was considered the most democratic leader in Central Asia. But he had completely lost touch with the real mood in his country.

Commentary in Russia's Vremya Novostey

The interference of outside forces [reference to the US and Europe] has played a very important role in the rapid collapse of the Kyrgyz regime... In comparison, the Collective Security Treaty grouping of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States has taken a stand which is too moderate; they seem to be strong in will but weak in power.

Commentary in China's Renmin Ribao

An important aim of the US in winning over Kyrgyzstan is to split up and weaken the two existing local security organisations - the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation [of which China is a key member] - from the inside, and so strengthen its strategic encirclement of Russia.

Commentary in China's Xinwen Chenbao

The fast developments in Kyrgyzstan have the behind-the-scenes support of the US and Western forces... What is certain is that the impact on the Central Asian region is unavoidable, and the capability of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization faces a test.

Commentary in China's Jiefang Ribao

Kyrgyzstan is the only country to have Russian and American military bases simultaneously... The Russian-US alliance might want to enjoy a democratic (!) victory. But I don't believe they would risk chaos in such a strategic country on the Chinese frontier - especially given the indecisive behaviour of the Kyrgyz opposition.

Commentary in Turkey's Yeni Safak

The civil revolutions taking place against leaders who do not give up power through elections in countries with a Soviet infrastructure are nearly identical... The possibility of the spread of these velvet revolutions to the Central Asian states, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and even Russia has now been increased. Elections, which are the source of such revolutions, should be closely watched.

Commentary in Turkey's Zaman

The Kyrgyz president, who has run the country since 1990, has turned out to be a figure of hate for his own people, and "democratic aspirations" have nothing to do with it. The patient Kyrgyz people - who even yesterday had little faith in the need for and the possibility of change, and who voted for the "right people" - have seized the opportunity to speak out. There is a direct similarity with the Georgian and Ukrainian events: like [former presidents of Georgia and Ukraine] Shevardnadze and Kuchma, Akayev simply got on everyone's nerves... But this revolution is not the same as ours or the Georgian one... who can guarantee that Kyrgyzstan will not take a new authoritarian turn?

Ukraine's Gazeta po-Kiyevski

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