Sadyr Japarov

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Sadyr Japarov
Kyrgyz: Садыр Жапаров
Садыр Жапаров (05-11-2021).jpg
Japarov in November 2021
6th President of Kyrgyzstan
Assumed office
28 January 2021
Prime MinisterArtem Novikov (acting)
Ulukbek Maripov
Akylbek Japarov
Preceded byTalant Mamytov (acting)
In office
15 October 2020 – 14 November 2020[a]
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded bySooronbay Jeenbekov
Succeeded byTalant Mamytov (acting)
22nd Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
In office
10 October 2020 – 14 November 2020[b]
PresidentSooronbay Jeenbekov
Himself
Talant Mamytov (acting)
DeputyArtem Novikov
Preceded byKubatbek Boronov
Succeeded byArtem Novikov (acting)
Personal details
Born (1968-12-06) 6 December 1968 (age 53)
Keng-Suu, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union (now Kyrgyzstan)
Political partyMekenchil
Other political
affiliations
Ata-Zhurt
Spouse(s)
(m. 1991)
Residence(s)Ala Archa State Residence
EducationKyrgyz-Russian Slavic University

Sadyr Nurgozho uulu Japarov (sometimes Zhaparov) ([sɑdɯr nurʁoʒojevit͡ʃ dʒɑpɑrof]; Kyrgyz: Садыр Нургожоевич (Нургожо уулу) Жапаров, romanizedSadyr Nurghozhoyevich (Nurghozho uulu) Zhaparov; born 6 December 1968) is a Kyrgyz politician who has served as the president of Kyrgyzstan since 28 January 2021. He had previously served as the acting prime minister of Kyrgyzstan in the 2020 interim government following the resignation of Sooronbay Jeenbekov on 15 October 2020 amidst electoral protests.[1][2] Japarov also became acting president of Kyrgyzstan after Jeenbekov's resignation but resigned himself on 14 November 2020.[3][4] On 10 January 2021, Japarov was elected president.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Japarov was born in Keng-Suu, a village in the Tüp District in what was then the Kirghiz SSR within the Soviet Union, in the family of Nurgozho and Kadic Japarov. After finishing his middle school education in 1986, he joined the Kyrgyz National Academy of Physical Culture and Sport. In 1987, Japarov was drafted into the Soviet Army, where he served for two years in Novosibirsk as a commander in a telecommunications division.[6] After returning in 1989 with the rank of Junior Sergeant, Japarov continued his education in the academy until 1991. In 2006, Japarov graduated from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University in Bishkek with a degree in law.[7]

Early political career[edit]

Japarov started his political career after the 2005 Tulip Revolution. In March 2005, he was elected as member of the Supreme Council from the Tüp electoral district where he headed the Kelechek parliamentary faction. He was a supporter of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. In 2006, Japarov was a member of the State Awards Commission. In 2007, he was Deputy Chairman of the Amnesty Commission.[8]

In the 2007 parliamentary elections, he participated in the lists of the pro-presidential party Ak Jol, which won the majority of seats in parliament but went on to work as an adviser to the president. From 2008 to 2010, Japarov worked as an authorized representative of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption.[8]

In 2010, President Bakiyev was overthrown in the Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010. As a result of interethnic clashes that took place soon in Osh and Jalal-Abad, Japarov and his associates took an active part, which according to their own statements, they tried to prevent clashes. However they were accused by opponents in supporting the Kyrgyz nationalists.[8]

In the October 2010 elections, he was re-elected as a member of Supreme Council on the party list of Ata-Zhurt which led by Kamchybek Tashiev, which won the majority of seats. From there, he became the chairman of the Committee on Judicial and Legal issues.[8]

Exile and imprisonment[edit]

During one of the rallies for the nationalization of the Kumtor Gold Mine in the fall of 2012, the protesters attempted to take over the White House in Bishkek. Tashiev and Japarov were both charged under Article 295 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic "Forcible seizure of power or forcible retention of power." In March 2013, the Pervomaisky District Court of Bishkek found them guilty and sentenced them to one year and six months in prison. But in June 2013, the Bishkek City Court acquitted the politicians and released them in the courtroom.[9]

On 27 June 2013, during the protests against Kumtor in Karakol, the protesters tried to kidnap the akim of the region Emilbek Kaptagaev and take him hostage. The Kyrgyz authorities accused Japarov and Kubanychbek Kadyrov of organizing the plan. The protest leaders were detained, but Japarov, who denied his involvement, fled Kyrgyzstan where he lived for some time in Cyprus.[10][8]

In 2017, Japarov attempted to return to Kyrgyzstan. On 25 March 2017, he was detained at the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border. In the case of allegedly attempting to kidnap Emilbek Kaptagaev, he was sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in prison.[8] While in prison, Japarov founded the political party Mekenchil with Kamchybek Tashiyev.[11] Between 2018 and 2019, the party and its supporters grew and organized protests against Japarov's imprisonment.

Popularity in media and social media.[edit]

Much of Japarov's success is due to his strong social media campaigning, which has expanded in scale after his election to the president. Japarov told Kommersant in January 2021 that from 2017 to 2020, he created a power base from within prison by forming social media groups on Odnoklassniki, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. When questioned how he accomplished it from behind bars, he said, "According to the law, it is impossible, but we found a way out." However, three years of illicit social media outreach did not appear to have spread extensively among Kyrgyz people, since none of the respondents reported hearing of him during this period.[12]

Interim leadership of Kyrgyzstan[edit]

On 5 October 2020, protests and demonstrations against the results of the parliamentary elections began throughout Kyrgyzstan.[13]

After the release of Japarov from a seized government building on 6 October, he was taken to Ala-Too Square in Bishkek where he sought appointment to become prime minister.[14] Members of parliament staying at the Dostuk Hotel approved his appointment that night, however with the opposition's nomination, Tilek Toktogaziev, declaring himself to instead be the legitimate head of government.[15] Toktogaziev asserted the election to be illegal, claiming that members were pressured by Japarov's supporters who had gathered near the hotel.[16] Opponents of Japarov also highlighted the absence of a quorum (minimum attendance threshold) and a violation of parliamentary procedure.[10]

On 13 October, then-President Sooronbay Jeenbekov rejected Japarov's appointment as prime minister due to proxy voting occurring.[17][18][19] Jeenbekov requested for the parliament to reconvene and vote again for the nomination; this happened the following day, with Japarov again winning parliamentary nomination.[20] Japarov successfully was approved as prime minister by Jeenbekov, however was initially unsuccessful in persuading the president to step down until a new general election could be held.[21][22][19]

The following day, on 15 October, Jeenbekov resigned from the presidency, leading Japarov to declare himself as acting president.[23][24] Despite the Kyrgyzstan Constitution stating that the speaker of the Supreme Council should succeed the role, Kanatbek Isaev refused to assume office, resulting in Japarov becoming the acting president.[25][26] He was confirmed as president of Kyrgyzstan by parliament on 16 October 2020.[27]

President of Kyrgyzstan (2021–present)[edit]

Other[edit]

Japarov's first five executive orders were related to spiritual development, a new personnel policy, business protection, migration, and mining.[28] On 11 February, Japarov signed a decree on the celebration of the 120th anniversary of the birth of political figure Zhusup Abdrakhmanov.[29]

Kumtor Gold Mine[edit]

Since 2012, Japarov has advocated the nationalization of the Kumtor gold mine located in his native Issyk-Kul Region, and accused the management company, Centerra Gold, of environmental violations and corruption. In this regard, he gained popularity among his fellow countrymen.[8]

On 14 May 2021, he signed into a bill allowing for temporary government control over the mine, eight days after it was approved by parliament.[30] In response, Centerra Gold launched arbitration against Kyrgyzstan over the mine.[31]

Foreign policy[edit]

List of foreign visits by Sadyr Japarov
City and Country Dates Host Notes
Moscow, Russia 25–26 February 2021 President Vladimir Putin Official visit.[32] Met with Tatar President Rustam Minnikhanov.[33]
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan 2–3 March 2021 President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev Official visit.
Tashkent, Uzbekistan 11–12 March 2021 President Shavkat Mirziyoyev Official visit.[34] Visited the Innovative Technopark "Yashnabad" in Tashkent.[35]
Sochi, Russia 24 May 2021 President Vladimir Putin Working visit.[36][37][38]
Ankara, Turkey 9-11 June 2021 President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Official visit.[39]
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 27-28 June 2021 President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow Official visit.[40][41]
Dushanbe, Tajikistan 28-29 June 2021 President Emomali Rahmon Official visit.[42][43]
Türkmenbaşy, Turkmenistan 5-6 August 2021 President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow Working visit.[44]
Baku, Azerbaijan 19 May 2022 President Ilham Aliyev State visit.[45]
Moscow, Russia 16 May 2022 President Vladimir Putin Working visit.[46]
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 17 May 2022 President Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahayan Working visit.[47]

Japarov has emphasized his administration will have a "multipronged" foreign policy, with Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan being major partners under his leadership.[48]

The Russian Federation[edit]

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov and Kazakh Mazhilis Chair Nurlan Nigmatulin

Japarov has adopted a pro-Russia stance.[5][49][50] His first trip to a foreign country while in office was to Russia on 25–26 February.[51][52][53]

China[edit]

Japarov has suggested Kyrgyzstan pay off debt to China with mineral concessions.[54]

Central Asia[edit]

On 2–3 March, he visited Nur-Sultan, where he held consultations with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and former president Nursultan Nazarbayev.[55] Japarov secured a protocol aimed to ensure energy security of Kyrgyzstan by preventing Toktogul Reservoir from running out of water to a critical level.[56] During the visit, Japarov said that "there are no political contradictions between our countries" and that "We have many common interests".[57] He visited Tashkent a week later, where he and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev agreed to solve all border issues in three months.[58]

Japarov with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov in Bishkek, 27 February 2021

During the 2021 Kyrgyzstan–Tajikistan conflict, he led the Kyrgyz response to the clashes. On April 30, he held a telephone conversation with the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, during which he agrees to participate in a face-to-face meeting in Dushanbe in the second half of May.[59] He also proposed the creation of a peacekeeping commission composed of elders from both countries.[60] Later that day, Japarov addressed the Kyrgyz people, where he called for calm particularly from youth, underlining that the Tajik leadership don't want a war with Kyrgyzstan, noting their experience in the Tajik Civil War.[61] At the same time, he also accused "certain forces" of destabilizing the situation on the border.[62] He declared 1 and 2 May as a period of nationwide mourning.[63]

In June 2021, Sadyr Japarov and his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov met to discuss the possibility of Turkmenistan's supplying Kyrgyzstan with natural gas and electricity in the fall and winter.[64] This arrangement could become extremely important for Kyrgyzstan, which is hoping to convert its coal-burning power plant in Bishkek to gas. As Head of the Kyrgyz cabinet, Ulukbek Maripov, told lawmakers on June 17, gas is too costly.[65]

Criticism[edit]

Japarov has been described as a nationalist and a populist.[66] Among Western media, he has been compared to politicians like Ilham Aliyev and Donald Trump.[67][68]

Japarov is accused of adherence to Kyrgyz nationalism, with many labelling him as "a staunch nationalist inclined to violence", and an anti-Uzbek.[69] Many allege that during the time of Japarov's work in anti-corruption departments, he "did not show significant success in the fight against corruption", being accused of having connections with a "thief in law" and northern crime boss, Kamchy Kolbaev.[69]

Personal life[edit]

Japarov is married to Aigul Japarova (née Asanbaeva), who is five years his junior.[70][71] She was born in the neighboring village to Japarov's in the Tüp District.[71] During his acting presidency, she volunteered to help volunteers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.[72] He is also the father of four children, with his eldest son Dastan having died on 26 August 2019 in an accident.[71] His father and mother died in September 2017 and March 2019, respectively, during his prosecution and prison term.[73] In either case, Japarov was not released by the State Penitentiary Service to attend the funeral of his parents.[73] It is known that one of his brothers owns one of the coal mines in the north of the country.[73]

Awards and honorifics[edit]

  • Badge "Excellent Worker of the Soviet Army"[6]
  • In 2009, he was awarded the medal of the Issyk-Kul Regional State Administration "for merits and significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the Issyk-Kul region."
  • In 2010, he was awarded the Medal "For Merit" of the Russian Union of Afghanistan Veterans

He also holds the following titles:

  • Honorary President of the Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Kyrgyzstan[74]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Acting President
  2. ^ Acting: 6 October 2020 – 10 October 2020

References[edit]

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Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
2020
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Kyrgyzstan
2021–present
Incumbent