Secrets from the White House – Azimbek Beknazarov Presents New Book
On 11 December, Kyrgyzstan’s deputy Prime Minister Azimbek Beknazarov presented his book “Аксы ыйы – улут кайгысы” (The Tears of Aksy: A Nation’s Tragedy). Contrary to journalists’ expectations, not everyone from Kyrgyzstan’s political establishment was in attendance. A few politicians and human rights activists came to congratulate the vice-premier, but mainly those who are the subject of his book, or were involved in the events described.
It is the second installment in Beknazarov’s trilogy on the history of a young, sovereign state. The cover shows the snow-capped mountains of Kyrgyzstan, and the 617 pages of the book contain numerous official documents, excerpts from magazine and newspaper articles, transcripts of Zhogorku Kenesh (parliament) discussions and photographs.
The book is almost entirely in Kyrgyz, except for quotations from documents that were originally composed in Russian. The journalists, with their trained eyes, immediately pointed out spelling mistakes in some of the documents, provoking the question: were they made by Beknazarov himself, the copyeditors or the officials involved?
Having heard that the book was Beknazarov’s second, everyone exchanged bewildered glances, since no one could remember when the first one came out. But the politician reassured us that the first volume, as well as the third, are nearing completion and will be presented next year.
“My second book talks about the political processes that unfolded in Kyrgyzstan in the years 2000-2005 (ending with the March revolution). The third volume will cover the reign of Kurmanbek Bakiev, the formation of the parliamentary republic, and the events that took place in the south of the country [in June]. The first volume discusses the years 1999-2000, showing Kyrgyzstan as a sovereign state and describing the first president and his reign,” Beknazarov told the audience.
The majority of the current volume is devoted to the events in Aksy. It describes in great detail, and with documentary evidence, what happened in Aksy, who participated, how the lands adjoining the Uzengu-Kush river were sold, how Askar Akaev made his decision regarding the sale, and how, eventually, this led to the revolution of 2005. According to the author, the second volume comes before the first because “of a personal debt to the inhabitants of Aksy.”
The book took four years to complete. “Generally speaking, there was nothing difficult about it. I believe that a politician is obligated to hand over the reigns to the rising generation.”
“It won’t surprise me if the book becomes the subject of considerable debate. But I have to say I described all the facts as they really happened, and I support everything with documentary evidence,” Beknazarov said, adding quickly: “The book expresses my personal point-of-view.”
The politician then confessed that the book contained some secret documents, and acknowledged the possibility that the secret services might have something to say on the matter.
“They might wonder why I’m divulging classified information, but I can assure you I consulted the law before including these documents, and enough time has passed that they are being published legally.”
As part of the official presentation, participants in the Aksy events shared their memories and thanked Azimbek Beknazarov for his work.