Almazbek Atambayev facts for kids
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Atambayev in 2017
|4th President of Kyrgyzstan
1 December 2011 – 24 November 2017
Aaly Karashev (Acting)
Muhammetkaliy Abulgaziyev (Acting)
|11th Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
14 November 2011 – 1 December 2011
|Omurbek Babanov (Acting)
17 December 2010 – 23 September 2011
|Omurbek Babanov (Acting)
29 March 2007 – 28 November 2007
|Iskenderbek Aidaraliyev (Acting)
Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev
17 September 1956
Arashan, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union
|Social Democratic Party (membership suspended as of May 2019)
|State University of Management
Almazbek Sharshen uulu Atambayev (Kyrgyz: Алмазбек Шаршен уулу Атамбаев; born 17 September 1956) is a Kyrgyz politician who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 1 December 2011 to 24 November 2017. He was Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan from 17 December 2010 to 1 December 2011, and from 29 March 2007 to 28 November 2007. He served as Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) from 30 July 1999 to 23 September 2011.
Unlike most elected presidents of the Central Asian countries, Almazbek Atambayev did not try to extend his powers after the term specified by the Constitution and peacefully transferred power, marking the first such precedent in the history of modern Central Asia. Under him, the country passed a constitutional reform that strengthened the role of the parliament, and also introduced a biometric election system, carried out with the help of the European Union.
- Personal life
- Political career under Akayev and Bakiyev
- Tulip Revolution
- Presidential candidate
- Political career (2010–2011)
- Presidency (2011–2017)
- Post-Presidency (2017–present)
- Assassination attempts
- See also
Almazbek Atambaev was born in 1956 in the Northern region of Chüy. His father, Sharshen Atambayev, was a veteran of World War II (Great Patriotic War) who served with the Red Army on the front lines in Eastern Europe. Atambaev received his degree in economics while studying at the Moscow Institute of Management. He has four children from his marriage to his first wife Buazhar. In 1988 he married his second wife, Raisa, with whom he has six children: daughters Aliya (born 1997), Diana, and Dinara, and sons Seyit, Seytek, and Khadyrbek (born 1993). Raisa is an ethnic Tatar, born in Osh. She is a doctor.
In January 2018, he published a song he authored called "Kyrgyzstan", which was later rewritten by Azerbaijani performer Araz Elses.
Political career under Akayev and Bakiyev
Atambayev was an unsuccessful candidate in the October 2000 presidential election, receiving 6% of the vote. He served as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism in the government from 20 December 2005 until he resigned on 21 April 2006.
In November 2006 he was one of the leaders of anti-government protests in Bishkek, under the umbrella of the movement 'For Reform!' (За Реформы). He was also involved in earlier protests in late April 2006.
On 26 December 2006 Atambayev rejected calls from other lawmakers for a dissolution of the Supreme Council, saying, "It is impossible for this Parliament to be dissolved at least until May , and it has to adopt all the laws. Otherwise there will be a war in Kyrgyzstan, because even if Parliament adopts the [proposed] authoritarian constitution, I will tell you openly, we will not accept it. It would be a constitution adopted illegally. Then we would take every [possible protest action]. We are ready for that."
Following the resignation of Prime Minister Azim Isabekov on 29 March 2007, Atambayev was appointed acting Prime Minister by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. He was then confirmed in parliament by a vote of 48–3 on 30 March. He is the first prime minister in Central Asia to come from an opposition party. On 11 April, he tried to address a large protest in Bishkek demanding Bakiyev's resignation, but was booed by the protesters.
Bakiyev announced the resignation of Atambayev's government on 24 October 2007, following a constitutional referendum. The government was to remain in office until after a parliamentary election in December. Nonetheless, Atambayev resigned on 28 November 2007; Bakiyev accepted the resignation, while praising Atambayev for his performance in office, and appointed Acting First Deputy Prime Minister Iskenderbek Aidaraliyev in his place as Acting Prime Minister. Edil Baisalov of the Social Democratic Party claimed that Atambayev was forced out of office because he was an obstacle to alleged government interference in the parliamentary election.
Almazbek Atambayev, who was at the helm of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, played a key role in the Tulip Revolution of 2005. Tulip was a symbol of Kyrgyz Social Democratic party in 2005. With his active participation in protests and decisive speeches against corruption and authoritarianism, he became a leading force for democratic change. Atambayev oriented his party towards the fight for the establishment of a rule of law and justice, attracting many supporting citizens. Under his leadership, the Social Democratic Party actively supported and mobilized protesters, becoming one of the organizers of mass rallies that ultimately led to the overthrow of President Askar Akayev. Atambayev used his position to call for democratic reforms and the improvement of human rights in the country.
On 20 April 2009, Atambayev was announced as a candidate for the July 2009 presidential elections. But on polling day Atambayev withdrew his candidacy claiming "widespread fraud": "Due to massive, unprecedented violations, we consider these elections illegitimate and a new election should be held".
Political career (2010–2011)
Following the 2010 parliamentary election, he was chosen to be Prime Minister at the head of a coalition government with his SDPK, Respublika, and Ata-Zhurt (which won a plurality in the election).
Atambayev ran in 2011 to succeed Roza Otunbayeva as President of Kyrgyzstan. On election day, 30 October 2011, he won in a landslide, defeating Adakhan Madumarov from the Butun Kyrgyzstan party and Kamchybek Tashiev from the Ata-Zhurt party with 63% of the vote from about 60% of the eligible Kyrgyz population voting.
He was inaugurated on 1 December 2011. It took place in the National Philharmonic Hall in Bishkek. The ceremony was attended by the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade and President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. The attendance of the head of the Presidential Administration of Russia Sergey Naryshkin and the Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov was expected, however they could not and instead sent lower level Russian Foreign Ministry officials in their place. During his inaugural speech, he said the following about the future of Kyrgyzstan:
"Today we are writing a new story. This is not the history of the president, but a new history of our country."
The ceremony budget cost less than half of what was spent for inauguration ceremony of Kurmanbek Bakiev in August 2009, costing about 10 million soms ($217,000 in US Dollars). Unlike the breastplates used for the inaugurations of Akaev, Bakiyev and Otunbayeva, which were framed with diamonds and pearls, the jewelers decided not to use the gems in the 108 centimeter long breastplate as it was considered to be an "imported" element in the national culture.
Opinions on presidential term
George Soros spoke positively about Almazbek Atambayev, stating that "Kyrgyzstan was lucky to have a non-corrupt president", noting that the coming to power of a person who is not mired in corruption is good for the democratic development of the country. Alexander Soros positively reviewed digitalization efforts of Kyrgyz government in Taza Koom project.
Vladimir Putin characterized Almazbek Atambayev as a person who "keeps his word... It is sometimes difficult to agree on something with him, but if something has already been agreed, he goes to the end in fulfilling the agreements reached."
"I was convinced that Kyrgyzstan and the people of the country are committed to the ideas of the rule of human rights, democracy, and this was actually an important choice for the Kyrgyz people."
In November 2015, the Ministry of Defense was re-branded as the State Committee for Defense Affairs on Atambayev's orders while transferring authority over the Armed Forces of Kyrgyzstan to the General Staff, with the Chief of the General Staff exercising his/her authority as the paramount leader of the military and the second in command to the president.
In December 2016, Atambayev signed a decree officially abolishing the use of military courts in Kyrgyzstan. Atambaev presided over a constitutional referendum which proposed that the increasing the powers of the Prime Minister and his/her government, as well as reforms to the judicial system. International experts positively assessed the transition to a parliamentary form of government by constitutional reform, the strengthening of the role of the prime minister and parliament thanks to the constitutional reform, as well as the fact that it was supposed to stabilize the institution of power as opposed to the growing spread of Islamist ideology in the country. It also clarified the validity of the marriage contract in Kyrgyzstan as laid out by the previous constitution. The changes were approved with a landslide majority of close to 80% of the Kyrgyz population.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev asked me to stay for a second term, but I explained that I could not, because we have a different people. People will choose the one whom they consider the most worthy."
A landmark event during the work of Almazbek Atambayev is also the introduction of biometric passports and a biometric electoral system that ensured the transparency of elections and excluded the possibility for one citizen to vote several times. It became possible to vote only after identifying your fingerprint. During Atambayev's presidency, the country introduced a system of participation in elections based on biometric data, which dramatically increased the transparency of the voting procedure and eliminated many opportunities for falsification. The 2014 law "On Biometric Registration of Citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic" played an important role in the development of the institution of democratic elections. The European Union assisted Kyrgyzstan in organizing the parliamentary (2015) elections, which were found to be fair and competitive. Atambayev negotiated this assistance during his visit to Brussels during negotiations with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy in 2013. Also at that time, Atambayev had an active dialogue with the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso.
In many cases, the Prosecutor General's Office of Kyrgyzstan has often acted on Atambayev's behalf to represents his interests. They were often dictated by the fact that the leadership of Kazakhstan interfered in the electoral process in Kyrgyzstan, especially after president of Kazakhstan met with one of the opposition leaders a month before the elections.
Federica Mogherini, during a visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2017, recognized “the indisputable merits of Almazbek Atambayev in the comprehensive improvement of the electoral process in the republic, as well as the development of democratic institutions”.
Foreign policy with European Union
In 2011 soon after becoming President, Atambayev travelled to Turkey and signed an agreement with the Turkish President agreeing to increase trade from $300 million in 2011 to $1 billion by 2015, with Turkey also agreeing to attract Turkish investment to Kyrgyzstan to the amount of $450 million within the next few years.
Atambayev visited Brussels as president 4 times - in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. From March 22 to April 1, 2015, Atambayev's tour of European countries (Switzerland, Austria, France, Belgium, Germany) took place, during which numerous agreements were reached on deepening and developing relations in various fields - from cultural exchange to investment cooperation . The EU has provided ongoing support to Kyrgyzstan in democratic reforms: within the framework of the agreements reached by Atambaev, within the framework of bilateral cooperation for the period 2014-2020. The EU has allocated EUR 184 million to the Kyrgyz Republic for the development of three key sectors - education, the rule of law and rural development.
Atambaev has announced Kyrgyzstan's entry into the Customs Union, secured the withdrawal of the American military base from the country in 2014, and has spoken of the need for closer economic relations with the Russian Federation, which employs at least 500,000 citizens of Kyrgyzstan; however, he also expressed his wish to achieve greater economic and energy independence from it.
Angela Merkel's visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2015 was the first visit of the Federal Chancellor to this country in the history of the independent Kyrgyz Republic and the first visit of Federal Chancellor of Germany to Central Asian region in history.
Kyrgyzstan also received GSP+ status with European Union under Almazbek Atambayev in 2015. To retain GSP+ status, Kyrgyzstan must comply with 27 international conventions. 7 of them relate to human rights - protecting the rights of children, eliminating discrimination against women and minorities, protecting freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to a fair trial, ensuring the independence of the judiciary, as well as economic, cultural and social rights.
"Is Britain hosting the kids of [Muammar] Gaddafi or Bashar al-Assad? Why are there double standards against Kyrgyzstan? Britain is saying: 'We want to help with democratic development in Kyrgyzstan.' That's a lie. You're hosting a guy who robbed us. We could use that money to fund fair elections".
Foreign policy with CIS countries
In February 2015, tension with Belarus arose over the death of Almanbet Anapiyaev, aged 41, whose death Atambayev blamed solely on former Security Service chief Janish Bakiyev, who was being sheltered in Minsk alongside his father. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry responded by saying that it "makes no sense" to comment on his statement.
In May 2015, during a Victory Day meeting of CSTO leaders in Moscow, Atambayev took part in an argument with President Islam Karimov over who was being more patriotic during the 70th anniversary celebrations. Later that year, he met with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran, where he condemned American sanctions on the country, saying to Khamenei that "With its 200-year history, America wants to impose its will on a country like Iran that has a five-thousand-year history and civilization, but this is not possible."
During the Kyrgyz presidential election in 2017, Atambayev accused Kazakhstan of sponsoring Ömürbek Babanov, who was one of the presidential candidates. He also accused Kazakhstan officials for being corrupt by looting the pensioners income. On 9 October 2017, Atambayev announced that he wouldn't attend the CIS heads of state summit in Sochi, which would have required the Kyrgyz leader to meet president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. That same month, he visited the Uzbek capital of Tashkent in a breakthrough visit for a Kyrgyz leader.
The President of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Atambayev, firmly stated that the Russian military base would also be withdrawn from the country. Atambayev said:
“In the future, Kyrgyzstan should rely and hope only on its armed forces, and not on the military bases of Russia, America or another country. We must build our own army.”
In early 2012 Atambayev travelled to Moscow, where in his meeting with Medvedev he called for the $15 million owed by Russia to Kyrgyzstan for their use of the Kant airbase.
Since he left office on 24 November 2017 and handed the presidency to his successor and former prime minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov, he has served as head of the SDPK. In his post presidency he got back to the political arena, most notably by criticizing his own successor. This criticism, which began in the spring of 2018, has mostly revolved around Jeenbekov's establishment of family clan regime. By that time, the media began to dazzle with headlines about the family-clan regime of Jeenbekov and dozens of his relatives in the highest state apparatus, embassies and parliament. On 17 March, he expressed regret by saying: "I apologize to everyone for bringing this person to power".
In June 2019, MPs voted to strip Atambayev of his presidential immunity and called for the pursuit of criminal charges on him.
Before that, in February, Head of Constitutional Chamber Erkinbek Mamyrov publicly made a statement that “there is no retroactivity of law” and Almazbek Atambaev can not be deprived of presidential immunity in accordance with the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic of May 15, 2019 on amendments to the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On Guarantees for the Activities of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic”. For these statements, the chairman of the Constitutional Chamber Mamyrov was replaced by an assistant to the president's brother - Asylbek Jeenbekov - in parliament. In response, Atambayev told reporters at his residence in Koy-Tash that he would wait for decision of Constitutional Chamber and protect his constitutional rights: "The Constitutional Court must put an end to the question of the legality or illegality of interrogation". He announced "stand to the end" against the family clan regime of Jeenbekov. Since then, he remained in his residence while publicly stating that he will wait for the decision of Constitutional Chamber and ready to "fight back" if police comes breaking the law and not abiding the decision of Constitutional Court. At that time he was still guarded by state security officers, since his complaint to Constitutional Court was under consideration.
On 3 July, Atambaev left his residence for the first time in weeks to speak at a rally of 1,000 of his supporters who called for all the charges to be dropped. On 24 July, he began a two-day visit to Russia with a delegation from the SDPK after departing on a Sukhoi Superjet 100 at Kant Air Base (operated by the Russian Air Force) at 1:48 pm that day. During the visit, he met with President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.
During the period of work (March 2007 – November 2007) as the Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, an assassination attempt on 11 May 2007 through poisoning was made on Almazbek Atambaev. As Turkish doctors from the military medical hospital in Ankara later confirmed, the poisoning was caused by a poison of unknown origin. Almazbek Atambayev suggested: "I probably have many enemies now. There are many offended, apparently. Because of my attempts to nationalize the Kristall semiconductor materials plant, they threaten me with physical violence." Assumptions were made that people from the presidential administration could be involved in the poisoning of Atambayev - the president's son and big businessman Maxim Bakiyev and the president's brother Janysh Bakiyev, who served as deputy chairman of the State Committee. In the presidential elections in July 2009, where Atambaev was an only candidate from united opposition bloc, Almazbek Atambaev was again poisoned on the eve of a meeting with voters in the Bazarkorgon district of the Jalalabad region. After breakfast at a local hotel, the single opposition candidate left for a scheduled meeting with voters, but felt unwell on the way. According to the explanations of the oppositionist, he could not imagine what the illness would lead to, and therefore did not cancel the meeting. But when getting out of the car, Almazbek Atambayev felt a loss of coordination of movements. "He felt terrible, his nails turned brown, he was vomiting and dizzy," - Atambayev's spokesman, Zhomart Saparbayev, said. Atambaev was again undergoing treatment in Turkey.
Kursan Asanov, vice-minister of Internal Affairs and head of Atambaev’s arrest operation, told that during the storm of his residence in August 2019, when more than a thousand of representatives of law enforcement agencies stormed his house in Koy-Tash village, there was an order "not to take ex-president Atambaev alive".
During the events of October 2020, during the rally of the united opposition, which was led by Almazbek Atambayev and Omurbek Babanov, the car of Almazbek Atambayev, was fired upon with bullets. The video of assassination attempt went viral in social networks.
Kursan Asanov, vice-minister of Internal Affairs and head of Atambaev`s arrest operation, told that during the storm of his residence in August 2019, when more than a thousand of representatives of law enforcement agencies stormed his house in Koy-Tash village, there was an order "not to take ex-president Atambaev alive".
The population of the country, and especially population of Chui valley, understanding the absurdity of the accusations against ex-president Atambayev and sensibly assessing the attacks of the authorities on the SDPK, as pressure on the opposition, sided with ex-president Atambaev.
On 7 August 2019, the Special Forces of Kyrgyzstan attacked Atambayev's residence in Bishkek. As a result of the attack, one soldier died and hundreds of civilians and military personnel were injured. In a meeting of the Security Council, Jeenbekov accused Atambayev of "rudely violating the constitution". A second raid was launched the next day, after which Atambayev surrendered to security forces.
On August 9, 2019, special forces illegally arrested the office of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan and April TV channel, which voiced the opposition agenda to the population. All documents of the party, all organizational equipment and other property belonging to the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan were illegally confiscated. Having received information about SDPK members throughout the country on the computers and servers of the SDPK, the special services began to call all SDPK members throughout the country for interrogations and exerted strong pressure.
Subsequently, 1,700 people sent an appeal to the General Prosecutor's Office of the Kyrgyz Republic with a request to initiate a criminal case against President Sooronbai Jeenbekov for his illegal actions. In response to this, on the contrary, all these 1,700 people began to be called in for interrogations and they were exerted to strong pressure, by uttering warnings and threats.
On 13 August, Orozbek Opumbayev, the head of the State Committee for National Security (SCNS), said Atambayev was plotting to topple the government before he was taken into custody. On 23 June 2020, he was sentenced to 11 years in jail for corruption on the Batukaev case.
On November, 25-27 2022 on Congress of Socialist International in Madrid, the declaration on Kyrgyzstan has been accepted by 93 political parties that stated: “Non-investigation by the procurator and the court of the facts of inflicting severe injuries and the use of brute force using weapons, including cold weapons, against 1,700 civilians in Koi-Tash on August 7–8, suggests an unfair trial, the purpose of which is to cover up the crimes of the previous heads of special services - Opumbaev and Zhunushaliev. The Socialist International notes that these actions of the armed forces against the civilian population fall under the articles of “war crime”, as well as “crime against humanity”, which is an internationally investigated case. If the statements of the affected citizens continue to be ignored, the organization will be forced to assist in the international investigation.”
The Batukaev case
Almazbek Atambaev was sentenced to a criminal term in case of Batukaev`s release and alleged involvement in the jailbreak of the gangster Batukaev, although there was no evidence in the case that Batukaev and Atambaev were somehow personally connected and supported contacts. All court proceedings on Atambaev were conducted not in the official court chamber, but in the prison of State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyz Republic, where no journalists or even relatives were allowed since the case was classified. In November 2020, the Judicial Collegium of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic overturned the guilty verdict against A. Atambaev on the escape of Batukaev, since this verdict was passed with a large number of gross procedural violations (up to the point that the defendant was deprived of the right to the last word and to participate in court debate).
On 5 October 2020, protests erupted with a crowd of 1,000 people, that grew to at least 5,000 people by evening in Bishkek, the nation's capital, in protest against results and allegations of vote-buying in the October 2020 parliamentary election. In addition, protestors freed Atambayev from prison. On 8 October, Atambayev survived an assassination attempt in Bishkek after the car he was traveling in was shot at. After a failed assassination attempt on him, however, he was imprisoned again on 10 October. He was imprisoned again on 10 October for participation in the 2020 Kyrgyz revolution turmoil, but later was acquitted of criminal charges.
In August 2019, Atambayev was imprisoned, facing charges of corruption and manslaughter, but was later acquitted on them. On 5 October 2020, election protestors freed him from prison. Atambayev was acquitted in all criminal cases against him in February 2023.
On March 23, 2022, Almazbek Atambaev’s spine was damaged as a result of violence by the prison guards, and numerous abrasions and marks of beatings were found on his body, which was confirmed on March 25 by the state National Center for the Prevention of Torture of the Kyrgyz Republic and subsequently by a medical examination at the National Center for Cardiology.
Atambayev was denied not only treatment, but even a serious medical examination. Only after the Secretary General of the Socialist International Luis Ayala made a special visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2022 and a special statement from the Socialist International was issued, Atambaev was briefly placed in a clinic for examination.
On July 8 of 2022, Council of Socialist International (63 political parties around the world) made a statement, that “the manner in which the former president has been detained, tried and sentenced contravenes his legal and human rights as a defendant, violates the Kyrgyz Code of Criminal Procedure and breaches international judicial norms”. Despite the need for two operations on the esophagus, the need for which was concluded by the state National Center for Cardiology, where Atambayev was examined, to this day these operations have not been carried out. Atambayev was diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus. Later he was released with support of Socialist International President and prime-minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez and transported to Spain for medical operations. Atambayev was acquitted in all criminal cases against him.
- Order of Manas (1 December 2011)
- Order of "Danaker" (28 November 2007)
- Order of the Republic of Serbia (Serbia, 2013)
- Presidential Order of Excellence (Georgia, 2013)
- Order of Dostyk I degree (Kazakhstan, 7 November 2014)
- Order of Alexander Nevsky (Russia, 17 September 2016)
- Order "Friend of Azerbaijan" (Azerbaijan, 2016)
- Hero of the Kyrgyz Republic (2017)
In Spanish: Almazbek Atambáyev para niños
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