Bakyt Beshimov

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Baktybek Beshimov
Бактыбек Бешимов
Beshimov 2008 parliament.jpg
Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
In office
March 2002 – June 2005
Preceded byOsmonakun Ibraimov
Succeeded byIrina Orolbaeva
Personal details
Born1954 (age 64–65)
Bishkek, Soviet Union
(now Kyrgyzstan)
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Alma materKyrgyz National University

Bakyt Beshimov (Russian: Бактыбек Жолчубекович Бешимов; born 1954) is a leader of parliamentary fraction[1] and deputy chairman of Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan.[2] Bakyt Beshimov is a prominent opposition leader,[3] famous for his liberal views, and speaking out against Kurmanbek Bakiyev's[4][5] and Askar Akayev's regimes.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

Bakyt Beshimov grew up in the south of Kyrgyzstan, spending most of his childhood in Osh. He was born into a family of teachers. His father was a professor at Osh State University, a university whose president Bakyt Beshimov would later become. He graduated from Lomonosov School. Beshimov graduated with a PhD in history[8] from Kyrgyz State National University in 1977.

Academic career[edit]

Beshimov started his career on the faculty as professor at Kyrgyz State National University. In 1991 he was appointed as the president of Osh State University, becoming the youngest president of a university in Kyrgyzstan. From 2006 to 2008 Beshimov served as a vice-president of American University of Central Asia.[9]

Beshimov also served as a national coordinator of UNDP "Life" Program, national manager of the UN Ferghana Valley Project, and regional expert at the Aga Khan Foundation.

Presently, Beshimov is a visiting scholar[10][11] at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies[12] and Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.[13] Beshimov is also a visiting professor at Suffolk University. In addition to MIT, Harvard and Suffolk, Beshimov also lectures at Northeastern University in the Global Studies & International Relations program offered by the College of Professional Studies.

Political career[edit]

Bakyt Beshimov.jpg

While serving as president of Osh State University, Beshimov became increasingly outspoken in his criticism towards then president Askar Akayev. Effective reforms of Osh State University gained him large popularity among the students. Students therefore protested, when Beshimov's political activity caused him to be fired. That same year Beshimov ran for a newly opened parliamentary spot from a district in Osh, and won a landslide victory. Beshimov became a prominent opposition leader. There were numerous attempts to assassinate and throw him in jail by the Akayev regime.[14] Beshimov played a major role in negotiations with Askar Akayev on succeeding certain roles to the opposition. Under the agreement reached in the year 2000, Beshimov was appointed as Kyrgyzstan's ambassador to India with concurrent accreditation to Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Following the Tulip Revolution Beshimov returned to Kyrgyzstan to serve as vice-president of American University of Central Asia.[15] Beshimov was a big supporter of and believer in the Tulip Revolution.[16] After the new government followed short of promises made during the Tulip Revolution,[17] and started reverting the course back to dictatorial rule, Beshimov re-engaged in politics, going into opposition against Kurmanbek Bakiyev.[18] In December 2007 he was elected to Kyrgyzstan's Parliament, the Supreme Council,[19] on the candidate list of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan. He is the leader of the opposition fraction in the Kyrgyz Parliament.[citation needed]

Beshimov pushed forward policies to prevent other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members from interfering with Kyrgyzstan's domestic issues.[20] This angered some of Bakiev's own advisers.[citation needed]

Beshimov was one of the first politicians in Kyrgyzstan to use the web for engaging in conversation with the youth.[21]

In the lead up to the 2010 Parliamentary elections Beshimov criticized the government for planning to close universities for the duration of the election,[22] arguing that education is not a high priority for the government.[23]

Manas air base[edit]

Bakyt Beshimov came under intense pressure for actively opposing the Kyrgyz government's initial decision to close a US air base, now the Transit Center at Manas.[24] He was the only MP to vote for keeping the base open.[25] Arguing for the importance of a US air base to the security in Central Asia created further divide between Beshimov and the "pro-Russian" government of Bakiyev.[26]

2009 Kyrgyzstan presidential election[edit]

Beshimov was the campaign manager for the unified opposition candidate during the July 2009 presidential elections,[27] which western observers deemed "fraudulent".[28] Beshimov said that exit polls by opposition supporters showed Almazbek Atambayev won around 60 percent of the vote.[29] Eventually, he was placed under state surveillance during the Bakiyev regime with intention to kill him.[30]

Beshimov recently spoke against Bakiyev's appointment of his own son as head the Central Agency for Development, Investment, and Innovation.[31] For his views several assassination plots have been made on Beshimov, allegedly organized by Bakiyev.[32]

In 2009 Beshimov filed a suit with the Constitutional Court of Kyrgyzstan against Bakiyev. The basis for the suit was the claim that Bakiyev broke the law by being an active member of the Ak Jol political party[33] The Court rejected the claim.[34]

Several assassination attempts before the election, and escalation of threats after the election, forced Beshimov to leave Kyrgyzstan.[35]

2010 revolution and Kyrgyz-Uzbek conflict[edit]

After the April 7 revolution in Kyrgyzstan, Beshimov was offered the position of ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the United States, which he turned down.[36]

Beshimov actively advocated that the 2010 South Kyrgyzstan ethnic clashes were provoked from outside Kyrgyzstan.[37][38] He testified before Helsinki Commission[39] on 27 July 2010 with this view.[40]


  1. ^ A Sinking ‘Island of Democracy’, Transitions Online, by Ben Judah, 26 August 2009
  2. ^ In Reversal, Kyrgyzstan Won’t Close a U.S. BaseNew York Times, June 23, 2009.
  3. ^ MP Bakyt Beshimov: Protesters in Luxembourg village support nomination of one candidate to run in presidential electionAKIpress News Agency, March 27, 2009.
  4. ^ Bakyt Beshimov:"Manas airbase extension can be analyzed by US-Russian relations" Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback MachineThe Young Turks, May 31, 2009.
  5. ^ Kyrgyz opposition leader:"They are not just building a new Khanate, but a Kyrgyz version of the GULAG" Archived 2009-05-02 at the Wayback MachineAgora Vox, April 22, 2009
  6. ^ Critic of Kyrgyzstan Leader Is Believed Dead in a Suspicious Car Crash New York Times, March 13, 2009.
  7. ^ Opposition Cries Fraud in Kyrgyzstan VoteCBS News, July 25, 2009.
  8. ^ AUCA Profile Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Bakyt Beshimov: "Opposition will become stronger, if it gets rid of hitchhikers and develops its ideology." Archived 2014-03-12 at the Wayback MachineInstitute for Public Policy
  10. ^ Kyrgyzstan: CIS Assesses the Crisis, June 15, 2010.
  11. ^ Beshimov's MIT site
  12. ^
  13. ^ Aiding scholars at risk, Harvard Gazette, By Corydon Ireland, October 25, 2010
  14. ^ "Kyrgyz Report". July 31, 1999.
  15. ^ "Central Asia: Summit Shows Growing Interest In Shanghai Cooperation Organisation". August 15, 2007.
  16. ^ "KYRGYZSTAN: Exporting the Tulip Revolution". March 29, 2007.
  17. ^ "Kyrgyz opposition MP says authoritarianism barrier to development". September 18, 2008.
  18. ^ Bakyt Beshimov: Kyrgyzstan needs to move forward, that is the way out of crisis Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine"", December 19, 2006.
  19. ^ "Embassy Row". The Washington Times. September 14, 2009.
  20. ^ "Central Asia: Summit Shows Growing Interest In Shanghai Cooperation Organisation". August 15, 2007.
  21. ^ Tweeting Their Way Through Election Campaigns, "Jamestown Foundation Blog", by Erica Marat.
  22. ^ KYRGYZSTAN: Universities to stay closed during poll, University World News,by Yojana Sharma, 30 September 2010
  23. ^ Kyrgyz universities to remain closed during elections, Central Asia Newswire, October 01, 2010
  24. ^ Kyrgyz legislators approve closure of U.S. air base New York Times, November 9, 2009.
  25. ^ Afghanistan: US War Effort Experiences A Beginning And A Likely End, Eurasia Insight, February 19, 2009
  26. ^ Kyrgyzstan bargains with U.S., Russia on airbase - MP, Reuters, February 13, 2009
  27. ^ Strategic Issues, Not Abuses, Are U.S. Focus in Kyrgyzstan New York Times, July 22, 2009
  28. ^ "Vote in Kyrgyzstan Gets Harsh Criticism". Wall Street Journal. July 25, 2009.
  29. ^ Leonard, Peter (July 26, 2009). "Opposition cries fraud, wants new election in Kyrgyzstan". The Seattle Times.
  30. ^ McKelvey, Tara. "Friends and Dictators: Cozying up to Central Asia's Most Brutal Regimes".
  31. ^ "Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Blames President For Nepotism". November 18, 2009.
  32. ^ Opposition leader Beshimov accuses Kyrgyz President in assassination plot Archived 2009-11-24 at the Wayback Machine Ryskeldi Satke, The Young Turks, November 22, 2009
  33. ^ Why B. Beshimov, deputy of Kyrgyz Parliament, filed a suit? on YouTube, Interview with Bakyt Beshimov outside the Constitutional Court of Kyrgyzstan.
  34. ^ Interview of B. Beshimov, deputy of Kyrgyz Parliament on YouTube, Interview with Beshimov after the court ruling.
  35. ^ The hard way, by Elizabeth Gehrman, Harvard Gazette, December 3, 2010
  36. ^ Kyrgyzstan: Bakyt Beshimov refused an appointment of ambassador in USA,, May 03, 2010
  37. ^ KYRGYZSTAN: University politicisation to continue, by Yojana Sharma, 04 July 2010
  38. ^ Did external forces spark Kyrgyzstan violence?, by Sam Kahn, Global Post, June 16, 2010
  39. ^ HEARING OF THE COMMISSION ON SECURITY & COOPERATION IN EUROPE, JULY 27, 2010 Archived July 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ Testimony :: Dr. Bakyt Beshimov, Visiting Scholar - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

External links[edit]