Roza Otunbayeva

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Roza Otunbayeva
Роза Отунбаева
Roza Otunbayeva - World Economic Forum on Europe 2011.jpg
3rd President of Kyrgyzstan
In office
7 April 2010 – 1 December 2011
Acting: 7 April 2010 – 3 July 2010
Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev
Omurbek Babanov (Acting)
Almazbek Atambayev
Preceded by Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Succeeded by Almazbek Atambayev
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
26 February 1992 – 10 October 1992
Prime Minister Tursunbek Chyngyshev
Preceded by Muratbek Imanaliyev
Succeeded by Ednan Karabayev
Personal details
Born (1950-08-23) 23 August 1950 (age 65)
Frunze, Soviet Union
(now Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
Political party Social Democratic Party
Spouse(s) BK Sadybakasov (1963–2006)
Alma mater Moscow State University

Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva (Kyrgyz and Russian: Роза Исаковна Отунбаева; born August 23, 1950) is a Kyrgyz diplomat and politician who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 7 April 2010 until 1 December 2011. She was sworn in on July 3, 2010, after acting as interim leader following the 2010 April revolution which led to the ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. She previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as head of the parliamentary caucus for the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan.

Early life[edit]

Otunbayeva was born in Frunze (now Bishkek), Kyrgyz SSR, USSR into the family of Isaac Otunbayev, a member of the Supreme Court of Kirgiz SSR. She graduated from the Philosophy Faculty of Moscow State University in 1972 and went on to teach as senior professor and head of the philosophy department at Kyrgyz State National University for six years. In 1975 she became Candidate of Sciences after defending dissertation named "Critique of falsification of Marxist-Leninist dialectic by the philosophers of Frankfurt school".[1] Otunbayeva is a divorced mother of two children. She is fluent in Russian and can speak English, German and French in addition to Kyrgyz.[2][3]

Political career[edit]

In 1981, she began her political career as the Communist Party's second secretary of the Lenin raion council (raikom) of Frunze (now Bishkek). In the late 1980s, she served as head of Soviet delegation to UNESCO in Paris, and later as the Soviet Ambassador to Malaysia. By 1992, the now independent Kyrgyzstan was led by Askar Akayev, who chose her to be both Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, positions she held until later that year when she became her country's first ambassador to the USA and Canada. She returned to her original post in 1994, remaining there for three years. Following the arrest of the journalist Zamira Sydykova and her deputy, Tamara Slashcheva, she voiced against Human Rights organisations who accused the Akaev government of restricting freedom of speech in the Kyrgyz republic. The journalist redactor of the parliamentary newspaper Svobodnye Gory (Free Mountains) was sentenced under article 128, part 2, of the criminal code—slander with the use of mass media—to one and a half years in prison for articles criticising President Akaev. From 1998 to 2001, she served as the first Kyrgyz ambassador to the United Kingdom. From 2002 to 2004, she was deputy head of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia. As a UN official, she publicly contested the existence of human rights concerns in the Eastern territory of Abkhazia, traditionally populated by the Georgian population. She voiced that the restriction of the use of the Georgian language in the Gali district had less major impact than the neglecting practice of the Abkhaz language in the Abkhaz collective memory. This dissident opinion broke confidence she had with the Head of the UN Mission (Heidi Tagliavini).

Upon her return to Kyrgyzstan in late 2004, Otunbayeva became politically active. In December 2004, she and three other opposition parliamentarians founded the Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party in preparation for the February 2005 parliamentary elections.[4]

She was barred from standing for the 2005 legislative election due to an enacted law requiring prospective MPs to have resided in the country for five uninterrupted years prior to the elections. Her time as ambassador to the United Kingdom prevented her from meeting this criterion. She met this requirement in 2010, so she was eligible to run for the post.

"Tulip Revolution"[edit]

Otunbayeva was one of the key leaders of the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan which led to the overthrow of President Akayev.[5] Subsequently she served for a few months as Acting Foreign Minister in the interim government of then prime minister (and acting president) Kurmanbek Bakiyev. After Bakiyev was elected President and Feliks Kulov became Prime Minister, Otunbayeva failed to receive the required parliamentary support to become Foreign Minister.[4] She then ran unsuccessfully in a parliamentary by-election a few months later. Otunbayeva played a key role in November 2006 protests that pressed successfully for a new democratic constitution.

She was the co-chairwoman of the country's Asaba (Flag) National Revival Party for a short term. In December 2007, Otunbayeva was elected to Jogorku Kenesh - the parliament of Kyrgyzstan - on the candidate list of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan. She served as the head of the parliamentary group of the opposition SDP beginning in October 2009.

2010 uprising and presidency[edit]

On April 7, 2010, Otunbayeva was selected by opposition leaders as head of a Kyrgyz interim government, following widespread rioting in Bishkek and the ousting of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.[6]

Hillary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Otunbayeva (2011)

Bakiyev fled the Jalal-Abad area as the riots became more violent. Unable to rally support, he signed a resignation as president on April 10, 2010 and left the country for Kazakhstan. Nine days later he went to Minsk, Belarus, where he was given protected-exile status. On April 21 he recanted his resignation and declared that he was still president of Kyrgyzstan. Otunbayeva vowed to bring him to trial.[7]

As interim president, Otunbayeva had four male deputies. Otunbayeva is considered to be unusual as there are few women in politics in Kyrgyzstan. Her first conversation after she came to power was with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Otunbayeva declared that new elections would be called in six months and that she would act as president until then.[8]

With violent protests in support of ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev continuing in Jalalabad, the home city of the former President, it was announced on May 19, 2010, by the interim government that elections would be delayed until 2011 and Otunbayeva was named as President. Following a referendum of the new Kyrgyz constitution, she was sworn in on July 3, 2010. Otunbayeva however was prohibited from running in the 2011 presidential election[why?] and her term ended on December 31, 2011.[9][10] The referendum was supported by over 90% and changes the government from a Presidential republic to a Parliamentary republic. Parliamentary elections were held in October and that parliament appointed the Prime Minister and Cabinet.[11][12]


In 2010, while congratulating her people with the approach of the month of Ramadan, Otunbayeva stated that the month would bring unity to her country. Otunbayeva stated:

“The holy Koran appeals to people, living during difficult tests, to general tolerance and forgiveness of the past offences of each other. These days even those who were earlier at enmity must forgive each other in the name of further peaceful coexistence, get rid of all harmful habits and generously respect all people. These holy notions are one of the highest tops of humanistic ideals of Islam."[12]

In her interviews Otunbayeva stated that she does not believe in God,[citation needed] indicating her appreciation for the Koran's ideals without necessarily having any religious ties to it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2007 Report" (PDF) (in Russian). Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  2. ^ © РИА Новости. Руслан Кривобок. "Роза Исааковна Отунбаева. Биографическая справка | Справки | Лента новостей "РИА Новости"". Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  3. ^ Osborn, Andrew (8 April 2010). "Roza Otunbayeva, the head of Kyrgyzstan's new interim government, is not an archetypal revolutionary". Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Profile: Roza Otunbayeva". BBC. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Opposition Forces In Kyrgyzstan Claim Power, Form Interim Government". Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  7. ^ "Kyrgyzstan opposition declares new government". BBC News. 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  8. ^ Osborn, Andrew (8 April 2010). "Kyrgyzstan riots: opposition forms interim government after deadly revolt". Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  9. ^ "Kyrgyzstan's interim leader named president until end of 2011". Xinhua. 2010-05-20. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  10. ^ msk, 8 october 2012. "Kyrgyzstan: Roza Otunbaeva is appointed as the president until the end of 2011 without right for reelection - Ferghana Information agency, Moscow". Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  11. ^ "About Rissho Kosei-kai, a Buddhist organization". Retrieved 2012-10-08. 
  12. ^ a b "". Retrieved 2012-10-08. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Muratbek Imanaliyev
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Ednan Karabayev
Preceded by
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
President of Kyrgyzstan
Succeeded by
Almazbek Atambayev