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Despite until very recently being in prison, Japarov has quickly risen to become the country’s most powerful man. A convicted kidnapper, he was sprung from jail on October 6, when opposition figures forcefully released their allies from behind bars. A well-known nationalist and a member of the Ata-Zhurt party, he was given an 11-and-a-half-year prison term in 2013 for attempting to snatch Emilbek Kaptagaev, a regional governor.
In a country that has seen three presidents toppled by violent protests in just 15 years, another rapid change of power has worried outside observers. On Thursday, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said the transfer of power “raises serious questions.”
Meanwhile, in Russia, which is a vital ally for Kyrgyzstan, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called for the “earliest-possible stabilization of the situation in the republic.”
Unrest in Bishkek began on October 4, following a disputed election. Since then, Kyrgyzstan has seen protesters clash with law enforcement, with thousands taking to the streets to demand Jeenbekov’s resignation. Protesters even broke into the White House, Kyrgyzstan’s presidential residence, and also managed to release former president Almazbek Atambayev from prison.
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