Open main menu

Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev (Kyrgyz: Алмазбек Шаршенович (Шаршен уулу) Атамбаев, Almazbek Şarşenoviç (Şarşen uulu) Atambayev; 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.

Almazbek Atambayev
Алмазбек Атамбаев
Almazbek Atambayev 2016-09-16.jpg
4th President of Kyrgyzstan
In office
1 December 2011 – 24 November 2017
Prime MinisterOmurbek Babanov
Aaly Karashev (Acting)
Zhantoro Satybaldiyev
Djoomart Otorbaev
Temir Sariyev
Sooronbay Jeenbekov
Muhammetkaliy Abulgaziyev (Acting)
Sapar Isakov
Preceded byRoza Otunbayeva
Succeeded bySooronbay Jeenbekov
11th Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
In office
14 November 2011 – 1 December 2011
PresidentRoza Otunbayeva
Preceded byOmurbek Babanov (Acting)
Succeeded byOmurbek Babanov
In office
17 December 2010 – 23 September 2011
PresidentRoza Otunbayeva
Preceded byDaniar Usenov
Succeeded byOmurbek Babanov (Acting)
In office
29 March 2007 – 28 November 2007
PresidentKurmanbek Bakiyev
Preceded byAzim Isabekov
Succeeded byIskenderbek Aidaraliyev (Acting)
Personal details
Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev

(1956-09-17) 17 September 1956 (age 62)
Arashan, Kyrgyz SSR, USSR
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Raisa Atambayeva
ResidenceState Dacha No. 17, Ala Archa State Residence
Alma materState University of Management


Personal lifeEdit

Almazbek Atambaev was born in 1956 in the Northern region of Chui. His father, Sharshen Atambayev, was a veteran of World War II (Great Patriotic War) who served on the front lines in Eastern Europe.[1] He received his degree in economics while studying at the Moscow Institute of Management.[2]

Atambaev 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).[3] Raisa is an ethnic Tatar, born in the Urals in Russia, who moved to Osh as a child, with her parents. She is a doctor.[4]

Political career under Akayev and BakiyevEdit

Atambayev was an unsuccessful candidate in the October 2000 presidential election, receiving 6% of the vote.[5]

Atambayev served as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism in the government from 20 December 2005[6] until he resigned on 21 April 2006.[7]

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).[8] 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 [2007], 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."[9]

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Azim Isabekov on 29 March 2007, Atambayev was appointed acting Prime Minister by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.[10] He was then confirmed in parliament by a vote of 48-3 on 30 March.[11] He is the first prime minister in Central Asia to come from an opposition party.[12] On 11 April, he tried to address a large protest in Bishkek demanding Bakiyev's resignation, but was booed by the protesters.[13][14]

Bakiyev announced the resignation of Atambayev's government on 24 October 2007, following a successful referendum. The government was to remain in office until after a parliamentary election in December.[15]

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.[16][17] 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.[17]

Presidential candidateEdit

On 20 April 2009, Atambayev was announced as a candidate for the July 2009 presidential elections.[18] 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".[19]

Political career (2010-2011)Edit

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).[20]

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, and with about 60% of the eligible Kyrgyz population voting.[21]

Presidency (2011-2017)Edit


He was inaugurated on December 1, 2011.[22][23] It took place in the National Philarmonic Hall in Bishkek. The ceremony was attended by the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Masimov, 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:[24]

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 ($217,000,000 in US Dollars).[25] 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.[26]

Domestic policyEdit

Atambaev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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 excersing his/her authority as the paramount leader of the military and the second in command to the president.[27] In December 2016, Atambayev signed a decree officially abolishing the use of military courts in Kyrgyzstan.[28][29] This was done on a recommendation made by the Commission for the Reform of the Judicial System, which said that the state budget couldn't fund these institutions anymore.[30] Earlier that month, he 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. It also established that marriage could be only "between a man and a woman" rather of "between two persons" as layed out by the previous constitution.[31] The changes were approved with a landslide majority of close to 80% of the Kyrgyz population.

The final year of Atambayev’s presidency was marred by numerous civil and criminal trials against journalists, activists and opposition politicians. In many of those trials, the Prosecutor General's Office of Kyrgyzstan has often acted on Atambayev's behalf to represents his interests.[32]

Foreign policyEdit

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.[33]

Atambayev in Moscow in 2017.
Atambayev with Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Atambayev has repeatedly presented himself as a pro-Russian politician. He 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;[34] however, he also expressed his wish to achieve greater economic and energy independence from it.[35]

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.[36]

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 October 9, 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.[37]

Post-Presidency (2017-Present)Edit

Since he left office on November 24, 2017 and handed the presidency to his successor and former prime minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov, he has served as head of the SDPK. He has also has used his post presidency to get back in the political arena, most notably by criticizing his successor. This criticism, which began in the spring of 2018, has mostly revolved around Jeenbekov's criticism of the government corruption that took place under his rule. One of Atambayev's main points of criticism of Jeenbekov is that is that he is a victim of a smear campaign by his former ally and his government, saying the following to the April Television Agency about the Jeenbekov government:

A frantic campaign of lies and slander against me and members of my family has been unleashed


  • Order of Manas - December 1, 2011[38]
  • Order of "Danaker" - November 28, 2007
  • Order of the Republic of Serbia (Serbia, 2013)


  1. ^ "Russia - the birthplace of the Kirghiz". NewsMe. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Background on Almaz Atambayev". Kyrgyzstan: Country in transition. Carngeie Endowment for International Peace. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  3. ^ Amidi, Faranak (29 July 2017). "President's daughter sparks breastfeeding debate with photo". BBC News. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  4. ^ ""First lady of Kyrgyzstan", Radio Free Europe". Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 31 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "New Kyrgyz Government Sworn In" Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 21 December 2005.
  7. ^ "Kyrgyzstan's Trade Minister Resigns", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 21 April 2006.
  8. ^ Jean-Christophe Peuch (November 2006). "Kyrgyzstan: Deputies Take Legal Steps For New Constitution". Rferl. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Kyrgyz Lawmakers Call For Dissolution Of Parliament", RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, 26 December 2006.
  10. ^ "Kyrgyz Prime Minister Resigns", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 29 March 2007.
  11. ^ "Kyrgyz Parliament Confirms New Prime Minister", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 30 March 2007.
  12. ^ Ilan Greenberg, "Pressed, Kyrgyz President Names His Critic as Premier", The New York Times, 30 March 2007, Section A, Page 15.
  13. ^ "Kyrgyz opposition stages large rally against embattled president", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 11 April 2007.
  14. ^ Bruce Pannier, "Kyrgyzstan: Thousands Demand President's Resignation", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 11 April 2007.
  15. ^ "President: Kyrgyz government resigns but will stay on for 2 more months", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 24 October 2007.
  16. ^ "Spokesman: Kyrgyz president accepts resignation of PM", Xinhua, 28 November 2007.
  17. ^ a b Daniel Sershen, "Kyrgyzstan: Prime Minister pushed aside as parliamentary election approaches", Eurasianet, 29 November 2007.
  18. ^ Bruce Pannier "Kyrgyz opposition unites unveils presidential hopeful", RFE/RL, 20 April 2009.
  19. ^ Kyrgyz candidate in poll pullout, BBC News (23 July 2009)
  20. ^ "Kyrgyz pick PM, parliament speaker". Al Jazeera. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  21. ^ "PM Atambayev wins Kyrgyzstan presidential election". BBC News. 31 October 2011.
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Almazbek Atambaev inaugurated as the president of Kyrgyzstan". Fergananews.Com. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Указ Президента Кыргызстана "Об образовании Государственного комитета Республики Кыргызстан по делам обороны"". 8 October 2000. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Venice Commission (14–15 October 2016). "Kyrgyz Republic - Endorsed joint opinion on the draft law". Council of Europe.
  32. ^ "Активисты потребовали от Атамбаева прекратить преследования правозащитников". Заноза. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  33. ^ 20 Jan 2012 (20 January 2012). "Atambayev's Turkish affair needs domestic peace". Atimes. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  34. ^ Itar Tass 1 November 2011
  35. ^ "Atambayev reviews 2011 achievements". Central Asia Online. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  36. ^ "Atambayev Collects Rent For Russian Military Bases, But What Is Moscow Getting?". EurasiaNet. 26 February 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  37. ^ "Kyrgyz President Continues Kazakh War Of Words". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  38. ^ "Роза Отунбаева наградила государственных и общественных деятелей (список)". Вечерний Бишкек. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  39. ^ "State Awards Issued by Georgian Presidents in 2003-2015". Institute for Development of Freedom of Information. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  40. ^ "Путин наградил президента Киргизии Атамбаева орденом Александра Невского". РИА Новости (in Russian). 17 September 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  41. ^ "Журнал "Мой Азербайджан" удостоил президента Кыргызстана орденом "Друг Азербайджана"". (in Russian). Retrieved 13 October 2017.
Political offices
Preceded by
Azim Isabekov
Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
Succeeded by
Iskenderbek Aidaraliyev
Preceded by
Daniar Usenov
Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
Succeeded by
Omurbek Babanov
Preceded by
Omurbek Babanov
Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
Succeeded by
Omurbek Babanov
Preceded by
Roza Otunbayeva
President of Kyrgyzstan
Succeeded by
Sooronbay Jeenbekov