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Sooronbay Jeenbekov

Sooronbay Sharipovich Jeenbekov (Kyrgyz: Сооронбай Шарипович (Шарип уулу) Жээнбеков, Sooronbay Şaripoviç (Şarip uulu) Jéénbekov; [soːrɔnˈbɑj ʃɑˈripɐvit͡ʃ d͡ʒeːnˈbɛkəf] or Sooronbay Zheenbekov; born 16 November 1958) is a Kyrgyz politician, and the President of Kyrgyzstan. He officially took office on 24 November 2017.[1] He was also the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan from April 2016 to August 2017.[2][3]

Sooronbay Jeenbekov
Сооронбай Жээнбеков
Sooronbay Jeenbekov (2018-05-14) 02.jpg
5th President of Kyrgyzstan
Assumed office
24 November 2017
Prime MinisterSapar Isakov
Muhammetkaliy Abulgaziyev
Preceded byAlmazbek Atambayev
18th Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
In office
13 April 2016 – 22 August 2017
PresidentAlmazbek Atambayev
DeputyCholpon Sultanbekova
Preceded byTemir Sariyev
Succeeded byMuhammetkaliy Abulgaziyev (Acting)
Governor of Osh
In office
16 August 2012 – 11 December 2015
Prime MinisterÖmürbek Babanov
Djoomart Otorbaev
Preceded byAytmat Kadyrbayev
Succeeded byTaalaybek Sarybashev
Personal details
Sooronbay Sharipovich Jeenbekov

(1958-11-16) November 16, 1958 (age 60)
Biy-Myrza, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union (now Kyrgyzstan)
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Aigul Tokoyeva
ResidenceOrdo House, Ala Archa State Residence
Alma materKyrgyz National Agrarian University

Early life and educationEdit

Jeenbekov was born in Biy-Myrza, Osh Region on November 16, 1958. His father, Sharif, was a collective farm (kolkhoz) manager while his mother was a housewife.[4] Jeenbekov is one of nine siblings in his family, being the third eldest child. Jeenbekov attended the Kyrgyz Academy of Agriculture, graduating with a degree in zoological engineering. In 2003, he completed further studies, graduating in accounting from the Kyrgyz National Agrarian University.[5]


Prime Minister Jeenbekov with Dmitry Medvedev, and Tigran Sargsyan at the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council summit in Bishkek, 7 March 2017.

Jeenbekov started his career at the Lenin School in the Uzgen District, where he worked as a teacher at 18 and taught Russian and literature. In 1983, he became the chief livestock specialist of the Soviet farm in the Soviet district of Osh region and continued to work in the position for about five years. In November 1988, he managed to obtain a job as an instructor in the district committee of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan in the Soviet district of the Osh region. After a few years, he became the director of the party committee.[6]

After entering politics, in 1993, Jeenbekov was elected chairman of the Kashka-Zhol collective farm in Kara-Kulja District.[7] He became a Deputy of the Assembly of People's Representatives in 1995. In 2007, he became the Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and the Processing Industry. In 2010, he served as the Governor of the Osh region, and in 2015, he was appointed as Director of the State Personnel Service. In March 2016, he was appointed as First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, before his appointment as Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan.[8][9]

2017 Kyrgyz presidential electionEdit

Jeenbekov resigned from the post of Prime Minister on 21 August 2017, after being named as an official candidate in the 2017 presidential election. He stated that he "[wanted] to be in an equal position with other presidential candidates."[3]

The election was held on 15 October 2017. Kyrgyzstan's central election commission reported a total of almost 1.7 million votes cast, of which Jeenbekov won 54.74 percent.[10] Jeenbekov's election marks the first democratic transfer of power in a Kyrgyz election. Azay Guliyev confirmed the election to be one of the few peaceful elections in Kyrgyzstan's history.[11]


Jeenbekov with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Sochi, Russia.

Jeenbekov was inaugurated as president on 24 November 2017 in a ceremony that took place in the Enesay reception house of the Ala Archa State Residence.[1] His first presidential decree in office was made to confer the title of Hero of the Kyrgyz Republic to former president Atambayev. Just days into his presidency, Jeenbekov changed the time of his departure to the White House to early in the morning to avoid Bishkek traffic, a move which was praised by many Bishkek residents.[12] He conducted his first foreign visit after assuming the presidency was to Russia where he met with Vladimir Putin.[13] Early into his presidency, he has been accused of undermining the country's democracy by suppressing opposition politicians and journalists.[14] On 19 April 2018, Jeenbekov fired his Prime Minister Sapar Isakov and the government following a vote of no confidence from Kyrgyzstan's parliament.[15]

In an address to journalists in May 2018, Jeenbekov promised to fight against tribalism being imposed on the country saying that "We will take measures against those, who impose a "north-south" issue in the society."[16]

Jeenbekov with Ilham Aliyev

Jeenbekov opened the Central Mosque of Imam Sarakhsi, which is the largest mosque in Central Asia, with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to Bishkek in early September of 2018.[17] During his visit, Erdoğan pressured Jeenbekov to take the appropriate measures to deal with Turkish Islamist leader Fethullah Gülen.[18]

Jeenbekov opened the 2018 World Nomad Games in Cholpon-Ata on September 3, 2018, marking the first major international event that Jeenbekov has hosted in Kyrgyzstan.[19] Receiving Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the Cholpon-Ata State Residence the next day, Jeenbekov thanked the prime minister for becoming the first Hungarian leader to visit the country since its independence.[20] In April 2019, Jeenbekov received Valentina Shevchenko (a professional KyrgyzPeruvian mixed martial artist fighter) during her tour of her native Kyrgyzstan, her first visit in seven years. Jeenbekov praised Shevchenko's role in her profession, even going as far as to say that she "defended the honour of our Kyrgyzstan".[21] On May 4 he ordered that all mining of uranium in the country will be banned.[22]

Foreign policyEdit

Jeenbekov with other CSTO leaders at the CSTO summit in Minsk, November 2017.

Jeenbekov's foreign policy has been described as much more balanced that his predecessors. In his inaugural remarks, he vowed to make the Kremlin the country's "main strategic partner" as well as signaled that he will seek more collaborative bilateral ties with China and the European Union. He is noted for repairing relations with neighboring Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, following an improvement in ties under Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who took power the year before Jeenbekov, and a diplomatic crisis after Jeenbekov's predecessor, Almazbek Atambayev accused Kazakhstan of election interference and called the Kazakh government under President Nursultan Nazarbayev a "dictatorship".[23] All of this is reflected in the international working and state visits which he makes often, with Jeenbekov visiting Russia and Kazakhstan the most since November 28, 2017.

In an address to the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan in late June 2018, he outlined and made clear that his country will pursue and develop multilateral relations with Turkey, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and the Arab world by the end of his term in 2023.[24] In his first year in office, President Jeenbekov participated in 30 international meetings, where 77 bilateral agreements and 414 multilateral documents were signed. Also during his first year, Kyrgyzstan established diplomatic relations with four foreign countries.[25] In March 2019, Jeenbekov made his remarks during a meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions of Kyrgyzstan that his country had plans to step up work on development of bilateral co-operation with the United States and United Kingdom.[26] The draft of a new co-operation agreement with the United States is currently being reconciled.[27]

During Vladimir Putin's state visit to Bishkek in March 2019, he ordered that a new marble pavilion be created outside the Ala Archa State Residence to provide a sound place for the National Guard to render honors. Since then, he has received Xi Jinping, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, Narendra Modi at the new area. Jeenbekov attended the latter's second swearing-in ceremony in late May in his first visit to the Indian sub-continent.

Relationship with AtambayevEdit

Since Jeenbekov took power in November 2017, he has had what can only be described as a contentious relationship with his predecessor and former ally, Almazbek Atambayev. It the early months of his presidency, he used his position to praise Atambayev's work, even going as far giving him the title of "Hero of the Kyrgyz Republic", which the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a citizen of Kyrgyzstan. Atambayev strongly backed Jeenbekov during the 2017 election against his opponent Ömürbek Babanov, even referring to himself as an “older brother” to Jeenbekov. As he continued serving as president, a rift grew between the two as Atambayev later became more involved in politics in the 6 months post his presidency, eventually rising to the Chairmanship of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, of which Jeenbekov is a member of. In Atambayev's remarks following his assumption to the post, he criticized Jeenbekov for his handling of the Bishkek power plant failure earlier that, as well as rebuked him for not taking steps to force his brother to resign from parliament. In early April 2018, Jeenbekov dismissed two high ranking officials in the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) who are considered to be close to Atambayev. The move was seen as an apparent jab at Atambayev and his former government.[28] In an interview on his 60th birthday later in the year, Jeenbekov accused Atambayev of indirectly and directly trying to influence him and his presidency, saying the following to the 24 Kyrgyzstan news agency:[29]

His attempts to turn me into a puppet leader through some third individuals, to direct my actions – discredit him as a person, as an ex-president, as a fellow party member and associate.

He later denied that he was fighting with Atambayev, saying at a press conference in December 2018 that his major goal was to do "nothing but to work day and night" while saying that he does "not consider anyone a rival".[30] Due to the failed attempt by SOBR Units to arrest Atambayev at his residence in Koy-Tash on 7 August, which resulted in the death of one soldier, Jeenbekov cane back from his vacation and called a meeting of the Security Council, in which Jeenbekov accused Atambayev of "rudely violating the constitution".[31]

Personal lifeEdit

His wife, Aigul Jeenbekova (née Tokoeva), has been married to Jeenbekov since 1988. Together, they have 2 children, with their eldest daughter, Baktygul, being married and a graduate from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University. Their younger child is a son named Iman. Jeenbekov's younger brother, Asylbek Jeenbekov, is also a politician, while his other brother, Zhusupbek Sharipov, is a former governor from Jalal-Abad and the current ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Ukraine.[32] Aside from his native Kyrgyz, Jeenbekov is also fluent in Russian.



  1. ^ a b "At Final Press Conference, Kyrgyz President Atambaev Plots His Political Future". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  2. ^ "Sooronbay Jeenbekov becomes new Prime Minister".
  3. ^ a b "Kyrgyz PM Jeenbekov Resigns To Run For President". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Bishkek. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Sooronbai Jeenbekov, Longtime Atambaev Ally With A Southern Touch, Poised For Kyrgyz Presidency". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved Aug 8, 2019.
  5. ^ "Сооронбай Жээнбеков" [Sooronbay Jeenbekov] (in Russian). Новости АКИpress.
  6. ^ "Биография" [Biography] (in Russian). Официальный сайт Правительства КР. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Сооронбай Жээнбеков. Биография" (in Russian). Kloop Media. 22 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Sooronbay Jeenbekov is new Kyrgyz PM". Trade Bridge Consultants.
  9. ^ "Profile: Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov - Xinhua |". Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  10. ^ Gizitdinov, Nariman (15 October 2017). "Jeenbekov Wins Kyrgyz Presidential Vote as Rival Urges Stability". Bloomberg News. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  11. ^ Nariman, Gizitdinov. "Photographer: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP via Getty Images Jeenbekov Wins Kyrgyzstan's Presidential Election". Bloomberg Politics. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  12. ^ KOSTENKO, Julia (2018-03-03). "One hundred days of Sooronbai Jeenbekov. From first visit to first intrigue". Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  13. ^ "Russian, Kyrgyz presidents to meet on November 29 — Kremlin". TASS (in Russian). Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  14. ^ "Repression in Kyrgyzstan is eroding Central Asia's only democracy". The Economist. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Kyrgyz PM Dismissed As Jeenbekov Looks To Cement Control • Channels Television". Channels Television. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  16. ^ "AKIpress News Agency". Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  17. ^ "Erdoğan inaugurates Central Asia's largest mosque in Kyrgyzstan - DailySabah". Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  18. ^ "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns Kyrgyzstan over Fethullah Gulen threat - The Financial Express". 2018-09-02. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  19. ^ "World Nomad Games begin in Kyrgyzstan". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  20. ^ "Hungary's Orban Vows To Develop Ties With 'Kin' Central Asian States". Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Keeping Kyrgyzstan's Uranium In The Ground". Retrieved Aug 8, 2019.
  23. ^ "New Kyrgyz President Vows Balanced Foreign Policy With Russia As Main 'Strategic Partner'". Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  24. ^ "Jeenbekov names foreign policy priorities of Kyrgyzstan". Информационное Агентство Кабар. June 27, 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  25. ^ "Sooronbay Jeenbekov's work results in foreign policy in his one year presidency". Trend.Az. 2018-11-20. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  26. ^ Kyrgyzstan to 'step up' co-operation with US, UK, says Jeenbekov. Caravanserai. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  27. ^ Renewed Kyrgyz-US co-operation paves way for deepening relations. Caravanserai. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  28. ^ Diplomat, Catherine Putz, The. "Is There a Growing Atambayev-Jeenbekov Rift in Kyrgyzstan?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  29. ^ decessor-of-rying-to-turn-him-into-puppet-/29604471.html "Kyrgyz President Accuses Predecessor Of Trying To Turn Him Into 'Puppet'" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  30. ^ "Kyrgyz President Says He Is 'Not Fighting' With His Predecessor". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  31. ^ "События - Официальный сайт Президента Кыргызской Республики". Retrieved Aug 8, 2019.
  32. ^ "Brother of new president of Kyrgyzstan may become ambassador to Ukraine". 2017-11-15. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  33. ^ "Елбасы встретился с Президентом Кыргызской Республики Сооронбаем Жээнбековым — Официальный сайт Президента Республики Казахстан". Retrieved Aug 8, 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Temir Sariyev
Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
Succeeded by
Muhammetkaliy Abulgaziyev
Preceded by
Almazbek Atambayev
President of Kyrgyzstan