Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev (Kyrgyz and Russian: Алмазбек Шаршенович Атамбаев; born 17 September 1956) has been the President of Kyrgyzstan since 1 December 2011. 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 Atambaev was born in 1956 in the Northern region of Chui. He received his degree in economics while studying at the Moscow Institute of Management.
Atambaev has four children from his marriage to his first wife Buazhar: two sons Seyit and Seytek, and two daughters Diana and Dinara. In 1988 he married his second wife, Raisa. They have two children: a boy Khadyrbek and a girl Aliya. 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.
Political career under Akayev and Bakiyev
Atambayev was an unsuccessful candidate in the October 2000 presidential election, receiving 6% of the vote.
Atambayev served as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism in the government from 20 December 2005 until he resigned on 21 April 2006.
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). 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 , 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."
Following the resignation of Prime Minister Azim Isabekov on 29 March 2007, Atambayev was appointed acting Prime Minister by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. He was then confirmed in parliament by a vote of 48-3 on 30 March. He is the first prime minister in Central Asia to come from an opposition party. On 11 April, he tried to address a large protest in Bishkek demanding Bakiyev's resignation, but was booed by the protesters.
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.
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. 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.
On 20 April 2009, Atambayev was announced as a candidate for the July 2009 presidential elections. 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".
Political career since 2010
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).
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.
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.
The Russian Federation
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; however, he also expressed his wish to achieve greater economic and energy independence from it.
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.