Obituary: Jumabek Ibraimov
Corley, Felix, The Independent (London, England)
JUMABEK IBRAIMOV'S rule as Kyrgyzstan's prime minister was brief. Already ailing when appointed to the post by President Askar Akaev on 25 December last year, Ibraimov had to withdraw from day-to-day work two months later for an operation in Moscow for stomach cancer. He tried to return to work in late March - when government officials said he was healed - but soon succumbed.
In Kyrgyzstan, a small mountainous republic of what used to be the Soviet Union's empire in Central Asia, bounded by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China, politics most resembles a revolving door, with a small elite constantly reshuffled at the president's whim.
Before becoming prime minister, Ibraimov had held a number of senior posts. He was appointed mayor of the capital, Bishkek, in January 1993, and from January 1995 he was State Secretary to President Akaev, effectively his chief of staff. In March 1996 he was named an adviser on economics to the president and his Plenipotentiary Representative to the People's Assembly, the upper house of parliament. Failing health caused Ibraimov to take a year off from public life, but he returned in December 1997 as Chairman of the State Property Fund, a job that carried the rank of minister. As growing incompetence and corruption enveloped the government at the end of last year, Akaev sacked the whole team, bringing in Ibraimov to clean up. Akaev compared his new prime minister to the Russian incumbent, Yevgeny Primakov, who was a personal friend of Ibraimov. As prime minister, Ibraimov tried to bring in new mechanisms for preventing corruption and promoted further privatisation to boost the sagging economy which had been hard hit by last August's financial crash in Russia. But Ibraimov was not in office long enough to have much of an impact. Born into a peasant family in Kemin district of Kyrgyzstan's northern Chui Region, Ibraimov was trained as an engineer. …