Otunbayeva, Roza

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Otunbayeva, Roza

Roza Otunbayeva, 1950–, Kyrgyz political leader and diplomat, b. Osh. After graduating (1972) from Moscow State Univ. she taught philosophy (1972–78) at Kyrgyz State National Univ. She entered politics in the 1980s and after Kyrgyzstan's independence was foreign minister (1992) before becoming its first ambassador to the United States (1992–94). She was again foreign minister (1994–97) before serving as ambassador to Great Britain (1998–2001). Returning to Kyrgystan in 2004, she was a leader of the 2005 "Tulip Revolution" that ousted President Askar Akayev and installed Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Otunbayeva served as acting foreign minister and later (2007) was elected to parliament as a Social Democrat. In 2010 when spreading unrest led Bakiyev to flee and then step down, Otunbayeva became president of the interim government (2010–11). Her government drafted a constitution intended to create a parliamentary democracy and oversaw relatively successful elections, but also had to confront challenges from Bakiyev supporters, mainly in the south, which also was wracked (2010) by anti-Uzbek violence.

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