Today, the President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov celebrates his 60th birthday. On his birthday, the head of state summed up not only the results of the first year of his presidency, but also answered very personal questions about his wife, children, and even his dreams.
— You have accounts on social networking websites. It is clear that you do not post there by yourself. Tell us, what social networks do you read when you have a free moment, do you give instructions if you see a call for help?
— I am provided with daily and weekly reviews of social networking websites, I get information about the main trends in social networks in a timely manner.
Occasionally, when I have free time, I log into my Facebook account. But this happens infrequently.
My working morning begins with reading the leading informational websites, listening to the radio. In the evening, at home, I surf the Internet.
The second part of the work of my administration begins after 9.00 pm. I send links to publications, appeals, which need to be responded, answered, helped.
I am also glad that our citizens are active, openly tell me about all the problems at local meetings, post appeals to me on social networks. This is a great help to the president in order I not to move away from real life.
— The first year of your presidency has passed. What has changed in your family during this time? Is it difficult for your children, the spouse to have a new routine? Tell us about your children. What is your daughter doing, what is your son interested in?
— My children and my wife have got used to my state position and busy schedule, since I have been living at this pace for many years.
The only thing that has changed is that they are now under more scrutiny of the public.
I have a daughter and a son. My daughter Baktygul is married. This year, she graduated from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, and she is bringing up a son now. My son-in-law graduated abroad, now works as an expert in the government’s executive office. My son Iman is in the fourth grade, is keen on karate and football.
— Your wife, Aigul Tokoeva, still does not appear in public with the exception of a couple of events. Is this her decision or your recommendation? First ladies, as a rule, are engaged in charitable activities. Their status obliges it. Are you deliberately hiding her from the public? Will your spouse hold to these traditions?
— My wife is my strong home front. She devotes her time to our children, our small farm. She does not like the public life. Therefore, she appears in public only when it is necessary.
She has long been engaged in charity. And now she continues it, but it is not advertised and not disclosed.
— Do you have time for your family?
— Rarely, but I have. Sometimes the daughter comes with my grandson for a weekend, and we all spend time together. And on weekdays I come back from work late. As I have already said, my children grew up with such a work schedule of mine, so they understand.
To be honest, I probably do not know how to relax, just lie around. And before, I hardly found time to go to Issyk-Kul lake, only for the sake of the children. They have been waiting for my vacation for a year.
— During the meeting with the residents of Kemin district, you told about your previously unknown relatives, and said that you had made an order to punish those who use your name. Can you tell about your first «decree,» request for your close people after the inauguration? With what requests do your relatives, fellow villagers, friends come to you now? Are among them those who nurse a grievance against you because you did not fulfill their request?
— All Kyrgyz have a lot of relatives, except for their own brothers and sisters. We are all relatives of each other, people even joke about it.
But in this regard, I am calm for my brothers and sisters, who, when I became the prime minister and even more so now, during my presidency, do not interfere in my government activities.
I have not previously discussed my work, my direct duties in any position, either with my family or with my relatives. We have a taboo on this. This is my principle.
I know that if I ever let any of them talk to me about public affairs, then everything will go further. Therefore, none of my relatives and in-laws raise any personnel or other issues with me.
After the inauguration, I clearly stated that now everyone should help me: everyone should do what he or she did before.
Presidency is not a family, but a very responsible highest state work. This is the most crucial period in my life.
My fellow citizens entrusted to me the fate of the country, the fate of the people. By God’s will, I became the president of Kyrgyzstan. And I will put all my strength, knowledge, experience to meet the expectations of the Kyrgyz people.
If someone is offended and does not understand the responsibility entrusted to me, it means that he or she is not my relative or friend. I’ll have to break up with them.
For me, government interests are above all now. I am sure that a person close to me will understand this and will behave accordingly.
— Your family is compared with the family of the former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev because of your brothers. You have three of them. Who of them is closer to you? Asylbek Jeenbekov is most of all criticized in society. Aliyarbek Abzhaliev is also criticized now. Many people say that they promise this or that politicians, officials and ordinary people to solve certain problems. Do you know about this? Do you talk to them and how often? What affairs they and your other relatives absolutely cannot interfere with?
— There were eleven of us in the family, eight remained now — four sisters and four brothers. Jyrgal, the youngest of all the brothers, is closest to me. We all love him. He lives in the village, looks after our household, house in our birthplace. He is out of politics.
I know that there are rumors about Asylbek Sharipovich. Someone mistakes the wish for the reality.
We, brothers, always had our own work, and each of us coped with his own duties.
He has his own parliamentary duties to voters.
Because of such rumors, I warned senior officials not to contact my relatives. I decide all questions within the framework of my authority by myself.
Deputy of Parliament Aliyarbek Abzhaliev is my only in-law. We have a respectful relationship with him within our family. No more and no less. We also talk only about our children.
Government affairs are beyond kinship. This is my main principle.
Yes, I communicate with my relatives, I maintain relations, but on the post of the president, as I have already said, I am an orphan, alone. It means that I have to make a decision personally, and, accordingly, I personally bear the responsibility. No one will answer for me.
Our people have experienced family and clan rule twice. My opponents are well aware that this is a very sensitive topic, and they masterfully play on emotions in order to discredit me. I believe that they will engage in this until the end of my presidential term. It is a very comfortable topic. But I want to disappoint them: family-clan regime will never repeat!
After end of my presidential term, I want to walk quietly on the streets of my beloved country, relax on the beach of Issyk-Kul lake and deal with my personal affairs.
— A lot of memes appear on you, as well as on any media person. There are innocuous, but there are not very pleasant. You, for example, are compared to one of the characters of a popular cartoon. How do you feel about such creativity?
— The meme on the photo of my holiday on Issyk-Kul lake was fun. I was laughing. It’s one thing when they make it up themselves, and another thing when it’s a fact. The fact that I was photographed on the beach in my shoes is true.
By the way, I warned that I was photographed on the beach in shoes. I was told that the legs would not be visible on photos. The press service asked to shoot a video for a film, it turned out that they decided to take pictures.
I read in the evening on the Internet that the author of the meme was summoned to the Prosecutor General’s Office and was unhappy with this step of the supervisory body.
I know with whom the people compare me, for what they criticize or sympathize. I don’t pay much attention to this. Our people are creative, they are pouring out their creativity, including on social networks. Well, let them do it.
— The presidency, of course, makes its own adjustments to ordinary life, there is too little free time. But what do you like to do in your spare time?
— I have no free time. I am at work at 7.30 am, work till late evening. In the evening, I try to walk. Sometimes, when I have time, I go swimming.
— Do you have habits that have remained since your childhood? Something that is associated with family, parents ... Someone, for example, does not fall asleep without drinking tea with milk, which mother made in childhood...
— My grandfather did not return from the Great Patriotic War.
We called the older brother of my father a grandfather. He was our grandfather. He had worked as a manager at a state farm for 25 years. He woke me up early in the morning and before leaving for work he gave a task for the whole day. Having fulfilled his tasks, I went to play volleyball.
Grandfather was very demanding to us. In such a way, it turns out, he taught me, my brothers and sisters to work, to properly use our time.
I remember he did not let us watch Indian films, he sent us to the cinema to watch movies on military theme, because he was a member of the Great Patriotic War.
He taught me to listen to radio, news. Radio is always turned on in my car.
— What are you grateful to your parents for?
— I am grateful to my father, my mother, grandfather and grandmother for their upbringing: I grew up in care from both sides — from parents, and from grandmother and grandfather. They raised me freely, with love.
— What would you like your children and grandchildren to tell about you, in addition to the standard «decently ruled the country, was a fair president?
— It is important for me that my children to go with their heads up after the end of my presidential term. They should not be ashamed of me. I will not be a good father if later my children cannot walk boldly among their peers, colleagues, acquaintances.
Of course, I want to be remembered as a loving and caring father. I would like they could say that they grew up in care, like I remember my parents.
— As practice and time have shown, the former heads of our state were often mistaken and this led to sad consequences. Many blamed the environment. We see that we have no new faces in politics. Are you not afraid that you too can give rein to the «dishonest» environment? What are you doing to prevent this from happening?
— I feel people, and my intuition does not fail me.
Of course, I do not want to contact with such people. But, unfortunately, they are everywhere.
And I have strict requirements for the staff, one of them is that they have not to go beyond the permitted in a public office.
I appreciate their opinions as specialists. I recognize their merits in this or that sphere. But everyone is equal before the law. And they know it.
— An ideal country, what is it for you?
— First, it is a fair, honest leader who conscientiously performs his duties and raises the country and the people.
It is a state without disadvantaged, poor people, whether they are old people, children or disabled, where the law and human rights are paramount.
It is economically developed parliamentary republic with free media.
Healthy, correct, positive forces prevail in its society. I want the country and its inhabitants to be happy, and I will work on it.
— Politics, of course, leaves an imprint on a person’s character. In general, you are hot-tempered, do you often succumb to emotions in ordinary life? Can you get mad? How and by what?
— I’m quite a discreet person.
But the indifferent leaders, who can solve the issue, but drag it on and do not decide, can put me out of temper.
When someone blatantly lies. When people act unfairly and consider it commonplace.
When they say one thing and do another.
I get angry when deliberate harm is done to the state for own profit. At the same time, it is taken for granted.
— Do you remember your dreams? What did you dream of today or maybe what dream was the most memorable?
— I see different dreams, remember some of them. Sometimes dreams come true, prophetic dreams. But I never tell anyone about them.