Kyrgyzstan’s Most Wanted

The Curious Case of Eugene Gourevitch

An abandoned uranium combine in the township of Kajy-Sayy, some 188 miles east of Bishkek, March 13, 2013. Shamil Zhumatov / Courtesy Reuters

Of all the days he could get sick, this was the worst possible day. Eugene Gourevitch, once Kyrgyzstan’s premier financier and confidant of the ruling family, was now a wanted man. 

It was the spring of 2010, and the corrupt government of this small Central Asian nation had just fallen in a bloody uprising. Ironically, that government itself was a rotten product of an earlier coup, the optimistically misnamed Tulip Revolution of 2005. While political tumult rocked the country from within, Kyrgyzstan assumed an outsize role on the international stage. The war in nearby Afghanistan prompted Washington to set up a military base next to Kyrgyzstan’s main airport. The American encroachment worried Moscow, Kyrgyzstan’s old imperial patron that maintained a base of its own there. And neighboring China was also concerned about the expansion of American influence so close to its borders. 

None of this mattered much to Gourevitch.

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