07.04.2021 Author: Vladimir Platov

What is the UK’s “Grey Eminence”, Charles Garrett, Doing in Kyrgyzstan?


It has long been noticed that the candidates appointed as US and UK diplomatic ambassadors all have impressive experience of military or intelligence service, which in a way shows that the tasks these countries assign to their foreign representative offices are rather of military and strategic nature, than simply a diplomatic mission.

The increasing presence of the US “military cavalry” among the country’s ambassadors in post-Soviet space has been a theme and a subject of many discussions by NEO’s authors. As has been the fact that many of those persons had quite well-formulated tasks set for them by the White House: to corrode ties between these countries and Russia by initiating various “color revolutions”, protest actions against the existing regime, which is usually unwanted by Washington, and lobbying the appointment of their insiders into the newly established government agencies of the young independent post-Soviet states.

The US shows an example and urges its NATO allies, in particular, the UK, to use these patterns in the activities of their representative offices in the post-Soviet regions. An obvious example of using this pattern described in media, is, in particular, the appointment of Charles Garrett as the UK’s ambassador in Kyrgyzstan, a former MI-6 intelligence officer who held a position of the Deputy Director of the intelligence service in charge of political issues. Another example is the appointment of Michael Gifford as the UK’s ambassador in Kazakhstan, who previously worked for the UK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was in charge of security issues.

The UK’s enhanced activity in Central Asia has a simple explanation – London has its own strategic interest in this region, which is no  less important to the UK than it is to the US. The White House has failed to have any true “victories” in the Central Asia, as did the CIA with its latest attempts of political destabilization inside the post-Soviet space: in particular, the attempts to initiate public protests in Russia and Armenia, total failure of rebellion in Belarus, other failed “color revolutions” in some of the countries in the Central Asia, all of which forced London to attempt to play its own card in the region. In addition, the reader should remember that Britain cannot give up its imperial ambitions, and continues to consider Central and Middle Asia an area of geopolitical interest. Therefore, it is no coincidence that in 2019, it was Charles Garrett, the closest friend and associate of Richard Moore, the director of MI-6, who was appointed as the British Ambassador in Kyrgyzstan. Garrett’s task was to lure Kyrgyzstan back into the field of the UK’s influence by building an alternative to Kyrgyzstan’s friendly relationship with Russia and China.

This is why the actions of the British embassy in Bishkek, from the moment when Charles Garrett arrived there in summer 2019, have been in close focus. The Balkan media previously covered Garrett’s very “specific” actions in Macedonia, in particular his “efforts” to remove from the power the Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Charles Garrett is an experienced orchestrator of “color revolutions”, including the one in the North Macedonia, where he had been the UK’s ambassador till the summer 2019. It was him who inspired the rebellion to remove from the power Macedonia’s legally elected government, and to bring victory to Zoran Zaev’s western-minded proponents during the extraordinary election. During an episode of the Milenko Nedelkovski Show, hosted by a Macedonian journalist and presenter, the participants stated that the UK’s ambassador in Kyrgyzstan, Charles Garrett, was an ideologist and orchestrator of the 2015 “color revolution” in Macedonia. Milenko Nedelkovski claims that the next target for the UK’s ambassador may be Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan or Tajikistan.

The Kyrgyz media outlets have often included the actions of this UK’s ambassador in the scope of their coverage, as he contributed much to the attempt of the first rebellion in October 2020 in Kyrgyzstan.

As witnessed by Kyrgyz observers, in 2010 the rebellion in this country was orchestrated by the Americans, while in 2020 it was the British, in particular, the British ambassador, who took the initiative in operational leadership when preparing the rebellion.  From April to August 2020, Charles Garrett had a series of informal negotiations and consultations with the leaders of pro-Western parties and foundations: Omurbek Tekebayev, the head of Ata Meken party, Adil Turdukulov, the chairman of the Progress Foundation, and many others. In October 2020, Delo N, a newspaper famous for its journalistic investigations, published a number of photos proving the fact that the British communicated with pro-Western NGOs in Kyrgyzstan and the transferred some amounts of money to them. According to Kyrgyz World, the main point in these conversations was to provide instructions on how to discredit and compromise the parliamentary candidates from the current government. In view of the upcoming parliamentary elections, Charles Garrett, the British ambassador in Kyrgyzstan, tried to unite all the opposition forces against the Kyrgyz government. As he realized that what he was doing did not match what he was supposed to do in the position he held, Charles Garrett ordered his subordinates in the British diplomatic mission, under the pretext of “humanitarian aid”, to arrange funding of the “operation” through their controlled structures – the Fund for Conflict Prevention, Promoting Stability and Security of the British Foreign Ministry, as well as the Non-governmental Organization Institute for War and Peace Coverage.

To provide a more complete understanding of the personality of the British ambassador Charles Garrett, the Kyrgyz media recalled that back in July 2020, three months before the Kyrgyz elections, Garrett, supported by US Ambassador in Kyrgyzstan Donald Lu, organized closed-door negotiations at the US Embassy in Bishkek between the officers of the US and British structures (most of whom had long been known to have direct or indirect links to intelligence services) and the leadership and activists of local pro-Western media and NGOs. The coordinator of that event was a certain adviser to the US Department of Homeland Security named Parker, who, as he said, “was a specialist in containing and counteracting the expansionist policy of China in the Central Asia.” It is worth noting that, as a positive example of counteracting China in strengthening its positions in Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Parker cited Charles Garrett’s actions to organize mass rallies against the construction of infrastructure facilities for the development of the Salton-Sary gold deposit by Zhong Ji Mining, a Chinese company. At the end of this meeting, Mr. Garrett, who clearly exceeded his “diplomatic powers”, addressed the local media representatives to prepare a series of anti-Chinese materials, and called on the NGO representatives to use this newsworthy occurrence to initiate active protests in the Kyrgyz Republic against the Chinese threat.

Despite the failed attempt by the UK and Mr. Garrett personally to organize a rebellion in Kyrgyzstan in October 2020, keep in mind that in October 2021, parliamentary elections will be again held in this country, and it is rather unlikely that Ambassador Garrett will abandon the MI-6’s task and sit idle by.

Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.