Kyrgyzstan is a sovereign state for 24 years already. And all the time long Bishkek - the capital, the heart of the country - is experiencing a constant shortage of finances.
Everyday problems are solved residually; repair of main roads is carried out at the expense of credits and grant funds. Bishkek residents can only dream of timely garbage disposal. Municipal officials have found a universal explanation of illegal dumping and overfilled garbage containers: the city lacks special-purpose machinery.
However, having relatively meager budget for a stable development, city officials sometimes use the funds very irrationally.
A striking example is the car fleet of the Bishkek Mayor's Office. It has 52 service passenger cars which are allocated exclusively for the officials. Herewith, 17 cars are Mercedes.
All of these "service cars" are not from a fantastic future. In addition to the fuel costs, they require periodic repair, it is necessary to maintain a staff of drivers.
Real spendings on the fleet is, apparently, closed information. Answering the request of 24.kg news agency about annual expenditures on official cars, the Mayor's Office gave information only on their number, citing a government decree, which sets limits on the purchase of cars and fuel, the requirements for the technical condition of the cars.
And the head of the Mayor's Executive Office Nurdin Tynaev preferred to keep silence on the amount of money, allocated for the maintenance of the car fleet, assuring that the costs are in compliance with the government decree. There is also no information on the costs of official cars on the website of the Mayor's Office.
The question arises: is it allowable to drive around in Mercedes cars at the expense of the city budget, when having a lot of unsolved problems, and while maintaining the vital activity of the city at the expense of foreign grants and loans and experiencing an acute shortage of kindergartens?
For comparison: government of Germany, population of which is 85 million people, has only 37 official cars in its garage. In Brazil, misuse of official vehicles is fraught with dismissal.
Foreign officials often use public transport that I have witnessed by myself. For example, in Stuttgart the head of Plieningen district Andrea Lindel came to "The cleanest areas of the city" awards ceremony by an ordinary bus as the rest of the officials did.
By the way, the authorities of Bishkek also use public transport sometimes. But! Exclusively during press tours with journalists.