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Kyrgyzstan: From Santamania to “Subbotnik”

Categories: Central Asia & Caucasus, Kyrgyzstan, Economics & Business, Human Rights, Humor, Labor, Youth

During the last two weeks, the Kyrgyz blogosphere has come up with a bunch of interesting articles, funny and witty comments along with bright photos of Santa Claus First Winter Festival in Kyrgyzstan [1]. The Festival was held from 23 to 25 February and spurred lots of criticism on one side – and light humor on the other – among Kyrgyz bloggers.

For instance, bretelka wonders (ru [2]):

Have they all gone crazy? I can’t believe that it is possible to save gifts for two billion children in Kyrgyzstan. They will be all stolen!

Fancher seriously mulls over the idea (ru [3]):

Guys, don’t you see the potential of this idea? First of all, everyone knows that Santa Claus does not exist. Santa Claus is a famous global brand. If this idea becomes very popular, then it will be a very important step towards tourism development in Kyrgyzstan (by attracting more tourists). I think that this idea is a good and realistic.

Another witty comment by Ataman Rakin (eng [4]):

Iiiiikkk!!! Long beards.
They are certainly Wahhabis.

From such a funny start we can now move on to more real and serious issues that captured attention of bloggers. Anna Yalovkina reports on Kloop.kg [5] that Bishkek city mayor Daniyar Usenov has announced the start of two-month “subbotnik” among school pupils and students. The word “subbotnik” derives from the Russian word “subbota” (Saturday) and means community work during which people clean streets, parks, and surroundings of schools and other public institutions.

Ladymystery notes (ru [6]):

Not a bad idea at all. We have always cleaned the territory of schools. I want to see my town very clean, but unfortunately we pollute it more than we clean it.

However, the human rights defender Maksim Kuleshov protests against such a decision by Usenov and calls it a violation of child’s rights. He says that the Soviet Union is already over and our children are not property of Mayor. He also added that he and his team will hold protests against Bishkek Mayor’s office.

Men agrees with Kuleshov (ru [5]):

Let the Mayor clean the city, not children from schools. Looks like the mayor decided to build Communism in Bishkek.

Talking about protests, everybody remembers the Tulip revolution of March, 2005 when ex-president Akaev had to flee the country. Now Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev and newly elected Parliament want to make an amendment to the Labor Code of Kyrgyzstan which will make the 24 March a national holiday of Kyrgyzstan.

Psyho complains about such a decree (ru [7]):

Will the Parliament ever work and do something useful? It’s been two months since they are doing nothing.