Kyrgyzstan: Time to Solve Problems

The first week of April started with the ambiguous opinions of Kyrgyz bloggers about the Marie Claire magazine article by American journalist Erin Finnerty with photography by Rena Effendi and the provocative headline “Kyrgyzstan: From Silk to Heroin” about the problems of women in Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

For instance, beketova wrote [ru]:

“It’s rubbish. To write something just to shock more. Like that scandal story about Borat, when Kazakhstan fell prey to a casual selection. Film doesn’t sound Kazakhstan anyway!”

svetofor_kg noticed that Erin Finnerty has been doing research for a few years [ru]:

“In general, the Slavic people were drug addicts up to 2003 year (according to the statistic 1990-2003). Later drug addicts appeared between the indigenous populations, although, there are more drug couriers among the [native peoples] of Central Asian nations. Everybody knows the houses of the drug barons in Osh. It is compared that heroin in Kyrgyzstan is cheaper that 1 kilo of apples (40 versus 50 soms). The indigenous habitants of Bishkek form a marginal part of the population of Kyrgyzstan and aren’t representative [of the entire nation, they are] like an enclave. There are heroin and vodka in the regions. So, make conclusion yourself”.

The discussion also attracted the author of the photos, Rena Effendi, who left a comment about this article. She wrote [ru]:

“My name is Rena Effendi, I live and work in Azerbaijan. I’ve decided to reply to you, because you have some opinions without any hysteria and people are trying to understand the situation. One must not judge the article and the report only by the one headline. The headlines are always too scandalous and are generalized in order to simplify [the story] and attract a reader. When you read the article you will understand that there aren’t any general conclusions. The matter concerns the region in the South of the country – Osh city. The article describes the stories of real people. Personally, when I visited that place, I couldn’t ignore this situation. This problem is really serious. The government and the parliament should gather and think about improving the situation instead of useless hysteria. The aim of such reports is to attract attention to the defined problems and not to slander a country and harm tourism. Such reports appear everywhere all the time. But some ex-Soviet-Union countries (and my country, also) have some oversensitive reactions about this. [It is] Like a post-Soviet inferiority complex”.

As a result of the visit of President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiev to Kazakhstan, there were some discussion the last few days about the transmission of land parcels and 4 resorts at Issyk-Kul Lake to Kazakhstan. An opposition youth tried to hold a protest action against the transmission of the lands to Kazakhstan, but the police detained all participants of the action for half an hour.

Azzzik was shocked by the actions of Kyrgyz police [ru]:

“According to news, 30 policemen detained all participants, 50 people. Roughly speaking, every militiaman pushed to the bus 2 people. Bravo militiamen! Our valiant guards must already inspire fear for the antiglobalists, for example, which can’t be managed with the European police. It’s time to send our militiamen abroad to hold the master classes”.

Next there was a large discussion about the wildcat strike of mini-buses (aka “marshrutka”) drivers, last week. The drivers insisted on increasing their prices, but, in the end, the prices remained the same. quoted some opinions about the strike.

“When I have been standing at the bus stop, I noticed that there were more people than usual. Having been standing more than one hour, I understood that something was going wrong”, blogger Azat_ik wrote [ru].

Livejournal user dmitriymaslov explained why he would prefer mini-buses [ru]:

“It is sad, if the drivers have began to strike. They are irreplaceable in the transport system of the ex-Soviet Union countries. Autobuses and trolleybuses can’t be the way out, because people are used to the speed of the transportation and ready to refuse service in favor of speed. “Marshrutka” are the solution, with crazy drivers that are ready to drive however and anywhere. The main aim is to drive with high speed with the maximum number of passengers. I choose marshrutka”.

A suggestion by the Woman’s Discussion Club to legalize commercial sex aroused a gust of negative opinions on forums:

“If we legalize commercial sex, we would become more criminal. Instead of giving women a good education and providing jobs, the authority wants to solve the problem of unemployment among the youth in a fast and profitable way. It is very easy to come down. But to make something adequate is very hard. All the people from the Women’s Discussion Club are sponsored by foreign funds. The main aim of such funds is to seduce our youth and deprive us of a future”, dr.dux said [ru].

However, the recent government opposition convention passed almost unnoticed, indicating that perhaps Kyrgyz society is tired of public actions and protests. Aka_b_m mocked opposition [ru]:

“The slogan of the opposition can be translated from Kyrgyz language “Truth is flexible, but doesn’t break”. This is very symbolic for this opposition. If suggest that for money, they are really flexible and aren’t obstinate. Although, the right sense of the slogan is “The truth will always come out”.

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