Kyrgyzstan has attracted world attention again. At least 170 people have been killed in violent riots in the cities of Osh, Jalal-Abad and other settlements of the Asian nation. The number of wounded nears 2,000 people. The interim government of the country is unable to take the situation under control yet.
The reason of such violent clashes, which continue for five days in a row, is still unknown. It apparently started after a massive fight in Osh between Kyrgyz and Uzbek men. The fight then developed into an ethnic conflict. The interim government believes, though, that the riots in the south of the republic have been provoked from the outside, although the conflict does have ethnic roots.
Uzbeks make nearly 15% of Kyrgyzstan’s population. The Uzbek population prevails over the natives in several districts of the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions. The relations between the two communities have always left much to be desired. The bloody clashes between them started 20 years ago. Nowadays, it seems that the current pogroms in Kyrgyzstan take place with the participation of foreign hirelings. It transpired, albeit unofficially, that Afghans, residents of the Northern Caucasus and even citizens of the Baltic States take an active participation in the current events in Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz Uzbeks say, though, that Osh and Jalal-Abad have become the center of ethnic cleansing procedures. They claim that the troops took the side of Kyrgyz rioters and even provided them with weapons.
The situation in Kyrgyzstan may develop into the humanitarian catastrophe. Uzbekistan decided to open its border with Kyrgyzstan over the weekend to give Uzbek nationals an opportunity to flee the troubled nation. On Monday, Uzbekistan closed the border again having said that the nation would not be able to cope with 100,000 refugees from Kyrgyzstan. The Uzbek government called international organizations to interfere.
The head of the interim government in Kyrgyzstan, Roza Otunbayeva, has acknowledged that the country would not be able to establish law and order alone. On June 12, she asked Russia to deploy peacemaking contingent in Kyrgyzstan.
Russian officials responded that they were not going to deploy peacemakers in the Asian nation.
“The interim government of Kyrgyzstan is quite capable of handling the situation, but it lacks helicopters, ground transportation, technical means and even fuel. Once these things are provided, this plan will work as a first measure to establish law and order in the country. We offer Kyrgyzstan a complex of measures for the time being, officials said.
The UN Security Council is currently looking into the situation in Kyrgyzstan too. The UN promised to guarantee the delivery of food and medical help to Kyrgyz nationals through specially formed humanitarian corridors.
In the meantime, Kyrgyz media have reported about the arrest of the suspected organizer of current riots. It goes about a former top official of Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration, Paizullabek Rakhmanov. This information has not been officially confirmed. Vice Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev believes that the riots have been masterminded by the younger son of the toppled president, Maksim Bakiyev.
Maksim Bakiyev is involved in the funding of the actions to undermine the new constitution referendum which is slated to take place in the country at the end of June. The vice prime minister said that the Bakiyevs had spent nearly $10 million to fund the unrest in the nation.
On June 13 it was said that Maksim Bakiyev, whom the interim Kyrgyz government accuses of a number of economic crimes, had been arrested in Britain. He stated that he had arrived in England seeking political shelter. British authorities have not released any official statement to explain Bakiyev’s arrest.
Sergey Demidenko, an expert with the Institute of Strategic Estimations and Analysis, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that the reasons for chaos in Kyrgyzstan are hidden inside the country.
“The conflict between Kyrgyz and Uzbek nationals started after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Neither previous nor sitting leaders of the country have done anything to solve the problem. Someone from the outside could of course use the situation in their interests. However, I repeat, the prerequisites for the current conflict have been created inside the country.
“This conflict is mostly of economic character. Russians and Uzbeks are two most economically active categories of Kyrgyzstan’s population. An average Russian or Uzbek person living in Kyrgyzstan is richer than a native Kyrgyz. Maksim Bakiyev’s implication in the riots is nothing but a speculation, it’s a conspiracy theory. His father used to accuse the first president of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev, of all the trouble. Now Otunbayeva and her followers shift the blame on the Bakiyevs. This way or other, but no one in the nation has done anything to solve economic and ethnic problems.
“I believe that deploying Russian peacemakers in Kyrgyzstan doesn’t make sense. The institute of peacemaking operations has repeatedly proved its incapacity. Russia needs to take efforts to prevent a possible war between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan instead,” the specialist said.