POST-SOVIET RADICALIZATION OF ISLAM IN KYRGYZSTAN: HIZB UT-TAHRIR
Alexey Sukhov, Research Fellow, the North Caucasian Civil Service Academy (Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation)
In August 2006, Kyrgyzstan marked 15 years of its independence: a historically short period that upturned the course of history in this republic. The Soviet Union disappeared together with the communist utopia of an atheist state to let religion finally reap the fruits of its opposition to the official Marxist-Leninist ideology. The state loosened its grip on religion somewhat earlier under the impact of perestroika, which brought in democratization and the 1988 ceremonies dedicated to the millennium of Christianity in Russia. Kyrgyzstan, and many of its Central Asian neighbors, inherited a weak economy and spiritual vacuum from the Soviet Union: for seven decades of Soviet rule most people, be they Muslims or Christians, were too frightened to openly demonstrate their devotion. The socialist system disintegrated to bury the bipolar world of socialism/capitalism confrontation under its debris, the resulting gap being filled with another confrontation: the rich and economically dynamic West and the poor Muslim Southeast.
There is the opinion that religion’s new status in society legalized the people’s previously hidden devoutness and allowed religion to come out into the open (thus ending the “underground period” of religious activities). People were no longer afraid to discuss their religious convictions; mosque and church attendance as well as religious rites at home were no longer a crime. Atheists and people earlier indifferent to religion developed an interest in………………..