CRISIS FACTORS IN KYRGYZSTAN: THE REGIONAL, CLAN, AND POLITICAL STRUGGLE

Andrei GALLIEV


Andrei Galliev, Doctoral candidate from Turan University, Senior lecturer at Turan University, MTE (MA in Teaching English), and MBA (Master of Business Administration) (Almaty, Kazakhstan)


Introduction

Kyrgyzstan began building its statehood from the moment it became part of the Russian Federation as an autonomous republic.

It is worth noting that some of the problems existing today date back to the so-called territorial-national separation of the nationalities of the former Turkestan Republic (1924-1925). The faulty national-demographic approach to legitimization of borders and their demarcation led to the formation of regions with mixed populations.

In 1925, Kyrgyzstan acquired the status of an autonomous region within the R.S.F.S.R. and did not become a Union republic endowed with the attributes of a higher state rank until 1936. However, the borders were not defined and remained this way during the years of the states independent existence.

The northern Kyrgyz lived in the Issyk Kul Basin and the nearby mountains of Kungai-Alatau and Terskei-Alatau, as well as in the Chu and Talas valleys, but a large part of the population was composed of Russian and Kazakh diasporas.

Clans and tribes of southern Kyrgyz settled beyond the mountain passes of the Ferghana, as well as in the foothills of the Alai and Chatkal mountain ranges located around the Ferghana Valley. There were also large implantations of Uzbeks and Tajiks in Kyrgyzstan. Certain kishlaks (with their adjoining land) populated by Uzbeks and Tajiks are enclaves that are juridically under the control of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. This complicates ethnic relations even more.

In this article, we will try to analyze the present-day political life of Kyrgyzstan from the regional perspective, as well as take a closer look at some aspects of the prehistory of the events that occurred.

Sources of the Crisis

When the Central Asian countries acquired their independence, the borders regarded as administrative boundaries and economic territories in Soviet times became state borders. As the national self-awareness of the local nationalities grew, this gave rise to conflicts. The mentality of the population should also be taken into account. The Kyrgyz have always traditionally been nomadic cattle breeders, while the Uzbeks and Tajiks are mostly farmers.

So the jingoistic sentiments of the local political elites became imposed upon the local specifics of tribal and clan relations, the rivalry between the south and the north, and ethnic confrontation.

From the very beginning, the foreign community, as well as specialized publications of international and local media have been keeping a close eye on the conflicts existing on the political stage of Kyrgyzstan and its nearby regions. Suffice it to say that in the past ten years, Central Asia and the Caucasus (Sweden) alone has published 15 articles on this topic, while Central Asian Review (Oxford), as well as various publications in Russia, China, and


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