Alexander Knyazev: Terrorism will become the part of everyday life in Kyrgyzstan
Alexander Knyazev, the coordinator of regional programs, senior fellow in the Institute of Oriental Studies under Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow), the consultant of the Institute of political decisions (Almaty), answered the questions of Fergana Chief Editor Daniil Kislov. The conversation covered the situation in today’s Kyrgyzstan.
- Let us talk first on resumption of instability in Osh. What do you think going on there? "Second round"? Reaction? In your Facebook comment you said it was "intifada"; however, this word most commonly referred as armed fight of Palestinian Arabs against Israeli invasion. What is the metaphor here? What do you compare?
- I first used the "intifada" concept during the analysis of June riots in the interview with Ferghana in August when I was the member of the Kyrgyz Republic national commission for investigation of June riots.
Most commonly, "intifada" is referred to Arab-Israeli conflict and means "deliverance". In my opinion, there is high probability Kyrgyzstan will have some sort of such intifada: terrorist acts, murders and other "asymmetric" forms of permanent war. This is the absolute fault of current Kyrgyz state, not able to adequately judge what happened in June, name and punish the instigators and prevent such riots in the future. Recently Jypar Jeksheev, the member of National commission for investigation of June riots, said that interethnic conflict was initiated by foreign states… This one more time shows unwillingness and inability of Kyrgyz state, national elites to do what Germans did after World War II. It is necessary to publicly criticize aggressive nationalism, the reason of June riots.
Many times you wrote that the list of convicts mainly includes Uzbeks. High pressure is put against lawyers, defending Uzbeks. De facto we face uncovered discrimination of Uzbek population. Dozens of thousands Uzbeks left the country; seeking for justice, young men join IMU and Hizb ut-Tahrir. I believe explosions and other terrorist acts will become the part of everyday life in Kyrgyzstan.
I assume higher activity of IMU in Kyrgyzstan after June riots may be true. I already mentioned such possibility immediately after June riots. I said the part of Uzbek population may get radical and serve as good resource base for IMU or other extremist organizations. The official sources report that the terrorist acts were prepared by "the group of nationalist and separatist organizations", including (as per Interior Minister) Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Russians… Referring to June massacre as "disorders" Aman Saliev, the director of regional branch of Russian (!!!) institute of CIS countries, said "it was people, but not army or security agencies that were able to support the integrity of the state". This is not even mentioning Kamchibek Tashiev and Topchubek Turgunaliev. In his turn, Emil Kaptagaev, the head of President’s office, said: "Some forces initiated information war, selling the events in Kyrgyzstan as ethnic cleansing…"
The reaction will follow up. Considering minimum sustainability of Kyrgyz statehood and unclear perspectives of this state it is difficult what will happen in the future.
- What about allies, partners in CSTO, SCO, antiterrorist coalition?
- I would not like to see any allies, defending the interests of nationalistic state, suppressing the ethnic minority. In order to avoid this we must understand the nature of domestic processes. Today’s government of Kyrgyzstan wants to bring external forces. In June Roza Otunbaeva addressed Dmitry Medvedev to bring Russian troops to the south… It is clear that Russia will provide support in order to avoid the emergence of "Islamic state" and "separatism" in Kyrgyzstan.
I assume that such recent events as the explosion in Bishkek, fights in Osh, could be organized by the authorities so that Roza Otunbaeva could ask for Russian military and technical help at the CSTO summit that is needed for ethnic cleansing in the south.
- Speaking of "Kyrgyz justice", what do you think of the trial on the case of 28 defendants, suspected in the shooting of "peaceful protesters"?
- I do not think "court" may be the right word here. For Otunbaeva this is effective way to distract public attention from crisis situation in the republic. By its form it is another demonstration of wildness and barbarism, getting more and more widespread in Kyrgyzstan. We observe rapid development of processing, bringing back the republic to feudal system. Do you remember the trials in Osh when the lawyers were threatened and even attacked?
- Would you participate in such trial as a witness?
- Of course not. I do not want to be involved in this shame. I have many questions to these lawyers and human rights activists. Where were they when Gennady Pavlyuk was killed? Where were they when Bakiev’s gangsters assaulted me and when three years ago they broke my head for scandalous "Coup of March 24, 2005 in Kyrgyzstan" book? All these trials are odious…
Speaking of soldiers of fortune, "involved" in the June riots. Kubatbek Baibolov, the commandant of Jalal-Abad and first deputy head of State Committee for National Security, was saying: "These are specially trained people, the citizens of Tajikistan. Their clients are the teammates of Bakiev". Please, find them. Unfortunately, it looks like there is neither will nor power…
- It is not a secret that south of Kyrgyzstan is not controlled by the Bishkek government. Do you think instability in Osh and Jalal-Abad oblasts may threaten the region?
- We have a precedent – Kosovo. Considering multiethnic content of population and the fact that the governments of all five Central Asian states chose ethnocratic state building model, this may turn out to be the catastrophe. There are great Uzbek communities in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
It is too early to talk about the split of Kyrgyzstan but, hypothetically, such scenario is possible. One of the first consequences is accelerated migration of Kyrgyz people from south to north. Therefore, the share of ethnic Uzbeks in the south is increasing…
Another version is that northern elites do not understand the importance of regional balance. I do not sympathize these nationalists but the Ata-Jurt party confidently won the elections and they represent some sort of balance.
- How does the process of parliamentary system work here?
- The major problem in the process of forming the government and sustainability of parliamentary model in Kyrgyzstan is extremely low level of political culture absence of responsible political elites. Very few responsible politicians drown in general mass. The discussion on distribution of positions is simple bargaining, related to the opportunity to control resources and finance. Until these things are present Kyrgyz experiment only discredits parliamentary system.
- One final question about Wikileaks – fashionable news maker. Who – Central Asian governments or American – can be damaged most because of such unsanctioned information leak?
- I believe that WikiLeaks information leak was sanctioned: it shows the scale and, if you will, the power of American diplomacy: for instance, when deputy Secretary of State instructs Tajik generals on what to do with Iranian and North Korean aircrafts…Some materials discredit the governments of the region. Some materials underline the clashes within American establishment…Let us see what the arrest of Mr. Assandge brings to us.
Interviewed by Daniil Kislov, Fergana News Agency