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Ethnic marriages
In the south of Kyrgyzstan inter-ethnic marriages are becoming rare
Svetlana Gafarova
More than four decades ago, a scandal erupted in one of the Kyrgyz families of the village of Gulcha, Alai district, Osh region. The grandson of the respected by all the old Aishakan brought a Russian wife from distant Russia. At home, the demobilized soldier was waiting for the bride, looked after by her relatives in another village, and preparations for the wedding were already underway. Adylzhan Teshebayev did not hurt his Valentine, the day after his arrival they went to look for a place to build a future home.

The Teshebayev family became the pride of the village, for 48 years of living together demonstrated agreement and mutual respect. Today there is no Adylzhan who passed away several years ago. But the memory of him is still alive. His name was called a community organization. Nature endowed the same qualities with his companion Valentina Kirillovna. Daughters Tamara, Tatiana and Galina are famous teachers in the area, sons Alex and Alexander are employees of the Irkeshtam frontier post.

“In the first years of life, spouses of different nationalities have to overcome additional difficulties: different views on life, relationships between generations, the spouses themselves are acutely manifested. “Parents of newlyweds and relatives who interfere in family life make their contribution,” says Zharkynai Galiyeva, head of the registry office in Osh.

This is one of the conclusions of Galiyeva’s diploma work, which considers the status of mixed marriages in the south of the republic. The study of this topic in our region is still the first swallow in the years of independence of the republic. In the 60-80s, the study of inter-ethnic "marriage" was one of the most popular areas in the framework of state ideology. Today this issue is not addressed: publications are extremely rare, counting is not conducted in regional and city registry offices, there is no information in the statistical committee.

The collapse of the Union, interethnic conflicts, increased interest in religion sharply reduced the increase in the share of interethnic families in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan. This was confirmed by the first national population census, which took place in the republic in 1999. On 11 national families there were 3 international in the whole republic, and one in the southern regions. If in 1985 the number of mixed marriages was 14% of the total, in 1995 it was 9% and 6% in 2001. In the Osh region, a significant role was played by the events of 1990, which caused a surge in population migration and sharply reduced the number of marriages between representatives of Kyrgyz and Slavic, as well as Uzbek and Slavic nationalities. In 1985, 22 unions were registered, in 1995 - 11 and in 2004 - only 3.

“Among the factors hindering the growth of inter-ethnic marriages, I would also call the increased interest in religion, and first of all, the deepening of a sense of national identity, or, as they say, the factor of ethnicity,” Zharkynay Galiyeva said. “Now, when colossal changes have taken place in many areas of our society’s life, economic, social, and national problems have become aggravated. People strive to unite within their ethnos and prefer the choice of a marriage partner of their nationality or a close one by faith. ”

However, even in Soviet times in the republics of Central Asia, families were more often created by representatives of peoples who are close in faith, culture, customs, and living conditions. The most common and still remains marriages between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. Of the almost 40 mixed couples that appeared in Osh, more than half are Kyrgyz-Uzbek.

The “splash” of the marriage unions of Russians with the indigenous peoples of the region falls on the forties and sixties. The war caused a significant "shift" of the population to the East. And in the postwar years, large-scale construction in the republics, the development of virgin lands led to the movement of hundreds of thousands of people, often settled in a new place. There was a convergence of social structures, lifestyles of different nations, the formation of elements of a common culture. But even in those years, the opinions of the elders — parents, other relatives, neighbors — had a significant influence on the decision of the representative of the Muslim environment. Parental blessing has been and remains the most important condition for marriage.

If we talk about men and women of different nationalities, then most often representatives of the stronger half enter into mixed marriages. It's not even that they enjoy more freedom than women of the East. Whether we like it or not, but in most cases a man from a family with Muslim traditions must have a certain amount to pay for the kalym. Marrying a girl of a different nationality eliminates this need.

Labor migration in recent years has given rise to a new trend: the emergence of mixed marriages on the side. Making money in the Russian open spaces and in neighboring Kazakhstan, men of the Kyrgyz and Uzbek nationalities create new families with representatives of other nationalities, as a rule, Russian women. And when information leaks out about the presence of other elects, wives from “old” families prefer to close their eyes to this fact. They are satisfied that, firstly, the heads of families continue to provide good material support and, secondly, the rivals are too far from their home.

In the course of the research of Zharkynai Galiyeva, it was revealed that children from mixed families feel worse when aggravating inter-ethnic relations. “If in a calm situation such people do not really think about their national identity and even, as it were, tend to“ reconcile ”the cultural differences between the ethnic groups from which they come, emphasizing their similarities rather than differences, then they experience obvious discomfort - says vis-a-vis. - Often a person is psychologically broken and in this case changes his place of residence, social environment. But stronger individuals try to identify with one or another ethnic group, they can advance in service or in the public arena. Probably it is not by chance that among the leaders of national movements there are many descendants from mixed marriages.

A special opinion on this subject and Valentina Kirillovna Teshebaeva. “People themselves will understand perfectly whom to marry. The important thing is not to interfere, not to impede the choice of a life partner of another nationality. Perhaps this is the only happiness that fate brings. ” By the way, Teshebayev children also have international marriages.
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28.10.2005, Osh-Bishkek
I think the most important criterion for choosing a life partner is love. Here I am, for example, Kyrgyz, but they want to take a Tadzhik wife.
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