Among the Kyrgyz there is a saying that "a close neighbor is better than a distant relative." But the neighbors, as well as their homeland or parents do not choose. It has already happened that the Kyrgyz neighbors are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. Kyrgyzstan, unfortunately, in the last period only loses from such a neighborhood. Figuratively speaking, Kyrgyzstan lives between three elephants, it is Kazakhstan from the north, China from the east, and Uzbekistan from the west. Tajikistan does not count, because Kyrgyzstan is somewhat similar to it.
Kazakhstan. The rich northern neighbor, once a former relative. Everything here is reminiscent of a situation where one of your loved ones suddenly became “rich”, and therefore stopped communicating with you and began to be treated with disdain. Kazakhstan among the citizens of Kyrgyzstan is clearly associated with arrogance and disdain. It is enough to listen to the opinions of the people of Kazakhstan about Bishkek in order to understand the full extent of the negative attitude. It is worth to talk separately about Issyk-Kul - a good half of the residents of the southern capital of Kazakhstan consider it almost their own lake. Over the past ten years, few people from Kyrgyzstan can afford to rest on the shores of a mountain lake because of the high cost of living, because of the influx of citizens of Kazakhstan there. Today, in the southern regions of Kazakhstan, the word "Kyrgyz" is equivalent to the word "slave." Labor migrants who work for pennies on tobacco plantations in Kazakhstan suffer from intolerable working conditions and humiliation on the part of the “owners”. Today, this huge army of labor migrants are the main distributors of anti-Kazakh attitudes in society. Local media are full of investigative journalism about the real life of these new “slaves”. Almaty cannot live for an hour if one day all these people just leave the city. They clean the streets, they build, they cook their food. The word “slave” as a synonym for the word “Kyrgyz” is very painfully perceived in Kyrgyzstan because of the really existing kinship relations between the two peoples. Is so called even the worst relative? It comes to the fact that those who moved to live or work in Kazakhstan hide their origins, because the reaction of others is more often negative than positive. In Kazakhstan, they often wonder if they see intelligent, educated, active people from Kyrgyzstan. At the same time, they do not hide such a “tenderness”, sincerely believing that “we should thank them for entering the so-called high society”.
The stand alone coverage of the events of March 24 in Kyrgyzstan by Kazakh media, ranging from the tabloid press to the so-called serious publications. An analysis of the situation in Kyrgyzstan did not differ in accuracy, correctness and a true in-depth analysis of everything that is happening. Today, in Kazakhstan there is more kitschy arrogance. But Kazakhstan is not Almaty and Atyrau, and Almaty from Atyrau is not all of Kazakhstan. It is enough to take a ride at least once on the Bishkek-Almaty road to see the real Kazakhstan. Or go to Kyzyl-Orda.
Uzbekistan. It all depends on where you live. In the north of the country, few people are intimately acquainted with Uzbekistan. Another thing is the southern regions, which every day are in contact with the Uzbek reality. Some residents of southern Kyrgyzstan sincerely believe that Uzbekistan is paradise, the other half strongly disagree with this statement. Being the closest neighbors, we know little about each other. Therefore, we are full of stereotypes and myths. In Kyrgyzstan, we are sure that there is no crime in Uzbekistan, that the pension is paid on time and a lot, and that there are still state stores there. For Kyrgyz citizens who wake up and fall asleep with the voice of a radio room in numerous wholesale markets, this seems incredible.
If, with the Kazakh media, the situation is a bit different, then in the Uzbek media of such a state as Kyrgyzstan simply does not exist. For Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are not neighboring countries, but solid problem relatives. About them even mention a lot of honor. It is indicative that it is Kyrgyzstan that is blamed for all its internal affairs in Tashkent.
In Kyrgyzstan, we are sure that Uzbekistan does not produce anything other than cotton and silk until they have seen these ubiquitous small cars “TICO” and “rolls” of “DAMAS”. In addition, in Kyrgyzstan they are just sure that in Uzbekistan it is impossible even to tell jokes about the president or to think badly about him. On the Uzbek TV channels continuous concerts and South Korean television series in non-stop. It seems that their corporation «DAEWOO» puts the Uzbek people under pressure. Kyrgyzstanis have endless round tables "in the name of saving the Fatherland," while Uzbeks have a continuous carnival.
Tajikistan. It would seem that two people of different origins. But, for some reason, it is with the Tajiks that the Kyrgyz more often find a common language than with other neighbors. Almost the entire territory of both countries is in the mountains. Both countries have large reserves of water. More successful and ambitious neighbors put pressure on both countries. Surprisingly, but a fact - between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, despite some existing problems, there is only one checkpoint at the entire state border. Although previously there were plenty of them.
Tajiks, like the Kyrgyz, are bilingual, that is, they speak both Russian and Tajik equally well. But, with all this, there are negative sides. In Kyrgyzstan, they are simply confident that almost all citizens of Tajikistan are drug couriers. We are in captivity of the stereotypical "Tajik portrait" imposed on us by Russian TV channels. It is interesting that, despite such an imposed portrait in Kyrgyzstan, there is a generally good attitude towards Tajiks and Tajikistan. Usually, in such cases, the Tajik wife of Manas Kanykei, the daughter of the Bukhara Khan, is always remembered. The image of Kanykey is highly esteemed in Kyrgyzstan.
Unfortunately, we know little about today's life in Tajikistan. Because of this, many Kyrgyzstanis are just sure that there is still war there. And that Tajikistan is no different from Afghanistan.
Turkmenistan. There are generally no clear stereotypes or myths, because we know little about them. The only source of information is satellite dishes, where you see the great Serdar drowning in flowers and gold. Turkmenistan seems like a paradise for Kyrgyzstanis because there are no electricity or gas outages, there are no mudflows, they do not know what religious extremism is. There are no problems. When they say how much a service costs there or a product it’s hard to believe that this is true. The most interesting thing is that all these original initiatives of the great Serdar are “a prank”, a “whim” that can be forgiven if you live well.