It so happened that we always knew what was going on behind the wall of our neighbors. Birthdays or commemorations were celebrated together, became related, cursed, poured water on each other once a year, always called the district police officer for fights, and then quietly trusted the keys. On the same staircase, we lived in the same panel apartments, as in “The Irony of Fate” we had the same furniture, dishes, books on the shelves and did not complain about anything.
But at some point the neighbors fled. Someone became rich and moved to an expensive mansion, the neighbors from the lower floor went bankrupt, lost their living space and became homeless, they still live in the apartment on the left and even try to renovate it, but on the right, the tenants seem to have closed in their little world and completely stop to greet.
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are five neighbors in a Central Asian home. And perhaps for the whole world we merge into one big and mysterious region, we have similar names for European or American ears, which do not cause bright associations, perhaps, except for “camp”. But inside, we perfectly know and distinguish each other. True, over the years of independence, all Central Asian countries have chosen their strategies for progress and their guiding lines. And if earlier common values were brought together and led forward, today everyone declares his principles of life, which more often do not find unanimous appreciation and support.
For 15 years, a new image of old neighbors has been formed in Kazakhstan. Political and economic changes behind the nearest knoll created other symbols and a different attitude. Something, of course, remains of the common Soviet past, but in the wake of revolutions, uprisings and civil wars, it is related with fraternal peoples, it draws less and less.
Below is an attempt to describe how to relate to neighboring countries in Kazakhstan. Description free.
The younger brother is a poor, but sweet, provincial. Hudosochen, but consoled himself of ancient origin. Trying to survive in a one-room apartment. Prone to introspection, internal contradictions. For some reason, he joined an elite club with large membership fees and obligations.
Neighboring Kyrgyzstan for an ordinary Kazakhstani is a familiar, finally, repaired Almaty-Bishkek highway, mountains without firs, cold Issyk-Kul, along with smoked chebak and dusty houses for rent, in fact, Bishkek itself, similar to Almaty residents for a sleeping area. For some time now, the associative series in Kyrgyzstan has become complicated - they suddenly added: another color revolution, alteration of spheres of influence, riots in prisons, commissioned deputies and a bewildered weak ex-president-intellectual (unlike, for example, from the “silovik Putin”). Regarding the new president of Kyrgyzstan, the Kazakhs have not yet developed stable associations, Felix Kulov is much better known here, thanks to active news-making in past years and the image of a strong dissident.
Any Almaty citizen, once in Bishkek, will certainly mark the different standard of living, income and foggy prospects of the fraternal people. The difference in prices, although it is decreasing, still creates a sense of superiority.
Even naive billboards and an abundance of kiosks in the city (in Almaty there are almost no kiosks left, especially in the center) form Kazakhstan’s attitude towards Kyrgyzstan as a province. Nevertheless, a significant proportion of the Russian-speaking population, the Cyrillic alphabet, the spirit of liberality and the similarity in the mentality make Kyrgyzstan the closest to the people of Kazakhstan.
The rest of the countries of the region are alienated in the minds of Kazakhstan to a more significant distance.
Eduard Poletayev, political scientist
Kazakhstan’s attitude towards its southern neighbor is rather arrogant. Perhaps this is the basic definition. I would not say that Kazakhstan is experiencing some kind of pity, wants to help, rather, it refers to Kyrgyzstan, as to the country of a loser, who will turn for help. Lack of natural resources, a small mountainous area, difficulty in conducting communications, low wages - everything suggests that this is just a poor relative. Despite the fact that from the high tribunes they say that Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are brothers of the century, in reality our peoples find themselves farther and farther. Issyk-Kul, as a resort, is already losing its appeal. Last season was practically broken not only because of the revolution, but also for one more reason. For the money for which the Kyrgyz offer their pensions to the Kazakhs (junior suite for $ 50- $ 100) you can relax in Turkey.
Second cousin - capricious, sometimes aggressive, especially when someone teaches him how to live. Painfully reacts to any intervention from the side, even when trying to help him. He tries to look proud and self-reliant, but he has to work more and more often with distant relatives. Physically strong, but in recent times obviously gives - malnutrition and nerves. Once he received a good education, but did not finish his studies, now he rejects any teaching, considering it also an encroachment on his freedom.
Pretty arrogant, also considers himself a descendant of ancient heroes, accepts far from all invitations for birthdays and anniversaries.
Shine Tashkent, the star of the East! During the union, the most developed and richest city in the region, rebuilt, after the devastating earthquake, and built the first metropolitan in Soviet Asia (and not only in the Soviet). The center of the Turkestan region, with the largest population, in the early 90s of the last century was the object of universal attention and interests. The first offices of international organizations were opened precisely in Tashkent, and the first Western investments went there.
But every year in Uzbekistan, political complexes are getting tighter and squeezing the amount of their freedom, and it becomes more difficult to work in this country, even for the indigenous people. This year, Kazakhstan received a powerful "blow" to the Uzbek labor force. Uzbek illegal immigrants became the “hit” of the 2005 construction season: “hiring Uzbeks for repair or construction” became almost an idiom. And now not dried apricots and cotton are associated with Uzbekistan, but peeling of walls, levkas and laying bricks.
Despite the fact that declaratively Uzbekistan is ready to accept any tourists who want to travel to a country where they feel themselves in the 80s, among the same people of Kazakhstan, much less.
In such guests, Kazakhstanis feel constrained and uncomfortable. After all, at every city intersection at the sight of a man in uniform, a formidable strength and military power of a neighbor is felt. And even people in civilian clothes are always suspicious, because many Kazakhstanis have suffered from the so-called “bases”, especially during currency exchange.
In Kazakhstan, border conflicts are also fresh in the memory, when shepherds and other civilians, who wandered to where they had recently walked as usual and safely, literally immediately fell on the sight of an Uzbek border guard.
To a large extent, the image of the southern neighbor is mixed with rumors about the next strange decisions of the local authorities - they will ban billiards, or close the bazaars.
And of course, the bloody events in Andijan played a huge role in what is called the “image of Uzbekistan”. And it is unlikely that the attitude in Kazakhstan to those events is very different from how they were treated in other countries. But the tough stance of the authorities in Uzbekistan is quite expected for Kazakhstanis who feel permanent latent tension and an aggressive attitude from the south.
Relative of his wife. In the recent past - violent and warlike. Now, after his release, quite meek and unpretentious. He earns what he can, but because of the past he cannot get a good stable place. Once I got involved with crime, now I can’t completely break with old connections, but in recent years I have been trying to live honestly. Very well born, but already realized that this is not going far away. Always ready to contact with relatives.
Contacts with Tajikistan have practically ceased due to the civil war that has been going on for several years. The lack of common borders with communications with Kazakhstan seemed to isolate the countries from each other. The image of Tajikistan was badly spoiled by the refugees, in fact, not the indigenous Tajiks, but the local Roma. For Kazakhstan, Tajikistan is a mountainous country, the Pamir comes to mind - the “roof of the world”, the border with Afghanistan and drug trafficking. And, in fact, due to the lack of common points of contact with Tajiks in Kazakhstan, they are regarded as good neighbors, only living on different streets.
Marzhan Elshibaeva, producer of the Open Asia-TV program of Internews-Kazakhstan
I just recently returned from Tajikistan, and when I flew from Dushanbe to Khujand, I was asked on the plane - is Kazakhstan where the revolution was? The Tajiks themselves, too, know very little about our country. This justifies the fact that Tajikistan and its citizens are more focused on Moscow. Tajik migrant workers, this is the phenomenon of modern Russia. Unfortunately, in Tajikistan after the war a whole, almost illiterate generation has grown. Ignorance of the Russian language only alienates us from each other. In Soviet times, we were united, not only ideological shared values. The fact that we are a single whole is evidenced by the commonality of cultures and traditions - respect for elders, indifferent attitude to alcohol, modesty of women.
I would not say that between us there is a great love or a great hatred. This is just a good and smooth relationship.
The nephew of the second cousin. Considers himself the ultimate link in the evolution of the human race. For this reason, calm and very pleased with himself. Especially when separated from their parents, and even more - after receiving a good inheritance. The Recluse - does not like guests or being a guest. They say that at home he gets up the devils that: he imagined himself as a padishah, walks in the crown, decorates the wallpaper with his photos, contours and even makes him make a bust of plasticine. And if he sees in the eyes of the family even a little doubt, he cruelly punishes.
Turkmenistan is not only for Kazakhstan, but also for the entire region - the country is a snail. The golden curtain erected by President Saparmurad Niyazov clearly filters information, trade and human flows. Today, Turkmenistan positions itself as a self-sufficient country that does not need friendship with its neighbors. A vivid example is the situation in Aktau. When the city lacks fresh fruit and vegetables, supplies from the border regions of Turkmenistan are completely frozen. Necessary products are delivered to Aktau by ferries from Baku. This is a very important indicator that the authorities of Turkmenistan are not interested in border trade.
This is the only state in Central Asia where a visa is required. And while a potential tourist collects documents, an entire file is compiled for him. It is practically impossible for an ordinary Kazakhstani to get on a tourist visa to Ashgabat. Therefore, Turkmenistan is also the country most shrouded in myths and stereotypes in the region. The president is the second Stalin, widespread censorship, women without rights, and men too. Turkmenistan is the cleanest streets of Ashgabat, gold monuments and of course Saparmurat Niyazov himself. The main and only symbol of the country is Turkmenbashi. Odious, ambiguous figure, which controls the far from poor state. And let the Kazakhs have monuments and palaces mock, it's just exotic. For such gas reserves, the world community will forgive all the quirks and oddities.
Eduard Poletayev is a political scientist.
The Central Asian region, although it seems to be a kind of a single common cultural, economic and information space, is in fact a great convention. If earlier there was a common state, the absence of borders and visas, now everything is much more complicated. In the new conditions, people are disoriented. Confusion in our heads and we are farther from each other.
Today, the main vector of Kazakhstan is directed to the west. But on the southern borders of the country at any time, unrest can erupt. Therefore, the republic cannot do without the support of its closest neighbors.
"... respect for elders, indifferent attitude towards alcohol, modesty of women." ?! Uzbeks say: if you want to become Russian, become a Kazakh. Swearing at the mother through every word (hp), alcoholics, eating pork, “modest” girls, gnawing seeds on Sain - these are the associations that arise when Kazakhstan is mentioned. And yet, since the author decided to engage in papermaking, it would not hurt him to learn a school course in Russian. And then there is a "permanent latent tension" from the abundance of commas, arranged out of need and without.