In Kyrgyzstan, the first steps to change the country's constitution were marked by scandal. The working group on the drafting of the Basic Document, led by politician Azimbek Beknazarov, presented all three versions of this document in the promised time, but only in the state language, which is Kyrgyz. With the transfer to the official officials obviously did not hurry. Only under pressure from a part of the political bureau, the civil sector and international organizations did the versions appear in Russian.
Publication of projects in the mass media of the republic caused a shock to a significant part of the population - in all variants, the Russian language loses its official status and is relegated to the language of international communication. The project reformers did not stop at this, imposing the duty of senior officials to publicly speak only in the state language. Politicians and officials must demonstrate knowledge of their native language during official foreign visits. “Surprise”, which determines the place of the Russian language in Kyrgyzstan, became the subject of a sharp controversy, which included representatives of all sectors of society.
“The absence of an official language in the new versions of the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan is a serious and gross mistake of the developers of the Basic Law,” said Toktaiym Umetalieva, chairman of the Republican Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, “70% of Kyrgyz speak Russian fluently, and 40% of young people communicate exclusively with them. With its short-sightedness, the working group substitutes the president of Kyrgyzstan and does not expose the country in the best light in the eyes of a large neighbor and the world community.
A well-known political scientist in the country, Doctor of Historical Sciences Zainidin Kurmanov put it more succinctly: “The mindless guards of the Kyrgyz language are engaged in sabotage”.
Since the republic gained its independence, debates around the place and role of the Russian language in Kyrgyz society have arisen periodically. The law on the state language, adopted in 1989 in defense of Kyrgyz, allowed ousting Russian-speaking specialists from the governing bodies. This turned into a massive outflow of Russian and Russian-speaking specialists from the country, which did not have the best effect on the state of the economy. Trying to restrain migration, the authorities agreed to give Russian the status of an official language, which was enshrined in 2000 in a special law. A year later, the relevant changes were made to the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan.
Attempts to abolish bilingualism were made under ex-president Askar Akayev. A graduate of one of the Leningrad universities, who had worked in Russia for 14 years, showed firmness in protecting the language that became his second family. The aggressive attack on the official language began after the so-called March revolution of 2005, as a result of which Akayev’s opposition came to power. For the first time, the requirement to exclude from the Constitution a provision on the state status of the Russian language was voiced by the representatives of a new social unit, the Headquarters for the protection of the state language, created by uniting a number of non-governmental and political organizations of the republic.
- With the adoption of the official status of the Russian language, the Kyrgyz language was further pushed to the back. Russian has become the dominant language in all official events, members of this headquarters said.
In response, the Russian Unity Council for Compatriots (ROSS) made an open statement to President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, in which the initiative of the Headquarters to protect the state language was called a provocation and a request was made not to divide the country into "Kyrgyz" and "non-Kyrgyz".
The president has yet to express his opinion on the fate of the Russian language in the state he heads. Although he voiced his position long before the appearance of a new version of the Constitution of the Republic. In November last year, all the media in the republic quoted him saying that the official status of the Russian language should be preserved in the new document of the Basic Law.
“Those who raise the issue of excluding the official language from the Constitution in the republic do not quite understand the situation,” emphasized Kurmanbek Bakiyev.
It seems that the authors of the new versions of the Constitution did not hear or did not want to hear the president. They also ignored the fact that not all residents of a polyethnic state, what Kyrgyzstan calls itself, are free to read in the state and official languages. The second largest ethnic group in the republic - the Uzbek population, numbering about one million people - today is left behind discussing the law by which they will live.
“In Soviet and post-Soviet times, Uzbeks were offered materials of future Constitutions in their native language,” states Adylzhan Abidov, an analyst at the Center for Civil Initiatives public foundation, “this time they excluded us from discussing this document, thereby demonstrating an attitude to us as an ethnos.
“We applied several times to the local authorities, to the regional state administration, with a request to assist in translating the draft of the new Constitution, but in response we hear only promises,” says Muhammadsaly Ismailov, editor-in-chief of the Osh regional Uzbek-language newspaper Osh Sadosi. this document deprives not only the Uzbeks, but also the Uigurs, the Turks, the Meskhetian Turks who write and speak the Uzbek language living in the south of the republic.
“You feel a sense of infringement and discomfort while familiarizing yourself with other provisions of the projects,” said Alisher Mamazhanov, president of the Sarbon Young Politicians Club. In particular, paragraph 5 of Article 15 determines that Kyrgyz, regardless of the citizenship of another state, remain citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic. Republic. This provision does not apply to representatives of the remaining 79 nationalities and ethnic groups living on Kyrgyz land. There is a clear violation of the laws adopted earlier by the state, which establish the equality of citizens regardless of their origin and nationality.
Since the declaration of independence, the republic has proclaimed the construction of a democratic state based on the principles of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. The country has acceded to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and has ratified the Convention on the Enforcement of Rights to Persons Belonging to National Minorities. The legal status of national minorities is governed by the Constitution of the country, the Civil Code.
It would seem that everything was done for the successful integration of representatives of a non-titular nation into the society. Real life demonstrates that there are hidden aspects to this task.
- The problem of the representation of national minorities in government bodies is not being resolved. At the level of local governments, they are still somehow represented, but ethnic diversity leaves much to be desired in the executive and judicial authorities, analyst Yerzhan Omarov summarizes. - Representatives of other nations and nationalities deliberately restrict access to public, themselves produced resources. In general, the modern national policy of the country, despite the declared democratic values, is aimed at its actual transformation into a mono-ethnic state. Due to this, Kyrgyzstan has long become a typical ethnocratic state, which only formally declares the right of its citizens to ethnic development and diversity, which is why representatives of other nations feel less and less comfortable here.
The clashes of ethnic Kyrgyz soil and Dungan, residents of the village of Iskra, Chui oblast, which occurred in February of this year and received a wide response, both in the country and abroad, showed that the tension of tension in the society is high. It turned out that representatives of government and government were poorly prepared for such conflicts and often unable to control the situation, especially in the event of a crisis. The question began to be raised that a policy of reacting to events that have already happened cannot be an effective management tool, and the absence of a clear strategic vector in the republic’s ethnic policy may jeopardize all existing gains.
This thought was the main one at the Consultative Meeting “Ethnic Policy of Kyrgyzstan - from Situational Response to Strategic Development,” held in Bishkek after the sad events in Chui oblast. For the first time in recent years, government officials and representatives of the civil sector tried to jointly analyze the difficult ethnic relations in the country and develop a clear and understandable state policy in the ethnic sphere. A resolution was adopted in which it was noted that in order to immediately improve the situation in the field of inter-ethnic relations in the republic, a number of issues need to be urgently addressed. First of all, to implement the personnel policy of the state, based on the principle of professionalism and competence of specialists, and not on geographic, ethnic and tribal affiliation, as well as to consolidate the principle of bilingualism in the practice of government agencies and the media.
The “language” scandal caused by the publication of the draft future Constitution, the statement of the National Commission on State Language on translating office work into Kyrgyz from January 1 of next year, confirms that the work on creating conditions for the positive development of the ethnic sphere in the country has not yet begun. The level of inter-ethnic tensions remains high.
By the way, a couple of years ago I read in Komsomolskaya Pravda something like "And in Kyrgyzstan, even the font on computers is translated into the Kyrgyz language"! But what if the Kyrgyz have no such right? Yes, and the article says that you need not to offend the "big neighbor." If the neighbor has complexes, about the states, it’s probably not our problem, that they need to defend their interests here. And the noise raised by our activists is like a balm for the soul. In general, it was necessary to point out - "The Kyrgyz language is the state language!"