A group of nationalist activists has announced it is forming a paramilitary militia to defend Kyrgyzstan from foreign threats – and foreign flags.
Known as “El Namysy” (The People’s Dignity), the group “will be a nationwide association, a paramilitary, whose members will be ready to mobilize and be sent to any part of the republic,” prominent anti-gay activist Jenishbek Moldokmatov said while introducing the founders at a March 18 press conference in Bishkek.
El Namysy leader Adilet Daiyrov told journalists at the press conference that members are all “sportsmen” – a loaded term in a country where groups of physically fit men in tracksuits always seem to appear at times of trouble.
El Namysy co-chair Ruslan Niyazakunov, a champion in ultimate fighting, told Kloop.kg the group would begin with community outreach, though his methods sound vaguely threatening.
“We will conduct preventive work, promote our ideology and explain what is good and what is bad. I want to stress that if there are people who do not support or understand us, we will work with them,” Niyazakunov said. He said he was particularly bothered seeing “flags of Russia, Europe, the United States or other countries.”
Niyazakunov added that he considers NGOs a “foreign threat.” He said members of his group would not carry firearms, but repeatedly used the term “paramilitary” (полувоенный in Russian) to describe how they would organize.
Moldokmatov, who heads a nationalist youth group called Kalys, added that El Namysy would react to events and rallies that he determines are being held on behalf of a foreign power.
Foreign flags are a recurring irritation, members say.
“For example, in Bishkek, there are some protests being held in support of Ukraine, or rallies where participants raise the flags of Russia and the Russian Empire. There is a tendency where some rallies in Kyrgyzstan are held under the flags of other countries. So, these guys [El Namysy] can stand and demand this stop,” Moldokmatov told the press conference.
He also mentioned fighting Islamists.
Moldokmatov has gained prominence over the past year by organizing anti-gay rallies and stopping a Ukrainian boy band from performing in Bishkek. He has also agitated for a draft law that would force organizations receiving foreign funding to identify themselves as “foreign agents.”
He is a curious figure, often accused of working for Russian money because his political goals have jived so closely with the Kremlin’s. He has denied this.
Moldokmatov’s relationship with El Namysy is not exactly clear, though he told journalists he is helping the group get registered with the Justice Ministry.
Another vigilante group, Kyrk Choro, stirred controversy this winter by raiding nightclubs in Bishkek and publicly shaming the women they found. Kyrk Choro members said they were protecting Kyrgyzstan’s honor and working with the support of local law enforcement agencies. Kyrk Choro leader Zamirbek Kochorbaev was detained by police on March 10 and charged with disorderly conduct.
El Namysy leader Daiyrov said the new group would work with law-enforcement agencies, with whom he expects to sign cooperation agreements.