Another week has passed and so it is time for another scandal sparked by social media in Kyrgyzstan.
The stars this time around were two young women filmed as they ate seeds while sitting in a park in the capital, Bishkek. As they munched on the seeds, a pile of discarded shells grew at their feet.
Indignant over the behavior of the litterbugs, a man filming the scene confronted the women.
“Do you think it’s normal to sit in the park and shuck seeds and litter,” asked the man filming the video, which was uploaded on January 8 to Facebook user Teimur Samedov’s page.
“That’s what the park is for, to litter and shuck seeds,” was the insouciant reply from one of the women, who has been named as 19-year old shop assistant Akshoola Bolotova.
Pressed for further justification, Bolotova was unrepentant and made remarks that have scandalised the online community.
“The state pays the street sweepers — let them clear up,” she said.
The footage of the exchange, which is all in Kyrgyz, had been viewed a staggering 107,000 times by the evening of January 11.
The clip has emerged amid a consistently popular fad in Kyrgyzstan for using video footage as a form of public shaming.
The method has been put to less dubious use in exposing the actions of the country’s notoriously venal traffic police.
In a recent high-profile case, traffic cops were hauled into court after they were secretly filmed trying to pump a driver for a large bribe. In that instance, which took place on June 30, the police ended up confiscating the victim’s license plates.
Two police officers and two civilian accessories to their sting were in December variously handed stiff fines and jail terms.
But this kind of video-shaming activism appears to have its risks.
On January 9, members of the SAFARI movement, which was the grass-roots initiative that spearheaded the traffic cop video, was attacked by a man in his thirties on a Bishkek street.
“We consider this to be a provocation. Possibly a provocation initiated by law enforcements officers,” Bolot Ibragimov, who heads SAFARI, told Zanoza.kg.