The detention of three opposition politicians for attempting to storm Kyrgyzstan’s parliament sparked rallies October 4 in Bishkek and in southern Kyrgyzstan. While the immediate fallout has not been as intense as feared, observers still worry the arrests could trigger instability.
The physical damage done to Osh, the city in southern Kyrgyzstan that was engulfed in interethnic violence almost two years ago, is steadily being repaired. The psychological scars, on the other hand, may take generations to heal.
For many in Osh, the anniversary of last year's ethnic violence offers a painful reminder of the severe strains weighing on society. But for Gulmira, an Uzbek, and her husband Saparbek, an ethnic Kyrgyz, the anniversary created an opportunity to promote reconciliation. The couple planned to gather, for the first time since the outbreak of violence, their suspicious Kyrgyz and Uzbek relatives.
One year after ethnic violence rocked southern Kyrgyzstan, leaving over 400 dead, gunshot wounds have been established as the main cause of death. Activists believe the country is still awash with firearms, and security experts say weapons are likely to keep featuring in domestic political struggles, especially as officials seek support from gun-toting associates or even arm themselves.
A year since ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan left over 400 Kyrgyz and Uzbeks dead, the region, on the surface, seems to have returned to normal. But the two communities are struggling to restore mutual trust, with hopes for reconciliation bogged down in blame.
A long-awaited report on last summer’s interethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan has concluded that Uzbeks have been disproportionately hard hit by the violence, some acts of which -- including systemic rape and murder -- fit the legal definition of crimes against humanity, though not genocide.
Land scarcity in the Ferghana Valley is a growing cause for concern in Kyrgyzstan. The slow governmental response to the long-standing problem means the issue could create a spark that reignites inter-ethnic conflict.
This week, across Kyrgyzstan, people stopped to remember the bloodshed that led to the collapse of Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration a year ago. Rallies, sporting events and concerts reminded everyone of the difficult year that has passed. But lawmakers were unable to resist politicizing the memorial.