Kyrgyzstan pogroms organised by the capitalist state

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Since the fall of the Kyrgyzstan president Bakayev, exiled from the country following violent riots in the capital city Bishkek, the country has become even more unstable, culminating in a number of horrific pogroms, centred round the town of Osh, where the Uzbek minority was subjected to murder, rape, robbery and arson. 

What lay behind these pogroms?

The majority of the people carrying out the attacks were recruited from among the most lumpenised elements of a very poor population. But the operation was directed by a well-oiled machine, involving at least a part of the armed forces - many witnesses testified to the supportive presence of military vehicles and even uniformed soldiers during the massacre. The orders to carry out the slaughter clearly came from within the higher echelons of the state apparatus, which is the seat of warlords and Mafiosi-type bureaucrats. The ground had already been prepared by these sinister ‘officials', by a gangster ruling class which has long been preaching hatred between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. In this poisoned atmosphere, "some people began, in Osh for example, to mark out the homes of the sarts (a pejorative term for non-Kyrgyz)" (Courrier International no.1025). Then, on the basis of growing political tensions between the former opposition parties and the Bakayev clan, "the horrors committed by groups of provocateurs transformed these tensions into an inter-ethnic conflict" (Libération, 26 and 27 June 2010). The green light for this bloody offensive was given by masked men carrying out well-targeted attacks. The Uzbek homes previously marked out by zealous vigilantes were then burned down by hysterical crowds. It was due to the hatred that had been carefully fuelled by the bourgeois cliques that these crowds became uncontrollable, ready for any act, from simple pillage to rape and murder. One testimony brings to mind the worst moments of the conflict in the Balkans in the 1990s: "An Uzbek friend told me that a little girl of five had been raped in front of her father and 13 year old sister by a group of fifteen men. The father begged to be killed and he was. The sister went mad" (ibid).

Despite hastily erected barricades, the Uzbeks had little protection against this crazed mob and a soldiery drunk with vengeance. As the above testimony points out, the Uzbeks were often burned to death in their homes. Today, many Uzbeks who fled this nightmare have been forced to return because Uzbekistan is closing its borders to them. Only some women and children were able to get across the frontier, since the men were often suspected of being potential Islamist terrorists. These ‘lucky' ones are now rotting in refugee camps where there is a chronic lack of drinking water and food and cases of diarrhoea are on the increase. There can be no doubt that this chaotic situation will give rise to new murderous conflicts, to an accumulation of trauma and hatred. After this tragedy it will be very difficult for Kyrgyz and Uzbeks to live together.

Victims of imperialism

In Kyrgyzstan, as in most countries in this region of central Asia, the ruling class is torn by confrontations between different gangster clans, and has no hesitation in unleashing pogroms if it suits its sordid interests. There is evidence to suggest that, in this case, forces loyal to exiled president Bakayev were pulling the strings behind the pogromist thugs. But there are other forces acting behind the local cliques. The extreme tensions between rival bourgeois gangs are constantly being manipulated by the big imperialist powers squabbling for influence in this strategically important region.

Certainly the great powers have done little or nothing to help the victims of this ethnic cleansing. At least 400,000 people were forced to flee their homes but they are receiving precious little in aid. Worse still, the more powerful imperialisms are quietly preparing the way for future massacres: "the troubles in Kyrgyzstan are giving rise to a new phase in the chess game between Russia and the USA. Neither country has entered into action immediately but is waiting for the most opportune moment to mix in and score points. And China is not going to stand around with folded arms either".[1]

Since these powers don't hesitate to back one local clan against the other, we can say clearly that their activities in the region, their incessant search for spheres of influence, are a key factor in the barbaric events we have just witnessed, and will continue to witness as long as this decomposing social system is allowed to continue. 

WH 26/6/10



[1] See Courrier International 1025. It should be noted that both the US and Russia have military bases in Kyrgyzstan.

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