Crumbling community trust in Kyrgyzstan

30/06/2010 14:57
The referendum being held in Kyrgyzstan onair shox shoes a new constitution comes amid fears it could inflame ethnic tensions. The BBC's Rupert Wingfield Hayes has just left Kyrgyzstan and explains the background to the country's current difficulties. When southern Kyrgyzstan erupted in toNike Basketball Shoes violence two weeks ago the outside world was taken by surprise. But those watching more closely were Vibram Five Fingersmuch less surprised. It had, they say, been brewing for months. Others say it has been brewing for MBT Shoes20 years, ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Artificial divisions The countries that we nike shoestoday collectively call the Central Asian "Stans" were created by Soviet planners back in the 1920s. Continue reading the main story Country profile: Kyrgyzstan They were carved out of a vast swathe of discount Nike Shoesterritory known in the Russian empire as "Turkestan". Between 1924 and 1927 it was divided intowholesale nike shoes five republics: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Such divisions were artificial and deliberately ignored smaller ethnic groups likenike shoes on sale the Sarts, Kipchaks and Karakalpaks - to name a few. Right in the heart of this newly divided territory liesnike shoes for sale the broad expanse of the Ferghana Valley. It is not really a valley, more a largenike shoes outlet fertile basin, 300km (185 miles) long, by 70km (45 miles) wide. It is surrounded on three sides by high snow capped mountains: the Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan) to the north and east, and the Pamirs to the south. The Ferghana is lush, its climate warm, its fields of rice and potatoes well watered by the snow melt from the mountains above. After the Soviet carve-up, most of the Ferghana ended up in Uzbekistan. National identity But pockets of territory also ended up in Tajikistan in the south, and Kyrgyzstan in the east. Ethnic Uzbeks fled to the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border to escape the violence The cities of Jalalabad and Osh, with their large Uzbek populations, were left on the Kyrgyz side of the border. None of this was much of a problem as long as they all remained inside the Soviet Union. But the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991 led to a rapid reassertion, some might say re-invention, of national identity. Uzbekistan built its new national myth around the figure of Tamerlane, better known as "Timur the Great". Born in 1336, Timur conquered much of central and west Asia, and built an empire that stretched from the Indus River to the Black Sea coast. Moot point Kyrgyzstan's national myth is built around a much less well know figure: Manas. He is the hero of an epic poem, claimed by some to be 1,000 years old and the longest ever written. The Kyrgyz military has been accused of being directly involved in the killings Whether Manas actually ever existed is a rather moot point. Caught between these two newly assertive nation states are the peoples of the border lands. MBT Womens Sport1 MBT Sport 2 MBT Mens Sport2 MBT Womens Sport2 MBT Safiri