Former Minister of Kyrgyzstan: “People don’t want to return to the Soviet Union. I was a member of the Komsomol, and not want anything back”

Former Minister of Kyrgyzstan, head of the regional management Asia-Czech chamber of Commerce and industry in Central Asia Erlan Saparbayev assured that his country is safe for tourists in Czech, although the Czech Ministry of foreign Affairs says the opposite. In an interview Parlamentní Listy Saparbayev said that the Kyrgyz remained bad and good memories of those days when they were part of the Soviet Union, however, return to the past they no longer want. “I was born in the Soviet Union, was a pioneer, a Komsomol member, but all forces will work to ensure that the Soviet Union never returned. Young people especially do not want this. And exactly the same sentiment in other States — Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,” said a former member of the Kyrgyz government, which came on a working visit to the Czech Republic.

— Parlamentní Listy: In Kyrgyzstan, the majority of the population professes Islam, but — in contrast to a number of Islamic countries your government is democratic. Do you have a problem with Islamic fundamentalists or terrorists?

— Erlan Saparbayev: our Constitution stipulates that we are a secular state. As for extremism, then we are no different from the rest of the world. Fundamentalism and terrorism on the same level as everywhere else. Our citizens are Sunni, and it is tolerant for.

— How do you assess what is happening today in the Islamic world? The struggle between Sunni and Shia in some Islamic States; the emergence of “Islamic state” (banned in Russia — approx. ed.), radical Islamists who commit terrorist acts around the world — with all that we are increasingly confronted in Europe. Most recently, the attack occurred in Manchester, where dozens of people were killed.

We are convinced that the “Islamic state” has nothing to do with Islam. Together with the Kazakhs, we consider ISIL a terrorist organization.

— Does the fact that in Kyrgyzstan the majority of the population Muslims, some negative impact on political and trade relations with other countries?

— Kyrgyzstan became the Shanghai cooperation organization, whose members are the Russian Federation, China, Mongolia, India, Kazakhstan and other countries. We also join the Eurasian economic Union involving Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia. We were one of the first former Soviet republics, which joined the world trade organization. And what we joined the WTO quite soon after the formation of an independent state, has positively impacted on the development of our country. Within those and other organizations, for example, the Commonwealth of Independent States, in which we also included Kyrgyzstan and builds relations with other countries. Compared to neighboring States, Kyrgyzstan is very progressive in regard to liberal trade relations. We first privatized land. In this area we have advanced the furthest in Central Asia. The privatization was carried out in other areas, but not all succeeded.

What privatization has not been successful? After it, the enterprise was not viable?

— We have lost the manufacturing that we had. In the Soviet Union was an agrarian-industrial Republic. After privatization, we have lost industry, and only now she starts to revive.

— What are your memories of the citizens of Kyrgyzstan left the Soviet Union, of which Kyrgyzstan was? Better for them to live today in a free and independent country, or are they nostalgically remember the past?

— We will celebrate 25 years of independence, but the tradition of statehood in the us has two millennia. Kyrgyzstan is rich in history and culture. The UN General Assembly even adopted a special resolution on the occasion of the two-Kyrgyz state. About 70 years we were part of the Soviet Union, and this was associated both advantages and disadvantages.

The great October revolution stopped the terror against the Kyrgyz population, which tsarist Russia began in 1916, and helped save the people of Kyrgyzstan. Because of hunger, cold and destruction of Kyrgyz, tsarist troops then killed 45% of the population. Therefore, the anniversary of the great October socialist revolution for us is still a holiday, and we remember the Soviets and Lenin.

In 70 years when we were part of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan became an industrial country. In this regard, I must emphasize Czechoslovak aid in the industrialization of Kyrgyzstan, provided through organization Interhelpo. First aid from Czechoslovakia already received 24 April 1924, and then came the specialists from Czechoslovakia to help to industrialize our country. Other positive aspects of the past 70 years is a free medicine and the almost complete absence of unemployment.

— The salvation of the people — a compelling argument to good to remember the Great October socialist revolution and the Soviet Union. What were the disadvantages of the Soviet era, which you mentioned?

— Negative point was the Stalinist repressions. At that time, we have lost the political, cultural and scientific elite. Suppressed by our national colors. Near Bishkek (capital of Kyrgyzstan — approx.Parlamentní Listy) is a monument in honor of our fallen ancestors. In times of repression in the place they were shot and buried in a mass grave. Their remains were identified through DNA only after the country gained its independence. There was buried father of the famous writer Akhmatova (as in the original article. We can assume that we are talking about the writer Chingiz Aitmatov — approx.ed.).

Another dark page in the history of the suppression of national identity: we tried to cram in Soviet templates, and to create a unified Soviet people. We even own the story studied according to the instructions received from Moscow. We do not say that we are an ancient nation with its own history. The Kyrgyz language was replaced by Russian, and a leading position impossible to hold without Russian language skills. Here is a brief negative aspects of the Soviet Union.

— Do you have problems with the Russian minority, like in the Ukraine?

— No. We are a tolerant people, and no friction with the Russian minority does not arise. The state watches over their interests. In Kyrgyzstan, Russian is freely live, work, have their own Orthodox churches. The official status of the Russian language is enshrined in our Constitution. The Kyrgyz language is the state, and Russian is the official language.

— Russian President Vladimir Putin considers the Soviet Union a better era in the history of Russia and makes it clear that the former Soviet republics and satellites, such as Eastern European countries enter the sphere of Russian interests. Aren’t you afraid of Russian expansion?

— You need to start with the real facts: the Soviet Union collapsed, and, most likely, its revival will not happen. In independent States, a new generation. Young people speak in many languages, versed in information technology and travels around the world. Occur some integration processes, but they are typical around the world. States unite in the globalization process and continue to work together.

However, this does not mean that the Soviet Union will return. I was born in the Soviet Union, was a pioneer, a Komsomol member, but all forces will work to ensure that the Soviet Union never returned. Young people especially do not want this. And exactly the same sentiment in other States — Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.