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Reflection paper on Osh event of 1990

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The problem of interethnic communication owing to polyethnicity of a number of regions and all world community is actual today and there will be that until the mankind exists in national appearances. It can’t be finally solved in the foreseeable future as time, social and socio-political realities introduce all new and new amendments in statement of this problem, in its contents and in decision attempts by its methods adequate to a certain level of development of scientific knowledge.

Therefore various aspects of a problem of interethnic communication were and remain an object of research of ethnologists, sociologists, psychologists, historians, etc.

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Despite the general impression that the Soviet Union was a highly organized and tightly controlled society, it experienced several inter ethnic conflicts, of which the events known as “Osh 1990” was only one. There were, for example, four large scale violent conflicts which erupted in the Caucuses at about the same time.

This conflict was characterized by the cruel forms which it took: murder, rape, arson, and massacre.

Osh ethnic conflict of summer 1990 was one of the largescaled and violent on the territory of the former USSR, involving representatives of two Central Asian ethnic groups Uzbeks and Kyrghyz, belonging socalled titular nationalities of the former Soviet Union. The conflict took its place mainly in Osh and also in Uzgen, Jalal-Abad and Kara-Suu region. This conflict was categorized as a riot-type one.

Osh oblast is characterized by a multiethnic population: of 1,3 million ethnic Kyrghyz comprise 60%, Uzbeks number 26% and Russians estimate 6% with many smaller minority groups(Tadjiks, Tatars, Ukranians, Volga Germans, Uigurs, Turks, Azeris and others). Proceeding from the statistical data we can notice that not only Kyrgyz “played” the main and major roles in social and political lives. For example, Russians occupied leading positions in industry, Uzbeks were mainly engaged in agriculture, while Kyrgyz themselves were dominating in cattle breeding. That is, there was not any kind of ethnical pressure.

For the first sight it seems that everything was equally divided by each representative of each ethnical group. Nevertheless, the conflict did take its place. Under conditions of low living standards, socioeconomic crisis and political destabilization interethnic tension has emerged due to a number of causes, among which the most important were increasing intergroup competition over resources (land lots), struggle to gain control over power structures, social differentiation along the line “the city the village”, unemployment and lack of housing.

Some experts believe the incompetence of the oblast administration as well as the activities of nongovernmental organizations and nationalist groups both among the Kyrghyz and the Uzbeks were a significant factor in fermenting ethnic unrest and violence. Open conflict in the form of mass riots and intercommunal clashes broke out on June 4, 1990 in the city of Osh and spread over Uzgen and other regions the next day. In Uzgen, the main conflict took place on 5-7 June 1990, with sporadic outbursts of criminality on other days as well.

Both sides committed arson, killed horses, and plundered shops and offices. They were armed with smaller guns, pistols, sticks, and rods. Murders in Uzgen, Osh, and other regions were committed by strangulation with wire or rope; torture and beating; assault and battery using axes, stones, and other hard objects; and guns. There were cases when the victim was burnt, to make identification impossible. Rape was characteristic of both sides, as were various forms of humiliation and torture, such as parading women naked in the street.

A number of different economic, social, and political factors can be adduced as reasons for the ethnic conflict in the Osh region. In economic terms, Kyrgyzstan had been developing one-sidedly, serving as a source of raw materials for industrially developed regions of the Soviet Union. In the region, industry developed at a slower pace in small towns where the mining and processing branches of industry were predominantly under Union control. The population had been mainly engaged in agriculture with its hard manual labour, cultivating tobacco and cotton and breeding sheep and cattle.

By the late 1980s, the Soviet Federation of Trade Unions calculated that more than 80 per cent of the population had incomes lower than the living wage and were on the verge of poverty. The housing problem became one of the most important factors in the tragic events in Osh. Statistically, 47 per cent of the Kyrgyz, 49 per cent of the Russians, and 48. 3 per cent of the Uzbeks surveyed thought that one of the main causes of the tragedy was the housing shortage. In Osh region nearly 60. 000 families, or every sixth family, was on the waiting list for housing.

In ethnic terms, the bulk of these still waiting were young native men. For years they have been waiting for dwellings and plots of land, while living in hostels. Among their actions, they formed the informal organization Osh Aimagi. In May, 1990 poor young Kyrgyz men demanded to provide them the collective farm earth named after Lenin, which was near the Osh city. It was a criminal error for the authorities to give plots of land for housing on the kolkhoz (collective farm) without the prior consent of its leaders. The bulk of the population in this district is Uzbek.

The situation changed radically after opposition to this move developed into interethnic conflict. Uzbeks apprehended the fact of allocation of the earth extremely negatively. They also held rallies and decided to address to the government of Kyrgyzstan with the requirements to create the Uzbek autonomy in the Osh area, to give to the Uzbek language the state status, to create the Uzbek culture center, to open the Uzbek faculty and to displace from a position of the first secretary of regional committee who allegedly protects interests of only Kyrgyz population.

Of course, after such demand Kyrgyz people could not sit on their hands. The feelings of ownership, possession and patriotism began to rise, especially in the souls of young men, while the Uzbeks demanded more and more… The “rumour syndrome” played a major part in the inter-ethnic conflict. In answer to the question “What was the cause of the fight between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks? “, 43. 4 per cent of respondents said that it was the allocation of plots of land.

However, 39. 4 per cent of those interviewed answered that they began to fight after hearing that ‘`our folk are being beaten and killed. ” But actually, there were no murders and conflicts in those places. Lack of objective information, weakly developed mass media, the low level of education among both Uzbeks and Kyrgyz, and the inexperience of the militia aggravated the situation.

We can see that many of the aspects of 1990 were to be repeated in July 2010: the population mix; the predominance of youth; the slow economic progress and resulting low standard of living of the population; the social divisions between the “haves” and “have nots”; the role of the “commercial mafia”; the role played by rumour; the displaced former officials after a “reorganization” of power and power structures; the desire of the minority for recognition – social, economic, political and for the role of their language and culture; calls for greater autonomy (“local emocracy”) and even separatism; the unpreparedness of the authorities and ineffectiveness of their response; the aspirations of the minority community for greater influence and power; the composition of the authorities, police and army … – and so on. After such precise description of the events happened more than 20 years ago, the next question comes to my mind: Did that conflict take its place because of the misunderstandings of two ethnic groups, or there is the third “power”, that provoked it?

I think that the reasons for conflict had been collecting, but the authorities did use this fact and made two nations to fight in order to get some benefits for themselves. And also, governmental control. Osh was not controlled and supported by government enough. It was not developing, the government didn’t support it appropriately, although it is the southern capital of Kyrgyzstan. Economy, politics, education, social position, medicine, and standards of living were on a very low level. If the government took in consideration all these factors, the conflict wouldn’t take place, maybe.

Such kind of interethnic conflict from the historical point of view, and big tragedy from sociological and humanistic one, did happen even two times with the integral of 20 years. I think, it is not just a happening of the events, but it is somehow lesson which should be studied by every citizen of Kyrgyzstan and the world at all. The ones who are guilty must understand that there is no benefit from badness, from the war. Benefit comes from good things. For the future, the authorities should try to use the existing structures to serve the interests of the people, instead of destroying or dismantling them.

Time is needed for the transition of people from one historical occupation to another. Official estimates of the death toll range from over 300 to more than 600, while unofficial figures range up to more than 1000. For our small country with less population it is a big loss. Our task to grow up in every single meaning of this word. We should understand that we are the country which is on the early level of development, we have lots of things and goals to achieve, and wasting time to such conflicts is really inappropriate in our case.

The government should pay more attention on developing those regions and districts that need real help from the government. Besides Kyrgyzstan is so small geographically, that it doesn’t demand so big attempts for its growth. One of the interesting things, it seems to me, about this is the lesson about History repeating itself … and the failure to learn the lessons that History tries to teach us. That is why, I would strongly recommend and wish our present government to take some lessons from the past and play that experience and knowledge for the benefit if our present and future.

Cite this Reflection paper on Osh event of 1990

Reflection paper on Osh event of 1990. (2016, Oct 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/reflection-paper-on-osh-event-of-1990/

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