Discussion: “Kyrgyzstan development driver: liberalism, NATIONALISM or islamism?”

Date: April, 20. 2011

Venue: Aigine CRC

Language: Russian

A list of participants:

  1. Aitpaeva Gulnara (Aigine CRC)
  2. Borochorov Jakshylyk (The Young Entrepreneurs Association)
  3. Isakov Ulan (The Young Entrepreneurs Association)
  4. Bolushbek Abdyjaparov  (World of  Education)
  5. Mawlan Askarbekov
  6. Adilet Satkeev (Kyrgyz Nation)
  7. Seitek Dushenaliev (Kyrgyz Nation)
  8. Kojobekova Aijarkyn (KRSU)
  9. Esentur Suuchulov (The Young Entrepreneurs Association)
  10. Turgangazieva Ainura (Aigine CRC)

There were three interconnected goals of this discussion:

  1. To discuss the outcomes of the discussion called “Liberalism, nationalism and Islamism” taken place at Kesilish club. One of the obvious problems of public discussion in Kyrgyzstan is that there is no connection between different discussion grounds. Such a goal is set to assess the productivity of the public discussions being conducted in Kyrgyzstan
  2. To reveal the participants’ positions on and visions of the optimal ways for development of the country. Those position and visions of the participants, provided that they are similar to a certain extent, might become thr grounds for a closer co-operation.
  3. Taking into account the aforecited goals, to talk about possible discussion formats which might be used at the meeting with cultural consulate of Iran. It looks like Iran is considering possibilities of building long term co-operation with Kyrgyzstan.

Conducting a discussion in a format suggested by Kesilish club proved the necessity of having such discussions, revealed some shortcomings of such discussions and allowed us to draw these conclusions:

  • It is better to conduct discussion of any formats such as round tables, debates etc. with clearly defined topic.
  • It is better to invite specialist on an issue being discussed rather than people who just want to talk about it
  • Unfortunately, some discussion grounds are provided with some hidden objects of the organizers that turns those discussion grounds into tools for public opinion manipulation. In order to avoid such a “hidden” game, nonpartisan organizations, experts, and representatives of the civic society should be invited to participate in the discussions.
  • It is necessary to keep time limits for presentations;
  • The results of the discussions must be tangible e.g. resolution, work plans, etc.
  • Discussion grounds should be expanded from Bishkek to the regions;
  • Different discussion grounds should intercross, share with the results, experience and the possible ways of solving common problems and promote implementation of those ways in practice.

We started with discussion of the first and then the second goals. Here are the summary of the participants ideas:

  1. Neither Kyrgyzstani political and intellectual elite nor the civic society possesses the comprehensive strategic vision of the way that Kyrgyzstan should choose for development.  The Russian, American, Chinese and Islamic influences differ in their nature and are determined by varying interests. That creates an impression of tearing out the country on an ideological, cultural and political basis;
  2. All Liberalism, Nationalism and Islamism have their advantages and disadvantages. That’s why using them as drivers for Kyrgyzstani development should be balanced and rational. The choice of the ideology is related not only to choosing the strategic partner but also to the matter of Kyrgyzstani self-identification.  Self-identification in this case means identification of ethnicity, religion, values system, dominant culture and minorities. Today there are many controversies within each of the declared ideologies of liberalism, social-democracy, nationalism etc.  that stem from changing circumstances of the time;
  3. The nation does not give much credence to the political leaders and the political elite in general. There is no special department in the state structure that deals with the youth. As a result, the youth representatives trying to struggle for the power, unfortunately, do not have sufficient qualifications to carry out administrative work and lack professional qualification and education in general. Such a phenomenon determined by the process of insufficient socialization after the crush of the Soviet Union, as a result the youth got partially or totally marginalized;
  4. Expedient and organized series of activities for students and pupil should be developed in order to form the system of values and behavioral models. Such activities seem to be more fruitful than activities dedicated to rectify the marginalized part of the society, which appeared in 90s and is being used for realization of private political ambitions.
  5. Existing public organizations and movements work apart from each other and their activities in most cases are determined by the requirements of foreign donors. The consolidation of the organizations working in Kyrgyzstan is needed. Maybe common ideology can provide grounds for consolidation and that’s why all the efforts of the intellectual elite, youth organizations and leaders should be dedicated to the development of such an ideology;
  6. Leadership and nationalism are the basic components of the sought-for ideology with nationalism being not chauvinistic and aggressive. Nationalism is a foundation on which the new society in Kyrgyzstan should be built. It is necessary to promote successful Kyrgyz leaders and create non criminal ideals to follow.
  7. Unification and establishment of strict common rules and norms is the way out of the crisis.
  8. The problem of the Kyrgyz people’s self-identification as a state-establishing ethnicity. Is it possible to use the term “Kyrgyz” for unification of the Kyrgyzstani society? How promising it is to use nationalism as a driver for the development of Kyrgyzstan?
  9. There are some conceptual difficulties in a public discourse as a result of deliberate mix-up of the concepts such as nationality and religion, national and ethnical, nationalism and chauvinism, leadership and leaderism, success and power, etc.;
  10. There were unsuccessful attempts to establish a new ideology. Today there is a keen need for an easy-to-understand ideology that will evoke in people the feeling of affiliation, one’s significance for the country, possibility for development and safety.

The question if the participants were ready to compose a group to work out such an ideology was not met. Besides, the third goal was not achieved due to lack of time. It was suggested that the participants would d hold another meeting at Aigine CRC and discuss this question only. Everybody who wants to take part in that discussion is welcome to join. If one would like to, one can send his suggestions via email.

Айжаркын Кожобекова