Chinggis Aitmatov is probably the best known living Kyrgyz citizen, and is widely respected in his native land for his work as a writer during the Soviet era. An interview given by the ageing author in late November last year sparked a furious dispute touching on the geopolitical future of Kyrgyzstan.
Whilst the theme elaborated by Aitmatov seemed fairly innocuous his hopes for greater cooperation among Central Asian states in the 21st century the interview touched on some very sensitive issues that dominated Kyrgyz politics in 1999. The dispute has intensified with the approach of Kyrgyzstan parliamentary elections on February 20.
The dispute reflects concerns about the paradoxes of inter-governmental discourse, in which expressions of friendship among Central Asian states are belied by actions indicative of diverging political, economic and ideological interests. It also is indicative of the deep concern harbored by many Kyrgyz about statehood.
The article that sparked the dispute was published by the government newspaper Kyrgyz Tuusu on December 3, under the title,
Nick Megoran is a PhD candidate at the Department of Geography, Cambridge University.