Kyrgyzstan Nationalists Lay Minefield for International Investigation
What do you call suspiciously timed information that undercuts an anticipated event? Could it be propaganda? In Kyrgyzstan's parliament, a deputy from the nationalist Ata-Jurt faction alleges that a new book – that only she has seen – claims Kyrgyz massacred Uzbeks in last summer’s ethnic violence. Her story, as these things generally are, is hard to follow. In widely reported comments from April 19, Jyldyz Joldosheva rants against the publication of The Hour of the Jackal, by “rich Uzbek nationalists.”"According to my information, rich Uzbek nationalists gathered $2 million to release the book. It was distributed around the world for free." she said, according to Kloop.kg. Unfortunately, we have only a single copy in our country." Presumably, she has the only copy. That no other copies have surfaced is hard to explain since, Joldosheva says, 400,000 free copies (about one for every family in Kyrgyzstan) have been floating around Russia for a “month.” An English version will be released “soon.” Then she adds, mysteriously, “According to my information, the book is published in Finland, but this fact must also be checked.”Finland is the keyword here. That country has become associated with the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission, led by Finnish MP Kimmo Kiljunen, on the ethnic violence. The commission’s report was expected out some months ago, but is now slated for release within two weeks. The impending presentation has some in Bishkek nervous, fearing Kiljunen will accuse interim government leaders of the bloodshed. According to the KyrTAG news agency, Joldosheva noted at her April 19 press conference that Kiljunen is a Finn and that it is necessary to check whether his nationality and the book’s alleged place of publication is a mere coincidence. Joldosheva complains the book inflates the number of dead into the thousands and declares that Kyrgyz committed genocide. Yes, that word is unfair and independent observers have discounted such numbers. She also mentions a CD accompanying the book -- possibly this dramatic, low-quality video posted four months ago on YouTube. Apparently, though, her testimonial is proof enough for the Prosecutor General to open a criminal investigation. What, where or who they are investigating is, of course, unclear. “I have a lot of questions why there was no response from the Foreign Ministry and the secret services. After all, this book can generate a new wave of clashes and is a time bomb,” Joldosheva said.I have a lot of questions for anyone who has seen this book.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.