X
X

Kyrgyzstan: Foreigner’s Faux Pas Exposes Cultural Rift

Kyrgyz soldiers, one an ethnic Russian and the other ethnic Kyrgyz, drink Maksym at a Bishkek street corner in May 2006. The popular grain-based beverage was once mostly found in rural Kyrgyz villages and consumed by ethnic Kyrgyz, but became more popular and was widely consumed at the start of the 1990s. (Photo: Dean C.K. Cox)

The row about the British miner expelled from Kyrgyzstan after likening a traditional local dish, chuchuk, to a horse’s penis has begun to subside. As the founder of news website Kloop.kg Bektour Iskender explains, however, the furor has exposed some rarely discussed tensions within Kyrgyz society.
 
The controversy this time around has been fiercer than anything seen before and the exchange of insults more intense, sometimes descending to outright threats.
 
But why has this subject proven so explosive in Kyrgyz society?
 
At the root of the story is a profound problem, and that is the fundamental lack of mutual understanding between Kyrgyz- and Russian-speaking sections of the population.
 
As it happens, the original Facebook posting itself quickly ceased to be the center of attention among Kyrgyz people. Discussion turned from the ill-judged remarks by Centerra employee Michael Mcfeat into a heated debate about Kyrgyz identity and the extent to which it is permissible to mock that identity.
 

To read the full story

Kyrgyzstan: Foreigner’s Faux Pas Exposes Cultural Rift

1 / 1
X
> <