For years, millions of Russians paid little attention to the countries of Central Asia, viewing them as lands ruled by uninteresting societies. However, a combination of open borders and unexpected actions by their own government has pushed them to explore countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The fact that they were slow to perceive their government’s evolution towards a Chinese-style “digital camp” speaks volumes about themselves and the environment in which they grew up.
Being able to selectively see the good and the bad around oneself is crucial. In recent years, the central leadership of the Communist Party, a familiar trend in Russian history, once again became disillusioned with their own people. It is astonishing how quickly the masses have embraced “worship of all things Western and criticism of all things Russian”! Of course, the reasons are not in the nature and society, which have seasons that change abruptly. This is because the positive aspects of using this regularity were attributed to their own “hard work and success.” “Learning from mistakes” has come to mean that a kind of managerial consensus has been reached – in the West, society is segmented, and only those who are obviously “established” feel the moral right to engage in wide-ranging generalizations. An interesting theory that completely ignores the strong links between testosterone and political instincts as such. On this basis, significant efforts have been made to discourage anyone, except the obvious dignitaries, from taking an interest in the general development patterns.
Society developed in a completely different way in Kyrgyzstan, where the activation of national consciousness, combined with the clan structure of society, led to the deep involvement of large segments of the population in political processes for many years, but in a very clearly defined territory. The thesis “we are being deceived” and the public investigation of several crimes are sometimes enough to attract people from the farthest corners of the country.
Those who came from Russia and were able to earn a good living and did not tolerate the public atmosphere gradually forming around the unchanging leader – including not only the police, but also the gradual adaptation of “progressive people” to monarchical theses – have been leaving for “faraway countries” for many years now, long before the mobilization and even before Crimea. Those who could not tolerate it and could not earn a living – now, with the objective decline in the standard of living in Russia, they cannot go anywhere thousands of kilometers away. So the majority of “relocators” in their old age are people who were more or less satisfied with the regime. And among the young people who have arrived, the percentage of true freethinkers is no higher than the average in the population, and even slightly lower, given that they come from families that have gone through such adaptation experiences.
Against this background, the stories of the “relocators” about the society in which they find themselves often transmit nothing but the infantilism of the “relocators” themselves.
“Many Kyrgyz people love Putin and look to Russia for guidance”.
Such sentiments were prevalent not long ago, even in the European Union, before the predictably bungled downing of a Dutch plane and a series of broadcasts about war crimes. Given that Kyrgyzstan sees its foreign policy balance as an equilibrium between Beijing, Moscow, and Istanbul, with an extreme underestimation of the foreign policy potential of Central Asia as a whole, there is nothing surprising about these attitudes. They only appear strange and very naive to those familiar with the “Russian authoritarian tradition.”
“Kazakhstan is quite the monarchy.”
“You fled Russia, but you fail to notice that protests are also suppressed here, and nobody criticizes the president.” Kazakhstan is the same logic as the “Great Steppe,” where the Russian authorities have operated since the time of the Mongols. “One man alone is not a warrior,” “you can’t break an ax with a whip.” That’s why we like Kyrgyzstan – the land of open frontiers and freedom-loving people. But in general, Russians who lived for two decades under the shadow of the corresponding authorities, criticizing Kazakhstan for its monarchy, is something out of a joke about a man calling his wife while looking in the mirror and saying, “Honey, look, my brother came over!” Kazakhstan should be grateful that it is an alternative to Moscow’s monarchy, with its historical route, rather than something that exists “for the solution of our national tasks of complete and final unification on all possible lands.”
“There is a lot of domestic violence in Asia.”
It’s even difficult to comment on this. The phrase “guys, have you ever read the police chronicle of Russian regions?” freezes on the way out due to the obvious meaninglessness in this case. If this issue concerns you, there is a simple, universal, and reliable solution – communicate in a big city, communicate with the local middle class, stay away from adventures. Rural areas and their special atmosphere in terms of “practical problem-solving between people” have their nuances everywhere – including North America, industrial cities in Britain, Southern Italy – and “all-all-all.”
“What ruins are your Balychi”
The answer to such phrases lies in the fact that they usually come from people who have not spent years of their lives getting acquainted with the actual Russian regions. Have you seen these rows of decaying dilapidated shacks in towns north of the Volga? Have you seen how the only person on the historic street of Rostov Veliky (the city from which the whole empire once unpacked, forgive us, the Lord) during the day is a plump man with bubbling snot, who is barely able to move from one gutter to another, whose blood in internal osmosis has been replaced with alcohol for many years? The life cycle of “Moscow barber shop – career as a programmer – lying on the beach in Croatia” is funny and elegant in its own way, like the life of medieval harem occupants, but to offer it an equivalent replacement, it will be necessary to simply build a closed cottage village in Barbie style with a straight road between it and the airport. Give me the ruins that disappointed you, I’ll collect antiques there for sums much more impressive than this residential complex could cost.
- Freedom-loving people whose lives are not built around constantly wondering, “What will our great authorities think of this?” is already pleasant. Yes, Eastern culture leads to people being a bit cunning, but it’s not difficult to adapt to.
- Ease of getting things done. Once you’ve started a task, it’s easier to gather a team and have people take action immediately, rather than constantly second-guessing whether it’s safe. This is extremely valuable because in business, people’s time is the main cost.
- High-speed internet where everything opens and works quickly.
- Long warm season. Most of the year, you can walk outside without wearing a spacesuit.
- Tian Shan. You live near unquestionably remarkable natural landmarks.
- Variety of leisure activities. A unique beach resort in the mountains, hiking trails, high-altitude hiking on foot and horseback.
- Communication with foreigners in an incredible volume. On all routes, you will meet many open-minded people from all corners of the world.
- Manas Airport. Daily flights to the most diverse societies in Asia – Delhi, Emirates, Istanbul, Ulaanbaatar, Sharm el-Sheikh, and many others. This is not like Minsk, but unique opportunities for maneuvering.
“The Lukashenka-ization of Kyrgyzstan” is practically impossible in the current situation, fortunately, and a certain amount of foreign policy maneuvering “between regimes” is no different from the behavior of, say, Switzerland during the two major wars in Europe.