New Kyrgyz riots threaten regional stability
22/06/2005, Yevgeniy Mikhaylov
Fighting extremism requires a complex approach.
There are new riots in the neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. And again an entire wave of them: first an occupation of a coal producing mine in Naryn region, the most provincial part of the country, by local people, who are obviously unhappy by the way in which it was privatised.
Then again an aggravation of the situation in the capital - a new attempt to take the White House by assault, clashes with police. It looks like just a beginning of a destabilisation process with unpredicted consequences.
Uzbek authorities have quelled the riots in Andijan, but many experts believe that the cruelty of its process will create new problems for the regime stability and for the whole political system in the nearest future.
All this together with irresolvable socioeconomic problems in Central Asia only makes the terrorism problem worse.
It is not a secret that international terrorist organisations are often using territories of politically unstable countries, into one of which Kyrgyzstan and other countries South of Kazakhstan are rapidly developing, as a basis.
Two problems thus coincide - the problem of political terrorism by extremist groups and a threat of destabilisation born out of a conflict between the authorities and the opposition.
Lately, especially during the last few months, a number of Central Asian governments has taken a number of measures theoretically to reduce the extremist threat, but in reality targeting the political opposition.
Those measures included a growth of control over NGO and foreign financial support of the civil sector and a growth of control over media as well. Of course, everybody has a right for self-defence, including the political regimes, so the problem of "official presentation" of these actions is not principal in this particular case. But these steps of the authorities provoked a wide discussion in all wings of the public opinion.
A common place in this critique both from the "right" and from the "left" is their low efficiency. Independent experts say the same thing. The essence of the critical approach is concentration of the state policy on repressive measures takes us away from a complex solution of the terrorism and extremism problems.
Besides, the struggle against the political extremism is often being replaced by a struggle against political opponents: a famous Kazakhstani political scientist Yerlan Karin observes that "in many post-Soviet countries anti-terrorist departments of secret services carry out political inquiries." It is unlikely to promote efficient usage of their main tasks.
At the same time, according to all experts many problems related with the terrorist and extremist threats are becoming more and more relevant for Kazakhstan.
The country according to Maxim Kaznacheyev, worker of the Centre of Antiterrorist Programmes, is "in the process of gradual evolution of methods applied by radical religious groupings; the phase of leaflets is coming to an end and soon we can witness the extremist organisations entering a qualitatively new level."
This secondary problem is added to another one - the rapidly deteriorating political situation in the neighbouring states. All components for aggravation of the terrorism problem in the nearest future in Kazakhstan are present.
"The root of the problem of insufficient efficiency of antiterrorist programmes lies in the lack of system when they are implemented. This lack must be got rid of by Kazakhstani secret services," - Mr. Kaznacheyev believes.
- The basic task to be resolved concerning antiterrorist activities is to reduce attractiveness of terror as a method of political struggle and achievement of political means. The state apparatus must do everything to resolve this problem. Certain aid to the antiterrorist activities can be provided also by the society.
Kazakhstan needs a programme of antiterrorist activities, in which all actions of state structures should be coordinated no matter where they are carried out. The antiterrorist activities should not be limited to secret services. The antiterrorist activities must become a set of measures in all areas, including information, administration, and law.
Successful antiterrorist activities are possible only if there is a close coordination between the state and the society in all these areas, - a Kazakhstan expert said at one of recent discussions.
However, there is an impression that these measures are lacking exactly a complex approach, especially in information.
Besides, usually an important aspect of terrorism prevention is ignored by experts - the educational one.
The negative attitude towards terrorist ideology must be created already in school, but nobody takes care of it in Kazakhstan.