Osh in Flames

in Russian History
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Summers in southern Kyrgyzstan can be deadly. In June 1990 hundreds of ethnic Kyrgyz from outlying villages clashed with ethnic Uzbeks living in Osh, Uzgen and Jalalabad. In June 2010 the sons of these 1990 rioters clashed in a renewed wave of ethnic riots in Osh, Jalalabad and Bazar-Korgan. This paper investigates the 1990 and 2010 riots and asks if these two conflicts, in addition to sharing similar protagonists, share similar causes. I find that, while one can identify proximate causes of these riots, more distant processes, namely the titular indigenization of Osh during the Brezhnev period, engendered a demographic shift permissive of ethnic conflict.




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A. Orlov, “Andijan-Osh: Posle Tragedii,” Izvestiia, June 19, 1990. Kyrgyz ethnicity figures are from 1989 Soviet census, as quoted in O.I. Brusina, “Agrarnoe perenaselenie kak odna iz prichin Oshkogo konflikta,” Profil 11 (1999): 20–23. I am grateful to Alisher Khamidov for pointing me to this now out of print journal. An electronic version of Brusina’s article (as of July 23, 2012) is available here: http://sobiainnen.livejournal.com/6442.html.


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