Global Voices on Pluralism

Social and religious xenophobia as the Soviet authorities’ political tool: history and unlearned lessons. The example of materials from Kyrgyzstan’s south (1929-1936)

Publication Date: April 2018

Myktar Tagaev

Director of the Center for Historical and Cultural Studies, a non-governmental organization, in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

Based on previously unknown documents, the author gives factual information about the scale of repression which followed the xenophobic policies in 1929. The theory of deteriorating class struggle spread in the villages, first among the social layers of the population which the Bolsheviks considered to be their potential enemies. The article suggests a notion that the xenophobia was used during these years to reach industrial objectives, and all the economic and political campaigns (collection of grain crops, cotton, and taxes and others) were carried out with the use of force and repression.

The author comes to the conclusion that the Bolsheviks’ efforts to instill xenophobia in the minds of the main part of the population in the period in question were futile and unsuccessful. The Soviet party management imposed these xenophobic views in the form of instructions, but it itself did away with its victims.

The author also tries to assess the current status of the government’s commemoration policies with regards to the victims of the xenophobic policies of the totalitarian regime, and concludes that the policy is inconsistently applied and focuses primarily on the political and cultural elite, which suffered during the years of “Great Purge” in 1937-38. That a majority of the victims used to be loyal supporters of the regime, active implementers of its criminal ideas and eventually became victims of the system which they served as executioners and allies in the years of brutality remains ignored. The rise of phobias in the modern Kyrgyzstan is a result of the Soviet past which is yet to be re-analyzed and re-evaluated.