News Analysis

Sunday 4 December 2016

Death, dictators and the Soviets' terrible legacy

Craig Murray

Published 17/06/2010 | 05:00

Distraught ethnic Uzbek refugees wait for permission to move to Uzbekistan at the Kyrgyz/Uzbek border yesterday
Distraught ethnic Uzbek refugees wait for permission to move to Uzbekistan at the Kyrgyz/Uzbek border yesterday

It is arguable that the wave of ethnic killings in southern Kyrgyzstan that started last Saturday -- which has left hundreds of Uzbeks dead and tens of thousands homeless -- is, at root, the fault of Joseph Stalin.

  • Go To

The Soviet Union was in theory just that -- a union of Soviet socialist republics. Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were three of them. But whatever the theory, Stalin had no intention of allowing the republics to become viable entities or potential powerbases for rivals. So he intervened personally and the republics were deliberately messed up with boundaries that cut across natural economic units and severed cultural and ethnic links.

The names Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan might give the impression that these Central Asian states are the ethnic home of the Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks. They are quite deliberately not that.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Read More

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice