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20 years of the Emergency Committee: Central angle

20 years of the Emergency Committee: Central angle

19.08.2011 01:59 msk

Michael Kalishevsky

On the night of 19 to 20 August 1991, being among thousands of people who came during those hours to the “White House”, I witnessed a pretty funny episode. From time to time we came out the deputies of the RSFSR and through the megaphone again reported the information received, or to make requests or appeals. And one of the deputies, in my opinion, it was Sergei Krasavchenko, as through a megaphone announced that gekachepisty specially introduced to Moscow military units, which is a lot of soldiers who do not understand in Russian – mostly natives of Central Asia. And so, as the deputy said, the headquarters of the defense, “White House” appeals to those of his defenders, who knows the language of the Union republics, to provide themselves available to staff so that they were sent to “clarify the situation,” nationalities of the soldiers. In response to the deputy someone standing next to me cheerfully shouted, “Zhirinovsky come here!” (Actively supported by the Emergency Committee Vladimir Zhirinovsky in the period when listing their strengths particularly rested on his knowledge of many languages, including Eastern. ) “disorganized replica” has caused a general laugh, but that night, in general, was not amused.

Then I read something about that, knowing languages ​​of Central Asian and Transcaucasian republics, the defenders of the “White House”, including MPs, really went to Moscow to the established military units and talked with the soldiers, explained and promoted, but I do not remember the details. In general, the situation in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, the reactions of Gdańsk leadership and population on gekachepistsky coup was almost unknown, especially in the first day of the coup. State-controlled media putsch, of course, reported the “popular support” in these and not only in the Soviet republics, and when it came to Central Asia and Kazakhstan, in part, similar to reports we have been inclined to believe more or less. I personally, however, are much more interested in what happens in the Baltics, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova. Another thing, everyone understood the important thing now is solved here – at the “White House”.

“Belodomovskoe” brotherhood of nations

Natives of the future independent states of Central Asia , of course, participated in the defense of the Russian “White House”.However, their presence, I personally have not noticed, unlike, say, the presence of representatives of other Soviet republics – with the Russian tricolor waved a lot of Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Baltic, Armenian, Georgian and other national flags, including the Chechen and the Crimean-Tatar. True, Uzbek, or, say, Kyrgyz flag then, as far as I know, not yet exist, at least, symbols, which could be correlated with Central Asia and Kazakhstan, I am in those days, “White House” have not seen (although and admit that she was there).

An interesting piece was a call to hear he passed a group of defenders under yellow-flag blakitnym. One enthusiastically said another, pointing to what is happening near the White House: “So scho axis so vihodyt – Muscovites vzhe bilsh not vorogi!” Case tales about the reliability of the communist “brotherly unity” of the USSR and at the same time to demonstrate a real international solidarity.

Swan Lake
In the first hours after the seizure of power by the Emergency Committee of the USSR Central Television showed a constant ballet “Swan Lake”

To be discussed

But let us return to the events of two decades ago actually the central Asian republics. Their reaction to the putsch putsch, of course, primarily determined by the position of local parthoznomenklatury. After all, very poor socio-political and civil institutions of local societies (even in comparison with other republics of the USSR) determined the passivity of the majority of local people and there the relative weakness of the national democratic movement (perhaps with the exception of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan). True, you must immediately note that the majority of national and democratic organizations of all Central Asian republics and Kazakhstan in the first day of the coup have expressed an active rejection of the Emergency Committee and its decisions.

The position of the Republican leaders were due to socio-economic and political circumstances prevailing in their republics by 19 August: the degree of deformation structures of governance during the “perestroika”, the ratio of population to the federal structures, the degree of economic dependence of the republics of the Union center. It should be emphasized that of all the Soviet republics in Central Asia, namely the degree of deformation structures of governance in the direction of “perestroika, democratization and openness,” was the lowest, and the dependence of the center, both political and economic – the greatest.

The political and economic elite Central Asian republics formed (if it is appropriate to use in this case Soviet terminology) on “the feudal-bai” type, has always regarded the union as a guarantor of the center of its own stability (primarily military and subsidized). No wonder the fall of 1990 delegates, representing the Communist Party of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, at the XXVIII Congress of the Communist Party expressed their full support, “the rate of the Party,” which is precisely at this Congress finally took shape as frankly reactionary, and condemned the “separatist activities of some communists” that is, “the Democratic Party platform,” uniting “reformist” wing.

As stressed in the statement of the Central Asian Communists, “advocating the complete independence of the Communist Parties of the Union republics, we fundamentally are in favor of a unified Communist Party.” Central Asian delegates also called for “combining the posts of the Secretary of the CPSU and the Soviet President.”

Naturally, the leadership of the republics of Central Asia has always stood for the preservation of the USSR – in the region in the early ’90s there was virtually no mass movement for the establishment of independent nation states, and those who still put forward the slogan of independence, most likely, not very understanding, some content they are investing in this slogan.Therefore, the “exemplary” results of the March referendum for the “preservation of the Union”, received in Central Asia and Kazakhstan in general, reflected the mood of “titular” population. Consequently, in early 1991, the Republican partlidery, most likely, and could not conceive that in the very near future they will have to stand at the head of independent countries.

At the same time, the Central Asian parthoznomenklatura already discerned what benefits it promises unfolded in the Soviet Union the “parade of sovereignties” and at the turn of 1990-91 quite actively involved in it their own country. Especially important was the fact that the summer of 1991 was set out and agree with the center of the overall regional mechanism for the transition to a market in which the nationalization of property of the Union (ie the transfer of its jurisdiction of republics) had to pass by agreement with the Union Ministries (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan Kyrgyzstan – August 1), while the local communist party remained the principal owners of the privatized property. (For example, the association “EKOMPT” – “The economy of the Communist Party of Tajikistan,” by local press reports, would be able to control a large part of the Tajik economy.)

Strengthen the position of local elites and certainly contributed to the transfer to local government structures a large part of tax collection, for example, taxes on exports of agricultural products. Against this background, the Central Asian elites support the idea of ​​a “renewal of the Union” and sign the agreement of the Republics August 20, 1991 confederal “Novo-Ogarevo” treaty of alliance seemed quite logical.

Most likely, the speech was the Emergency Committee for parthoznomenklatury Central Asia and Kazakhstan quite unexpected.It can be assumed that because of traditional Central Asian servility and cynicism of the elite initially viewed the chances of the Emergency Committee as much higher – perhaps it was hard to imagine that grouped around Yeltsin’s “democrats” and other “intellectuals” were able to resist the powerful security forces in the face of the army and the KGB . At the same time no one wanted to lose those “sovereign” of conquest, which the local nomenclature has made ​​for years of “perestroika”. It seems that on August 19 in the capitals of Central Asian republics dominated by the following sentiments: on the one hand, it was afraid to irritate even the slightest manifestation of gekachepistov disloyalty, on the other hand, wanted to exchange their support for the Emergency Committee to guarantee the inviolability of the previously mentioned “sovereign” conquests. Under these circumstances, a bargain was quite appropriate. Finally, view explicit desire to hedge in case of failure putsch.

These factors clearly expectant management activities of the Central Asian leaders – all of them (with the exception of Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, immediately condemned the putsch) initially avoided any definite statements implying the conspirators did not intend to oppose them, and at best, only stressing its determination to defend the sovereignty of the republic. Local people should have understood it this way: “We have nothing to do with the Moscow showdown, most importantly, do not lose caught at the center of the rights and privileges.”

In general, this position is found understanding, including among leaders of local, national and democratic movements, which are primarily interested in issues of national sovereignty, rather than the problem of Russia or the Baltic states. Although all this was hard to miss the main point of the Middle parthoznomenklatury position: “We support those who win in Moscow.”

And in an emergency the head of the Central Asian republics have preferred their own decisions on the orientation of the region’s undisputed leader – Nazarbayev, who was also the chief “architect” was created just before the coup, the Central Asian Union. And I must say that on the first day of the coup Nazarbayev, whose support (along with support for the head of Ukraine Kravchuk) could be crucial for Yeltsin, and the State Emergency Committee, just asked the Central Asian leaders vaguely expectant-vector of their position.

However, the president of the Kazakh SSR immediately tried to deny any “decisive” role, saying he did not want to Central Asian republics were consolidated with some “special” line. Apparently, Nazarbayev was afraid in the future lose its special status among the regional leaders, taking “the wrong decision.” Especially because he was a potential competitor with the same image of a reformer – Askar Akayev.

The collapse of the Soviet Union
Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union is a world-historical event that creates the different feelings in different people of the former empire

“Evolution” Nazarbayev

Nazarbayev initially was viewed as an active supporter of Gorbachev. He supported the Soviet leader put forward plans to reform the Soviet Union, and at the same time sought to have produced more products in Kazakhstan went to the needs of the country.Nazarbayev paid special attention to establish control over the Kazakh mineral resources.

Nazarbayev has promoted the adoption of law on the official status of the Kazakh language, created an independent religious administration of Kazakh Muslims. In March 1990, the country held elections for the Supreme Council, which first allowed the nomination of several candidates for one seat. In April, the Supreme Council elected President Nazarbayev, the Kazakh SSR. On his initiative in Kazakhstan very active reform of the economic legislation, which eventually became one of the most advanced in the former Soviet Union. In October 1990, Kazakhstan joined the “parade of sovereignties”, declaring the priority of national laws over the union.

When the morning of August 19 Alma-Ata became aware of the creation of the Emergency Committee, only a few representatives of democratic parties and movements (“Azat”, “Azamat”, “Alash”, “Unity”, “Nevada-Semipalatinsk” Social Democratic Party, the trade union “Birlecy” and etc.) gathered a meeting and issued a leaflet in which the incident was called a coup. Was nominated as a call for civil disobedience and bring to justice the organizers of the coup. In addition, another at 11 am President of the Union of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan Leonid Solomin, said: “In the absence of democracy, entrepreneurship can not develop, so we are currently negotiating with the Union of Entrepreneurs of the USSR, with the Party of Free Labor to conduct a general political strike.”

Meanwhile, television broadcast, only the first All-Union Canal. All national newspapers, radio and television of the republic was told to the public all documents putsch. With one exception – it was the Karaganda regional newspaper “Ortalyk Kazakhstan” (“Central Kazakhstan”), headed by well-known journalist Nurmahan Orazbek. Instead, he posted a statement the State Emergency Committee as its own editorial article entitled “Yes, that revolutionized” And in place of the traditional slogan “Workers of all countries, unite!” On the “cap” of the issue was printed: “You can cut off the head, but you can not have his tongue cut !. ”

However, the troops on the streets of cities in Kazakhstan have not appeared, and orders from Moscow and the MVD, the KGB nor the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic had been received. However, in the republic, many heads of regions and departments actually supported the coup, is designed with varying degrees of preparedness activities for the transition to a state of emergency. Among them are the best known was later chairman of Taldykorgan Regional Council and at the same time the first secretary of the local RC ST Tursunov, who gave specific instructions to impose emergency rule, including the repression of the potential participants in the resistance movement.

According to reports, August 19 in the morning with President Nazarbayev, held meetings constantly. There is some evidence that it hastened the same telegram sent to Moscow to support the coup. In particular, the chairman of the USSR Radio and Television L. Kravchenko said that Nazarbayev has prepared a special video with words of recognition and support of the Emergency Committee. Televised address was sent to Moscow for the first broadcast channel, but has not been demonstrated.Finally, at 17.00 Moscow time, Nazarbayev spoke at the Republican TV and radio.

His appeal to the people of Kazakhstan are no estimates of what is happening and did not contain reduced to appeals for calm and restraint. It also pointed out that the state of emergency on the territory of Kazakhstan is not entered. Special emphasis was placed on the fact that “all power in accordance with the Declaration on State Sovereignty and the Constitution of the Kazakh SSR, Soviet authorities belong.” Kazakh president reiterated his “commitment to the policy of strengthening the sovereignty of the republic.”

Subsequently, it is this vagueness and uncertainty was placed in the merit of the authors Nazarbevu official version of events that took place in Kazakhstan 20 years ago. For example, Mahmoud Kasymbekov, head of the Office of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, wrote in “Kazakhstan Pravda” of the year 07/06/2006: “Having said unconstitutional and illegal nature of emergency, the President, in fact, would burn the bridges behind them, leaving no path for retreat . History does not like the subjunctive, but it would be frivolous to hope that, if won, and established the Emergency Committee in his power, he would forgive the President of Kazakhstan of opinion.

The first President of Kazakhstan called the KGB chairman Kryuchkov, VA, for rude and arrogant tone, which lay deep background. It turns out that it was aimed at intimidating the go with President of Kazakhstan and to compel him to unquestioning submission to the will of the Emergency Committee. And the Acting President of the USSR GI Yanayev began shamelessly lie Nursultan Nazarbayev, assuring him that the rest of the republic headed by his committee supported. This is my truth Yanayev could repeat at the press conference. Well, if it cost only one irresponsible misinformation. But the August 21 Emergency Committee attempted to invade the capital of Kyrgyzstan! In short, the August coup almost went into civil war, which could fire vseunichtozhayuschy to do any of carelessly dropped match. ”

August 20, in Alma-Ata, leaflets appeared: “Yeltsin-Nazarbayev Treaty – yes, the coup – no!”. In 14 hours, Nazarbayev made a second application. In the cautiously worded, but it definitely, he condemned the coup, highlighting the unconstitutional nature of the Emergency Committee and the illegality of instruments, trampling upon the sovereignty of the republic declaration. It was suggested that a 10-day deadline to collect the Congress of People’s Deputies, which define the terms of popular vote the president of the USSR. It was also suggested to proceed immediately with the signing of the Union Treaty, approved by all the republics. The next morning (August 21) after Moscow tragic events took place, accompanied by the victim (the death of Dmitry Komar, Ilya Krichevsky and Vladimir Usov, who tried to stop the tanks), press secretary of the Kazakh SSR Gailbek Shalakhmetov said: “Late at night in a meeting of the Presidium of the Supreme Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic after a telephone conversation with Boris Yeltsin held a telephone conversation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Kazakh SSR from the Soviet Union vice-president Gennady Yanayev. Kazakhstan’s President bluntly asked the latter: there is no preparation or storm building the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s arrest? Nazarbayev stressed that this step is absolutely unacceptable, it would be an extremely dangerous and should not be allowed such a disgrace to the country and the world. On the question Yanayev replied that such a move would not be taken. ”

After the failed coup, speaking at an extraordinary session of the Supreme Council of Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev gave his interpretation of events: “The danger of growing. Evening of August 20 I have received information about the impending assault on the building of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. I immediately got in touch with Kryuchkov. Former KGB chief swore to me that there was no assault will not be. Realizing that he should not trust, I have several times spoken with Boris Yeltsin on the phone, and by a single number, which at that time worked in the building of the Supreme Council … Two disturbing information Yeltsin confirmed. I said to Boris Nikolayevich for their support, and then immediately scored Yanayev, expressed to him his categorical protest and warned in a rigid form, as it is fraught with grave consequences the use of force against the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. Then call Yazov and warned that any crime – bathe one’s hands in blood of young people have taken the protection of the President. Maybe it affected them, because after a few minutes the assistant Boris Yeltsin told me that the tanks were moving toward the building and stopped. ”

After breaking the situation in Moscow and arrested gekachepistov sovereignization Kazakhstan went even faster. Evening of August 21 Nazarbayev signed a decree “On the Formation of the Security Council of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.”August 24 issued a statement Nazarbaev to the Politburo announced his retirement from his staff. On the same day published a decree “On the termination of the organizational structures of political parties, public associations and mass public movements in the bodies of rulers, national security, internal affairs, police, state arbitration courts and customs of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.” August 25 issued a decree “On the property of the Communist Party in the territory of the Kazakh SSR”, according to which the Communist Party property, located on the territory of Kazakhstan was declared state property. August 28th Plenum of the CPC Central Committee was held, which adopted two resolutions: to stop the activities of the CPC Central Committee and the convening in September 1991 an extraordinary congress of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. August 29 issued a decree on closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. August 30 – “On the inadmissibility of combining the leadership positions in government and management positions in political parties and other socio-political associations.” In addition, Nazarbayev issued a decree “On the transition from state enterprises and organizations subordinate to the Union to the Government of the Kazakh SSR”, “On establishment of the gold reserve fund and the diamond of the Kazakh SSR”, “On ensuring the independence of foreign economic activity of the Kazakh SSR.”

The extraordinary session of the Supreme Council of Nazarbayev said that “the expression of allegiance to the conspirators commits us to evaluate what happened. All leaders who have taken action to de facto recognition of the Emergency Committee, will be relieved of their duties, unless they themselves do not guess to resign. ”

However, beyond words did not get. Supported the putsch nomenklatura generally not affected. For example, after an independent Taldykorgan newspaper “Hobby-News” published materials testifying to the active support of the Emergency Committee of the Regional Council Chairman already mentioned Tursunov, the entire circulation of the newspaper was confiscated on the orders of the same Tursunov. Then the newspaper and did “pull the plug” and squeeze with a single in Taldy-Kurgan printing. And in October, Tursunov in the semi-official newspaper “Seven Rivers” made direct threats against journalists, “Our region is no state of emergency did not impose. From now on I want to warn of spiteful critics that your dirty work will be vigorously combated by all available means of civilized rule of law. ”

His position, Mr. Tursunov left only in 1993 and not due to support the Emergency Committee. The situation is typical not only for Kazakhstan, and not only for Central Asia.

In subsequent months, Nazarbayev dissolved the Communist Party and established a complete Republican control of the economy, but continued to support the idea of ​​the new Union republics. However, the “neo-Ogarevo process,” as we know, ended in failure, a referendum on the independence of Ukraine December 1, 1991 only emphasized the futility of efforts to preserve the already defunct Soviet Union. The actual breakdown was legally issued Belovezh agreements. Nazarbayev, however, was very upset by the fact that he was not invited to participate in their preparation. December 16, 1991 he declared the independence of Kazakhstan, at the same time becoming one of the founders of the CIS.

“Maverick” from Kyrgyzstan

Since the late 80’s liberalization of political life in Kyrgyzstan, was more intense than in other Central Asian republics. In 1991 there were operating almost 40 fairly large associations. The main opposition force at that time was the movement “Kyrgyzstan”, which brought together a wide range of politically active strata of society. At the same time falling prestige of the republican Communist Party. When in June 1990 in the south broke out a severe conflict between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, authorities discovered a total inability to cope. In an effort to consolidate its position, the communist majority of the Supreme Council has proposed to create the post of president, elected by the Parliament: hoping that this post will get the chairman of the Supreme Soviet and First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan Absamat Masaliev. But did not work: October 27, 1990, after nine rounds of voting, was elected president, Askar Akayev, who up to that time served as president of the Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyzstan. Although Akayev had in his biography, so to speak, partnomenklaturny period, it was seen primarily as a scholar and intellectual, a “democrat” and “reformer”, which looked really “black sheep” in the background of the then party bosses.

The new leadership rather vigorously embarked on reforms. There is acute land issue, so the agrarian reform became a priority in the presidential team. Already in spring 1991 with the desperate resistance of the range (in the parliament continued the discussion for months) have passed laws “On Peasant Farming,” “On Land Reform” and the new Land Code: Kyrgyzstan, thus became one of the first republic, which started to eliminate unprofitable and low-profit collective and state farms and the transfer of land in a lifetime inheritable possession and farmers.

Morning of August 19 Akayev has collected all the top Republican on the imperious meeting at the local “White House” and asked: “What shall we do?” Eyewitnesses recall that the chairman of the Supreme Soviet, the former secretary of the local Central Committee for Ideology Medetkan Sherimkulov advised “not to stick your neck out” and perform instructions putsch.Akayev, however, understood that for the Emergency Committee – he was also a “white crow”, but still has a close relationship with Yeltsin and other “democrats”. A victory because the plotters did not promise him anything good. As a result, the president of Kyrgyzstan was the only Central Asian leader, condemned the coup immediately to Moscow. In this case only on the territory of the USSR State Radio, passed in those days the air Yeltsin’s decree, it was in Bishkek. Akaev supported by virtually all non-Communist parties and movements in Kyrgyzstan, as well as an appreciable part of the population. Although in what was then the streets of Bishkek could meet many people who did not have any work to the State Emergency Committee, nor to Akayev, nor to democracy.

However, very significant was the fact that Akayev’s support for the then Minister of Internal Affairs of the Kirghiz SSR, Colonel Felix Kulov, who with the help of police units blocked the military camps and the building of the republican KGB. It is known that General Asankulov said Kulov in the office Akayev, “for nothing in a hurry. It will take a little time, and we’ll see whose heads will survive, and whose flight. ” The general had every reason to threats – according to some reports, the State Emergency Committee had plans for the invasion of the Kyrgyz capital.

After the failed putsch Kyrgyzstan almost immediately (31 August) declared its independence, but for some time continued to participate in the “Novo-Ogarevo” process. Gorbachev even suggested Akayev vice-president “renewed” the Union, but he refused.

In independent Kyrgyzstan, former supporters of the Emergency Committee was well arranged. Thus, the head of the political capital of Internal Affairs Bolot Januzakov, who said in 1991: “I’d rather go to the post than to tear the party”, in the end, really went out of bodies. But not for long. He later headed the National Security Service, and Akayev’s administration. Secretary of the Communist Tashtemir Aitbayev, who at first supported the putsch, and then asked for forgiveness from the people, the Interior Ministry headed by Akayev and Bakiyev, when – the NSC. Another secretary of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan Amanbek Karypkulov also got to the post of head of presidential administration. But Felix Kulov, the only one of the Kirghiz “security officials” who supported Akayev, in the end was put last in prison.

“Silence” Karimov

In Uzbekistan at the turn of the 80s – 90s began the emergence of social movements. In 1989 was founded the movement “Birlik” (“Unity”) and the movement of the “Erk” (“Will”), and in the summer of 1990 – the Democratic Party “Erk”. October 21, 1989 passed a law “On State Language of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, giving the Uzbek state language. Definite influence on the political life of the republic had carried out in February and March 1990 elections to the Supreme Council of Uzbekistan on a competitive basis. In March 1990, the institution of the presidency, followed by Mikhail Gorbachev, who left the Communist Party general secretary, became president of the Soviet Union, Islam Karimov, the first Republican partliderov followed his example. In Moscow, by the way, this “aping” was perceived rather negatively. But soon Karimov example followed by many other Republican partlidery.

June 20, 1990 adopted the “Declaration of Sovereignty,” Uzbekistan, in the preparation of which took a prominent part of the leaders of party “Erk”, where increasingly, albeit cautiously, began to talk about the necessity of the course to independent statehood. Karimov, however, there and everywhere declared fatal separation from the Soviet Union and made every effort to March 1991 a referendum was held in Uzbekistan on the highest ideological and political level. That, however, did not interfere with the Republican leadership methodically and consistently translate the allied companies in their submission.

August 19 official Tashkent as if water got into his mouth. It was known only that Karimov cut short his visit to India and returned to the Uzbek capital. Later, there is evidence that even with the airplane, he sent a telegram to Moscow on the full support of the Emergency Committee. Republican media duly passed all the orders of the coup, the Uzbek Communists, who spoke on television and assured Moscow that the work begun by the Emergency Committee, is already bearing fruit in Tashkent. However, no official announcement to this effect has yet been received. Meanwhile, the party “Erk” regarded the formation of the Emergency Committee, as anti-constitutional action. “Erk” announced its intention to cooperate with all democratic forces opposed to infringements on the sovereignty of Uzbekistan and the legitimate interests of the country. Soon a similar decision was made movement “Birlik”.

August 20 appeared only a statement of the Supreme Soviet of the Uzbek SSR and the Uzbek government, in which the situation has been hailed as “extremely controversial”. All called to preserve and strengthen social and political stability. At the same time, the republic’s leadership has opposed the use of force, especially the military. At the joint meeting of the Presidium of the Supreme Government and it was considered appropriate to form the Republican committee to coordinate the work of governing bodies, which impose control over the maintenance of normal socio-political situation. According to the latest official version stated, this is how the Republican leadership “has used every opportunity to maintain a stable socio-political situation in order to prevent a state of emergency in the country, do not go on about the supporters of the coup d’etat.”

August 21, when all in Moscow, it was clear by presidential decree, all ordinances of Uzbekistan declared illegal putsch. Decree of 25 August under the jurisdiction of the Uzbek Ministry of Interior of the republic have been taken and the KGB. USSR Interior Ministry troops, the location on the territory of Uzbekistan has received the direct authority of President Karimov. August 31, Uzbekistan was proclaimed an independent state.

In October 1991 some 200 members of the Supreme Council issued an open letter in which they, in particular, were accused of supporting Karimov’s Emergency Committee, demanded the transfer of presidential elections and their conduct on an alternative basis, as well as limiting the powers of the president and the abolition of censorship. This action supported the “Birlik” and “Erk”.But by the time period of relative liberalism in Uzbekistan has ended, there comes a very different time.

The prologue of the Civil War

Informal networks of intellectuals and youth clubs emerged in Tajikistan in the late ’80s. The main question occupied the minds of the leaders of those organizations was the question of language. February 25, 1989 for the first time in the history of Tajikistan in Dushanbe held an informal meeting. The participants – students, faculty, staff of the Academy of Sciences, journalists – have demanded to make the Tajik state language. September 14 of that year, the State University was established in the popular movement “Rastokhez” (“Revival”). Somewhat later came the Democratic Party of Tajikistan. Then, as later recalled, deputy head of “Rastokhez” Sharofiddin Imomov, these organizations have not yet had any plans in place for full sovereignty, but it was the idea of ​​”a real statement of independence of Tajikistan in the framework, broad, free of the Union.”

In February 1990, the republic tragic events took place, one consequence of which was an increase of requirements to ensure the real sovereignty of the republic. August 24, 1990 session of the Tajik SSR Sun, after an intense struggle between the communists on the one hand, and members of the “Rastokhez” and “democrats”, on the other hand, adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of Tajikistan. It declared that “the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic on its territory to decide all political, economic, social and cultural issues, except those questions that Tajikistan voluntarily transfers the jurisdiction of the USSR”

Introduction in November 1990 as president and elected to the post session of the Supreme Council of the republican Communist Party first secretary Kahara Mahkamova was, in general, on the model already tested in other Soviet republics. The same can be said about the arrangements for the “economic independence” of Tajikistan, with the only proviso that the process is greatly hindered more than in other republics, the dependence of the Tajik economy from the center.

August 19, 1991, state media of Tajikistan (Meanwhile, in Tajikistan, while there were more than 80 independent newspapers) passed orders putsch. In the 14 hours of the Democratic Party (DPT) has adopted an appeal to the people of Tajikistan on the “coup d’etat and the overthrow of the legitimate President of the USSR.” DPT urged citizens of the republic does not support the coup and declared a general strike, as is done in Russia. Chairman Felix Shodmon DPT has sent an appeal to the president calling Mahkamova give a negative assessment of the establishment and operations and the Emergency Committee to disobey his acts. Yusupov, warned that otherwise the people would call the Democratic Party of Tajikistan to the general disobedience.However, the DPT was not so popular in the country, the threat had its effect.

On Mahkamova tried to influence the leaders’ Rastokhez. ” On the first day of the coup, they met with the president. “We tried to persuade him to agree to declare the republic an independent state – remember Imomov Sh. – He did not agree, thought that the waiting attitude – the best position to which he must adhere. ”

August 20, after preliminary talks with Karimov, has not appeared on television, Makhkamov flew to Moscow. And when it was over, he could only make excuses. August 22 in his address to the nation Makhkamov said: “The critical political situation in the country, requires a great balance and vision statements, exposure and shutter speed again … We still believe it is necessary and important for the people of the country, and for the whole world Community preservation of the USSR and in favor of early signing the Union Treaty … ”

However, in Tajikistan a “balanced” and “vision” was viewed as direct support to the Emergency Committee. August 29-30 in Dushanbe has opened an extraordinary session of parliament. In parallel, an area of ​​it. Lenin (now – “Dusty”) started a rally of opposition forces, demanding independence and retirement Mahkamova. Attempt to address the demonstrators the president has failed – it simply is not allowed to speak, and Makhkamov resigned.

September 9, 1991 adopted the Declaration of Independence. However, even after independence in Dushanbe is still hoping for a “new” Union. In his address on September 14, Acting President, Chairman of the Supreme Council Kadriddin Aslon said: “Independent of Tajikistan can not imagine themselves outside the Union and calls for accelerating the preparation and signing of the Union of sovereign states on equal and mutual benefit ….” However, the failure of the “Novo-Ogarevo” process and the agreement finally buried the Bialowieza every kind of “union” of hope. Unfortunately for all of Tajikistan this was only the prologue of bloody civil war.

The transformation of “Turkmen-bashi”

Perhaps the most “quiet” way during the coup, the events developed in Turkmenistan. Even the opposition Democratic Party leaders of Turkmenistan and the national democratic movement “Birlik Agzi,” said the “freeze their activities.” But there were reports that in the workforce, where the Russian-dominated, are preparing demonstrations in support of Boris Yeltsin.

Turkmen media regularly broadcast decrees Emergency Committee and head of Ashgabat garrison, Major-General Nikolai Kormiltsev said: “By order of the Commander of the Central Asian BO troops on the territory of Turkmenistan are on high alert, set patrols at the entrance to Ashgabat, created a group on mining of major industrial objects. I ordered the regimental commanders to meet with civil authorities in the capture of the army, with the consent of the government of the republic, under the protection of essential public facilities. However, the orders of the President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov, we will not obey. ”

Meanwhile, the press service of the Niyazov simply refused to report the results of closed meetings of the Presidential Council of the Republic and the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR did not speak with any political bias assessment of Gorbachev.However, in relations with Moscow plotters Niyazov was not so reticent. Nurmukhamed Khanamov, in the early 80’s who worked with Niyazov in the Central Committee, and then – Ambassador of Turkmenistan in Ankara, so telling about his behavior August 19: “The day I went to see him talk about business. On his desk are arranged in a row a few phones, including – relationship with Moscow. I was sitting in his office, suddenly rang. It was Yazov. And I was an unwitting witness to their conversation. Niyazov, a frightened face: “For us do not worry. We have here everything will be fine. We always support you. ” When the conversation ended, Niyazov hung up, and so deeply, with relief, a sigh, “Oh, Christmas tree, a stick! That situation does not even smeknesh on the run, as well as respond … “And while the situation in Moscow is not stabilized, he calmed down, lay low. Waiting for. ”

But it is not idle. His unit was engaged most actively gathering and analyzing information about the events in Moscow. Niyazov has always consulted with leaders of other Central Asian republics, and was able to negotiate with the military that Turkmenistan will not be in a state of emergency.

Only after the watershed event in Moscow in Turkmenistan were first assessment, and again, not from government authorities.Thus, the chairman of the Democratic Party Durdy Murad Mohamed Hodge said: “They crossed the last line from the Emergency Committee of the gathering of criminals. Our party withdraws the original decision to suspend its activities. Today at a meeting of the DPT leadership, we will develop a plan of priority actions in support of the Democrats and the leadership of Russia. ”

Only late in the evening of August 21 issued a decree Turkmen media Niyazov’s decrees and the invalidity of the Emergency Committee. August 26, Niyazov announced his retirement from the Politburo and the Communist Party of Turkmenistan on the separation of the Communist Party. He proposed to rename the Communist Party of the People’s Democratic (in the end it was renamed the Democratic Party, in spite of the existing Democratic Party.)

October 27, 1991 was proclaimed the independence of Turkmenistan. But by May 1992 more or less taken shape transformation of the former first secretary of the republican committee of the CPSU in the “Turkmen-bashi”. Without the consent of Parliament, Niyazov introduced a constitution, which consolidated its system of unrestricted personal power. In Turkmenistan, has established one of the most obscene and brutal dictatorships of the modern world.

*In conclusion, we can assume that if the State Emergency Committee has taken tougher action (for example, made a purely symbolic and always bloodless capture of the Russian parliament building on the first day of the coup and managed to isolate Yeltsin to visit the “White House”), and then complied with the republics to convene an extraordinary USSR Supreme Soviet session, it is possible that the Emergency Committee failed to get rid of the stigma of “unconstitutional” in the eyes of the official leaders of the “expectant” republics. However, it must repeat the platitude – history does not know the subjunctive mood. The evolution of the position Nazarbayev (toward rejection of the Emergency Committee) and focus on his Republican leaders (as well as the position of the other most influential regional figures – Kravchuk), partly influenced by the action of the republican parties, movements and strike committees, declared on civil disobedience and Pre-Strike readiness. But the main factor was the development of the situation in Moscow. That is – the determination of the Russian leadership of the Russian democratic movement and the willingness of thousands who came to the White House of ordinary people defend their freedom and civil dignity.

However, in any case, victory Emergency Committee, even if its relative “legitimacy” was only able to slightly delay the collapse of the disintegrating Soviet empire. Delay, but make it much more bloody and disastrous.

Michael Kalishevsky

FROM THE EDITOR “Fergana”

The Four Whores of the Apocalypse–CNN, France24, the BBC and Al Jazeera

[Each of the participating Imperialist powers have brought their most reliable propaganda assets to bear–USA/CNN, France/France24, Britain/BBC, Gulf kingdoms/Al Jazeera.]

Journalists Who Engage in War Propaganda Must Be Held Accountable

by Thierry Meyssan

The war propaganda has entered a new phase, involving the coordinated action of satellite TV stations. CNN, France24, the BBC and Al Jazeera have become instruments of disinformation used to demonize governments and justify armed aggressions. These practices are illegal under international law and the impunity of the perpetrators must be stopped.

VOLTAIRE NETWORK | TRIPOLI (LIBYA)
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Child’s drawing about Al Jazeera (school in Tripoli).

The current processing of the information on Libya and Syria has marked a turning point in the history of war propaganda in that it uses new ways that have taken the international public by surprise.

Four powers – the United States, France, the UK and Qatar – have combined their technical means to intoxicate the “international community“. These are mainly CNN (which, although private, interacts with the Pentagon’s psychological warfare unit), France24, the BBC and Al Jazeera.

These media are being used to falsely attribute to the governments of Libya and Syria crimes they did not commit while [NOT] covering the crimes that are committed by the secret services of the aforementioned powers and NATO.

We witnessed a similar situation, on a smaller scale, in 2002 when Globovisión broadcast live images of a popular revolution against elected President Hugo Chávez plus images of pro-Chavez activists gunning down protesters. This staged event had made it possible to mask a military coup orchestrated by Washington with the help of Madrid. However, after a genuine popular uprising aborted the coup and reinstated the elected president, legal and journalistic investigations revealed that the revolution filmed by Globovisión was in fact a case of visual trickery and that the Chavistas had never fired on the crowd, but were themselves the victims of snipers armed by the CIA.

We see the same thing happening today, but with a consortium of satellite channels which transmit images of nonexistent events in Libya and Syria. Their aim is to make people believe the majority of Libyans and Syrians want to overthrow their political institutions and that Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad have massacred their own people. On the basis of such media intoxication, NATO attacked Libya and is about to destroy Syria.

Now, after the Second World War, the United Nations General Assembly passed legislation to prohibit and punish such practices.

Resolution 110 of 3 November 1947 regarding “measures to be taken against propaganda and the inciters of a new war,” condemns “propaganda which is either designed or likely to provoke or encourage any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression. ”

Resolution 381 of 17 November 1950 further strengthens this condemnation by condemning the censorship of conflicting information as part of the propaganda against peace.

Finally, Resolution 819 of 11 December 1954 on “the removal of barriers to free exchange of information and ideas,” recognizes the responsibility of governments to remove barriers that impede the free exchange of information and ideas.

In so doing, the General Assembly has developed its own doctrine on freedom of expression: it condemned the lies leading to war and upheld the free flow of information and ideas and critical debate as weapons in the service of peace.

Words and, especially, images can be used to prepare the worst crimes. In this case, the intoxication by CNN, France24, the BBC and Al Jazeera constitute “crimes against peace.” They should be considered as being more serious than the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by NATO in Libya and by Western intelligence agencies in Syria insofar as they precede and make them possible.

Journalists who engage in war propaganda must be tried by International Justice.

Uzbekistan seeks joint uranium-producing project with China

Uzbekistan seeks joint uranium-producing project with China

TASHKENT,  (RIA Novosti)

Uzbekistan plans to attract Chinese companies to uranium production projects on its territory, the Prime news agency said on Friday.

The cooperation plan was approved during Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s visit to China in April. Uzbekistan’s Geology and Mineral Resources Committee is currently preparing a list of possible uranium deposits.

A committee spokesman declined to name the Chinese companies which were invited to take part in the project.

In August 2009, China’s CGNPC Uranium Resources Co and Uzbekistan’s Geology and Mineral Resources Committee set up the Uz-China Uran joint venture on a parity basis, with a charter capital of $4.6 million to prospect for uranium in the Kyzyl Kum Desert.

Uzbekistan’s uranium reserves are estimated at 185,800 metric tons. According to the most recent uranium production report released in 2007, about 2,270 metric tons were produced in the country that year.

Twenty Years Ago Today–Soviet Union Collapses

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The collapse of the Soviet empire “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”–Vladimir Putin 

How I Remember the Putsch

19 August 2011
The Moscow Times

Yeltsin Ally Saw ‘Swan Lake’ as Call to Arms

19 August 2011
Children crawling over a tank in direct view of the Kremlin on the first day of the ill-fated coup attempt by hard-line Communists on Aug. 19, 1991.

Igor Tabakov / MT

Children crawling over a tank in direct view of the Kremlin on the first day of the ill-fated coup attempt by hard-line Communists on Aug. 19, 1991.

The first thing that Sergei Filatov did as the leader of a group of lawmakers defending the Russian White House from a coup in August 1991 was turn on all printers and copy machines.

He understood the need after seeing ballet dancers performing “Swan Lake” on state television.

“I turned on the TV and saw the swans dancing. For five minutes, 10, for an hour. Then I realized that something had happened because we learned to read between the lines in Soviet times,” Filatov said in an interview.

He was relaxing at the southern resort of Zheloznovodsk on Aug. 19, 1991, but the looped broadcast of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” made him jump on the next plane to Moscow — where an anti-perestroika coup by Party hardliners was in progress.

The coup failed after a three-day standoff between its organizers and the White House. The Soviet Union was disbanded four months later, and the political leader of the putsch resistance,Boris Yeltsin, became the first president of the newly independent Russia.

Filatov stood by Yeltsin’s side outside the White House legislative building and beyond, serving as chief of staff of the Kremlin administration from 1993 to 1996, when he largely left active politics following Yeltsin’s re-election.

But it all might have gone differently had he stayed in Zheloznovodsk in front of his television set during the “Swan Lake” broadcast, sipping the mineral water that the town is known for.

“I understood that access to information was the most important thing,” said Filatov, now 75, an engineer by education.

The coup plotters had seized control of state radio and television, which then ran time-filling broadcasts such as “Swan Lake,” interspersed with statements from the coup leaders.

Filatov, who in 1991 served as a lawmaker in the Russian Republic’s legislature, saw the need to break the information blockade, which was why the White House’s printing equipment worked hard to reproduce orders from Yeltsin, who just weeks earlier soundly beat Soviet leaderMikhail Gorbachev‘s preferred candidate in an election to become Russia’s president.

The printouts were then distributed among Muscovites, thousands of whom rallied in defense of the White House, making up a formidable, even if weaponless, public militia.

But Filatov knew that conflicts were not won on propaganda alone, and so envoys, picked from fellow legislators, were dispatched to airports, train stations and military units to win the hearts and minds of their staff.

Filatov himself traveled to a military unit based outside Moscow, where soldiers and commanders offered assurances that they would not take part in the shedding of blood.

“They tried to calm us down, saying nothing was happening and they were remaining in their barracks,” Filatov said. “We wanted to tell them that they would face resistance and blood couldn’t be avoided if they moved in.”

The danger was, indeed, real. The State Committee for a State of Emergency, as the eight coup plotters styled themselves, moved more than 4,000 troops, 360 tanks and 420 armored personnel carriers into Moscow.

But some of the troops crossed over to Yeltsin, and none saw any direct military action. An attack on the White House was planned, but never carried out — largely because Generals Pavel Grachyov and Alexander Lebed, who commanded airborne troops ordered into Moscow, did not support the operation.

“I think that if it weren’t for this fact, the storm couldn’t have been avoided,” Filatov said.

Grachyov later became defense minister, and Lebed ran for president in 1996 and later served as Krasnoyarsk governor.

The only three casualties of the coup were chance victims from the crowd that successfully blocked a tank column from moving toward the White House on the Garden Ring.

“I had a feeling that something would click and minds would turn sober only after blood was shed,” said Filatov, who got barely a wink of sleep during the three-day standoff.

Historians remain puzzled about the lack of decisive action from the plotters. Even Yeltsin, who died in 2007, dubbed their actions “highly controversial” in his memoirs, where he wrote that they had failed to reach agreement even among themselves.

“They looked very depressed,” Filatov said about the plotters’ news conference broadcast live on state television at the start of the coup attempt on Aug. 19. The famous broadcast at one point shows the visibly shaking hands of Gennady Yanayev, who was the nominal head of the State Committee for a State of Emergency, though most historians consider KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov as the real mastermind of the coup.

The plotters not only besieged Yeltsin, but also managed to isolate Gorbachev, who was at the time vacationing on the Black Sea island of Foros.

Valery Boldin, Gorbachev’s former chief of staff who sided with the plotters in 1991, has claimed that Gorbachev, embroiled in a political battle with Yeltsin at the time, was aware of the plot and hoped to use it to his own advantage. But Filatov dismissed the allegation.

“They were irritated that Gorbachev couldn’t overpower Yeltsin,” he said. “If Gorbachev and Yeltsin had acted together, they could have achieved a lot. But the plotters believed that the fight between the leaders had gone too far and wanted to get rid of both of them.”

As for the other 14 Soviet republics, their leadership chose to distance themselves from the coup in Moscow, Filatov said. He recalled his anger at a phone call from a lawmaker in the Kazakhstan legislature who told him local lawmakers were “debating” the coup.

“I told him to stop debating and help us because if they could win over here, they would do the same over there, too,” Filatov said.

But the crisis was resolved in Moscow. On Aug. 21, the State Committee for a State of Emergency admitted defeat and ordered troops out of the capital. Gorbachev returned from his brief exile the next day, accompanied by Yeltsin’s vice president, Alexander Rutskoi, and ordered the arrest of the plotters.

The thousands of Muscovites who came out to defend the White House in 1991 made a display of public activity unimaginable in pre-perestroika Soviet days, and Filatov praised those who took part.

But he admitted that a similar gathering posed a problem for the Kremlin when, two years later, hundreds flocked to the White House again, this time to support Yeltsin’s political enemies.

The crisis in October 1993 saw Filatov’s former boss in the Russian legislature, Speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, and Vice President Alexander Rutskoi attempt to seize power after a political standoff with Yeltsin. At least 123 people died during the street fighting that followed, and Yeltsin, apparently drawing lessons from 1991, ordered tanks to fire at the White House.

“When we came to power, we didn’t realize that all of us had different views and our own understanding of democracy,” Filatov said ruefully about the split of the former allies.

The mistakes did not end there, he said, adding that the gravest oversight was Yeltsin’s failure to create a strong political party to support him.

The failure has resulted in Yeltsin’s successors,Vladimir Putinand Dmitry Medvedev, “engaging in the creation of artificial political parties and organizations that combine artists and youngsters under their flags,” Filatov said in a reference to the now-ruling United Russia party and its amorphous electoral ally, the All-Russia People’s Front.

Over the years, support for the 1991 putsch attempt has grown, but this reflects disillusionment in the current government, widely accused of fostering stagnation and reverting to old Soviet policies, Filatov said.

“People live with hope. If you don’t feed this hope, you might face state breakdowns like in African countries,” he said. “Many of us believed that the Communists would turn things back if they come to power. But who would have thought that non-Communists would do the same?”

Biden’s Basketball Diplomacy Ends In Great Brawl–Signs of Things To Come?

After brawl between Georgetown, Bayi, all is forgiven, China says

Fight3
“Thursday’s game… had been intended as a sign of sunny relations between the U.S. and China during Biden’s trip.’

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Karachi Is a Virtual War Zone

[Indirectly, the American militarization of Karachi, first to service  the Afghan mujahedeen, then another war to eradicate them, has made Karachi into a real gun culture.  I couldn’t imagine trying to survive the night in some parts of the city without at least an AK-47 and about 500 rounds of ammo.  The problems with Pakistan are mostly the problems that America has created in Pakistan, while using the country as a forward operating base into the Asian theater of war.]

Pakistan’s commercial capital on the boil

ANITA JOSHUA

A woman gestures toward a bullet-riddled wall after security forces took control of a troubled area of Karachi after several days of ethnic violence that killed at least 93 people in July 2011. Photo: AP
APA woman gestures toward a bullet-riddled wall after security forces took control of a troubled area of Karachi after several days of ethnic violence that killed at least 93 people in July 2011. Photo: AP

 

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says Karachi is in the grip of a multisided wave of insecurity driven political, ethnic and sectarian polarisation.

Even by Karachi’s own standards, the recent spate of ethnopolitical violence has been brutal and prolonged. For well over a month now, Pakistan’s largest city and commercial capital has been on the boil, with 318 people killed in July alone. And, according to a body count done by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), 1,138 people were killed in the first six months of this year.

The HRCP’s count, by its own admission, is usually conservative but with 1,456 people killed and still counting — nearly 40 people including a former member of the National Assembly have been killed since Wednesday evening — violence has become a constant in Karachi this year. To the extent that people, according to Karachi-based civil society activist Zeenia Shaukat, have learnt to adjust themselves to the threat levels. “When vehicles are set on fire in a certain area, people don’t step out of their houses; when shops are forcibly shut, people wait for a while and try to find out if the grocery shops are serving back door. Also, if one reads on a TV ticker that there is tension in a certain part of the city, and if one is planning to go out, one will take another route.” When a city remains in the grip of violence for such long stretches and so frequently, staying indoors is a luxury few can afford.

Especially since the brunt of what is described as “organised warfare” has been felt most in the poorer quarters of the city. Some of the affected have openly said Israeli atrocities on Palestinians are not a patch on what Karachi’ites are going through in this seemingly never-ending turf war among the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Though there was a time when the MQM — representing the Urdu-speaking populace which had migrated to the city and Hyderabad following Partition — was identified with much of the violence, today nobody can quite say who the biggest villain of the piece is, as all are equally culpable.

What is worse is the extent of the ethnic rivalry. Increasingly, there are reports of one community barring people from the other from being treated in hospitals, burying their dead or sending their children to school in its areas. When violence peaks, such is the level of ethnic profiling that an innocent bystander’s attire could get him into trouble, with the Urdu-speaker identified by his trousers and the Pashtun by his salwar kameez.

While all major political claimants to the city — which is said to account for 20 per cent of Pakistan’s GDP — have their areas of influence, local media reports suggest that the perennial sense of insecurity is leading to ghettoisation which will only deepen the fault lines. Through it all, as per the HRCP’s fact-finding mission, the law-enforcing agencies either looked the other way, abandoned their posts, delayed responding to distress calls or just joined hands with the criminals. In fact, there have been reports of the police suggesting violence to victims as a remedy for their misfortune.

There is a history to this, pointed out columnist Shafqat Mahmood in The News. Recalling the clean-up operation launched in Karachi during Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s second tenure, he wrote: “The hundreds of criminals it [the police] had arrested were released from jail through various political deals, some during Nawaz Sharif’s second tenure and later through Musharraf’s patronage. They came out and methodically killed police officials involved in operations against them and forced others to run away … No one in the police is ready to risk another onslaught on them and is happy to just watch.”

Policing — rather the absence of it — apart, the HRCP team concluded, Karachi is in the grip of a multisided wave of insecurity-driven political, ethnic and sectarian polarisation. “While gangs of land-grabbers and mafias have tried to exploit the breakdown of law and order, they do not appear to be the main directors of the horrible game of death and destruction; that distinction belongs to more powerful political groups and it is they who hold the key to peace.”

Ironically, the three key political players have been bedfellows for the past three years at the provincial level in Sindh and also at the federal level except for the brief spells when the MQM walked out of the coalition. This year, the MQM walked out in a huff twice and is poised to return yet again as it grapples with retaining its stranglehold over Karachi in the face of a growing Pashtun population — triggered by a displacement-induced migration from the strife-torn tribal areas and the Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa (KPK) — and the consequent rise of the ANP in the city. Apart from the political turf war, it is a battle for resources and jobs.

From 51.45 per cent of Karachi’s population in 1951 and 54.34 in 1998, Urdu speakers now make up 48.52 per cent of the city. While the Sindhi population halved during the same period from 14.32 per cent in 1951 to 7.22 in 1998, the Pushto-speakers have more than tripled from 3.39 to 11.42 per cent. And, this demographic shift is said to have got further consolidated since 1998 with the usual migration that any city attracts, compounded by the displacement of Pashtuns from the tribal areas and the KPK over the decade since the global war on terror began.

In the February 2008 elections, this demographic change assumed political contours with the ANP winning two Provincial Assembly seats from Karachi. The PPP’s greater indulgence of the ANP only added to the MQM’s insecurities as its influence — despite efforts to make inroads elsewhere — does not extend beyond Karachi and Hyderabad. This erosion of control over Karachi was felt all the more because of the free run the MQM had in the city through the Musharraf years.

The general consensus among Karachi’ites and elsewhere is that the violence has its roots in crime because of the covert and overt support extended by the state and almost all political parties to mafias and powerful predatory groups that have largely come to determine the highly weaponised city’s urban infrastructure development. The weaponisation can be traced back to U.S. transit of arms to the Mujahideen from the port city during the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

All three players treat the city like their personal fiefdom. The recent flip-flop over the system of local governance was rather telling. In a matter of weeks, the PPP changed the regime from a local bodies system to a commissionerate and back to the local bodies in what appeared first a punishment to the MQM for walking out of the alliance and cajoling it to its return.

While politicians play out their games of survival in the multiethnic city of 17 million people, the writ of the state is nowhere to be seen. Its absence, says Ms Shaukat, works for everybody. “For rangers and security agencies to continue to dominate the city; for mafias to continue to maintain a presence in the city offering people protection from rival groups. This may also explain the deep divisions among various ethnicities, communities and followers of religious sects. We have a state that is not interested in integration, and we have mafias whose interest lies in deepening the wedge between various groups/communities.”

Lamenting the callous manner in which the stakeholders have been operating to further their selfish designs, Rehana Hakim, editor of the monthly magazine,Newsline, asserted that not one of them was making any serious effort to find a solution to the multiple problems that have led to the shutting down of industries and flight of capital from the city. What they have done rather successfully is turn Karachi into a virtual war zone.