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“Disputable territory”: view of the plain man …

One of the intensity centers in Central Asia are the enclaves. Recent murder of the Tajik family in the enclave Vorukh surrounded with the territory of Kyrgyzstan, sharply complicated a situation there. The security guard of a field camp, his spouse, two grandsons and one more their relative were lost. The official statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic is widespread: “After the cruel murder of the Tajik family in Jamoat Chorku of the city Isfara, the inhabitants of an enclave started treating with suspicion to citizens of Kyrgyzstan” …

- Since ancient times the Tajik people owing to historical changes moved from socially economically difficult areas to rather safe settlements, but most often within own state administrative unit. Unfortunately, for the last decade it is the phenomenon began to extend, and such terms as “external labor migration” and “creeping migration” entered strongly the lexicon, consciousness and life of Tajiks. The Sogdiysk region of the Republic of Tajikistan didn't become an exception.

The disastrous economic situation of our fellow citizens, possession of many children of families in rural areas, weak prospects of economic growth and limitation of economic resources, in particular lands became the main reason for this phenomenon. After disintegration of the Soviet Union among citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan there were many people, situation and status of whom, their property sewed for much years, were not clear and uncertain owing to emergence of frontiers of the adjoining countries and so-called “disputable territories” and enclaves.

The geographical arrangement of Jamoats in which the collection of information was carried out, is at the bottom of the special attitude towards them from representatives both Tajik and Kyrgyz parties. These Jamoats are the border between two countries and as any border zones bear an array of problems and unresolved questions, for example, there is a land in Ovchi Kalacha Jamoat which still legally isn't carried now to one of the applying parties - the so-called disputable territory. By results of the conducted research, it is possible to tell that discussion and the solution of this question by the governments of two neighboring countries proceeds more than 10 years that testifies that the achievement of consensus in a question of borders between two countries can proceed some more years and it isn't necessary to count on its fast decision soon.

Ovchi Kalacha

Kalacha territory, Maksat, is a border site between two sovereign states – Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Extent of this border makes about 6 km. It should be noted that from the very beginning families didn't live in this territory actually from Kyrgyzstan. These lands were considered unsuitable for accommodation as they had no neither drinking nor irrigation water, and actually the population never lived on these lands. They could be used only as a pasture. According to information from reports of the public organizations working at the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic, a main objective of creation in this territory of the new village Maksat consisted in creating of the so-called buffer zone capable to stop creeping migration of the Tajik citizens of the territory of Kyrgyzstan as far as possible.

In very short terms the road – border was equipped, electricity columns were put. Then the Kyrgyz party decided to pave the new way, it is about 70 meters higher than the former road border. All electric columns were rooted out and established along the new road. Along this new route the Kyrgyz party built 66 houses for the Kyrgyz immigrants. The majority of the Tajiks living in the disputable territory, moved to live in this zone (at that time it was empty dry lands) till 1994 year (this year is important as the Kyrgyz government established the term about obtaining the Kyrgyz nationality by all wishing, living in its territory). Only 21% of the Tajik immigrants accustomed on these lands after 1994. Thus, it is possible to consider that it generally the children from the families living on the border street because of shortage for housing construction and who were compelled to live in the territory across the street. Now, about 150 families live in this territory according to participants of focus groups.

Participants insisted on focus groups that it is not the disputable territory and that it “belonged” to their great-grandfathers since ancient times. So such opinions were aggressively expressed:

- The cattle always grazed on these lands and lived our ancestors;
- The Kyrgyz didn’t live here.
- We live here for many years, enclosed huge work and considerable funds to be constructed and adjust living conditions for our family and we aren't guilty that now we appeared on both sides from border, and the part of our family was “illegally” living in the so-called “disputable” territory.

According to the existing resolution in Kyrgyz Republic a certain tax on a livestock of cattle is established which the Kyrgyz authorities demand to pay the Tajiks who graze the cattle on the pasturable lands belonging to Kyrgyz. However the Tajik inhabitants refuse to pay this sum, proving it with the above statements. One of participants said that the deputy (it is a question of the period of the Soviet Union) said that these lands are rented to Kyrgyzstan for 50 years and this time already expired and already they belong to us (Tajiks).

Despite frequent checks of the representatives of executive power of the Kyrgyz Republic and the requirement of official registration and obtaining nationality of Kyrgyzstan, the participants of focus groups said that the Tajik authorities have to insist that the land belongs to Republic of Tajikistan and they won't accept nationality of the Kyrgyz Republic, they ask for medical care in medical institutions in Tajikistan, children attend the Tajik school (though it is located in 2,5 km from their housing) and aren't going to change anything in the life. Despite so categorical statements, practically all respondents noted the goodwill of neighbors and their mutual respect. Also they said that well get on among themselves and children together graze the cattle.

Kistakuz

The jamoat Kistakuz of the Ghafurov district of Sogdyisk area borders on the Zhanyzher rural justice of the Leylek area (the village Borborduk, Arka-2, Zhashtyk and Dostuk).

Participants of focus groups estimate the relations with the neighbors-Kyrgyz as positive, good-neighbored. The Kyrgyz go on a market located in Kistakuz, buy gasoline as there is no market, shops in the territory of the Kyrgyz village. Newly arrived inhabitants of the Kyrgyz Republic (it is the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks) feel rather quietly, the representative of jamoat of Kistakuz noted that more than once there were situations when the citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic behaved uncivilized on a market and created conflict situations, up to detention their militia and collection of penalties. Though in turn the inhabitants of the Republic of Tajikistan are exposed to frequent checks in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic, there are certain difficulties upon border transition.

In the nineties some inhabitants of Kistakuz bought the houses in the neighboring territory and began to become populated there. The problems connected with shortage of the land for construction of houses, pastures for cattle, were at the bottom of resettlement of Tajiks to the neighboring state. Besides, those years the nearby boundary villages of the Kyrgyz Republic attracted good household with conditions – natural gas, uninterrupted supply of electricity, rather inexpensive land and housing. Opportunity to live near the relatives was one more important factor of resettlement of Tajiks to the Kyrgyz Republic. One more reason was also that many of them found work in Kyrgyzstan.

Some of participants said that could get the house in the Kyrgyz Republic, having issued it on the relatives having nationality of the Kyrgyz Republic. According to participants of focus groups, now about 70 families (about 1000 people) live in the Kyrgyz Republic territory though the representative of jamoat Kistakuz called other figures – about 120 families living illegally in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic. Unfortunately, it wasn't succeeded to receive exact figures when carrying out research as the local authorities (Jamoat, mahalla committees) didn’t make timely accounting of immigrants on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Tendency of resettlement of the Tajik citizens on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic in the last two years is 25-30 families. Among participants of focus groups there were 2 persons who already could issue nationality of the Kyrgyz Republic, receive the passport, process documents on the house and the land. These people consider that they could solve the problems as very often from IOGV KR the inspections of official registration, passports and other documents in are made from the executive powers of government of the Kyrgyz Republic the absence of which impose penalties in a big size. Considering that fact that such inspections are made rather regularly, the payments make rather most part of the budget of families. Other participants of focus groups also consider that in spite of the fact that there are other rules and other orders, other way of life in the Kyrgyz Republic, only exit from current situation is to legalize the situation in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic. However, many attempts of legalization of accommodation met numerous obstacles from heads of local authorities in the Kyrgyz Republic. Participants of focus group explain this fact with a human factor, the personal relations and prejudices of these officials.

On a question of whether they asked for the help in local authorities in Tajikistan for the solution of these problems, the participants answered that the similar address doesn't yield results.

Children living in the Tajik families (in each family from 2 to 5 children),living in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic, attend now school in Kistakuz, go to school with the Tajik language of training that doesn't prevent these children to be on friendly terms with the Kyrgyz children. They together play, graze the cattle. All members of such families address for medical care in nearby medical institutions in Kistakuz (it is the village hospital of Kistakuz, rural out-patient clinic in the village center, 2 medical aid stations located closer to the Kyrgyz Republic – one in mahalle Havuzak, one near school No. 54). At the appeal to medical institutions in the Kyrgyz Republic, it is necessary to have the passport of the citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic, otherwise the medic can refuse to accept the patient.

The problems which can lead to the possible conflict between inhabitants of two neighboring countries they consider a problem of shortage of drinking and irrigation water (now this problem is solved by distribution of time of water supply and it is regulated by local authorities); the conflict because of ethnic questions (so answered less than a half of participants of focus groups) is also possible.

Vorukh


The Tajik enclave Vorukh is located in the territory of Batkensk area of Kyrgyzstan being in 20 kilometers from the main territory of the Republic of Tajikistan. Vorukh is a territory of compact accommodation of ethnic Tajiks in the Batkensk area of the Kyrgyz Republic relating to the Isfara region of Sogdiysk area of Tajikistan and borders with villages Tashtumshuk, Uch-Dobo, Aksay of the Aksay rural justice of the Kyrgyz Republic. About 40 thousand ethnic Tajiks live in it. The road through Vorukh is the only transport highway connecting the Leylek area to other Kyrgyzstan.

According to the population – the participants of focus groups, historically Tajiks and Kyrgyz lived friendly in the territory of Isfara area. “We had no problems neither social, nor economic, nor human. We had almost related relations. We together developed the lands, drank one water, went on one road, used one pastures, went on one market”, they say …

However, round this enclave and boundary territories adjoining to it some disputable sites are located long since being a subject of heated arguments, sometimes reaching hand-to-hand fights of Kyrgyz and Tajiks. The main reason of it is the fight of two ethnic groups of the population for the resources, irrigated lands and irrigation water, and sources of this problem are historical: Tajiks consider that the part of Batkensk area long since belonged to them, the Kyrgyz approve the return. In difference with a situation in Ovchi Kalacha, the situation in Vorukh is complicated by mentality and character of people living here. Men are adjusted very resolutely, the statements states in sharp tone, don't recognize compromises. Women don't express the opinion and have no votes in community owing to the increased religiousness of the people living in this territory.

In 1989, at the Soviet power, because of territorial claims there were bloody collisions with loss of human life. Then only direct intervention from the state structures of two states succeeded to extinguish the center of interethnic war. In the Soviet and first years of the Post-Soviet period the Kyrgyz-Tajik border remained almost transparent and was protected by nobody. And to the present about 70 disputable sites remain in territories of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

According to the representative of jamoat Vorukh strengthening of borders of the enclave of the Republic of Tajikistan caused sharp discontent of Kyrgyz which had to cross twice border to get from Leylek to the Batkensk area on the shortest way through Vorukh. In October, 2002 the Tajik border services put a check point on border and entered a fare. Several times there were conflicts between the Tajik frontier guards and the Kyrgyz militia. The Kyrgyz also opened a customs and boundary post and began to raise a payment from inhabitants of an enclave.

The situation shows the existence of several problems at once: water and territorial disputes, questions of illegal use of pastures and mass cutting down of the archa woods from Tajiks. These problems appeared in the nineties, originally there were the questions connected only with irrigation water as new lands were developed and water didn't suffice. Later, after disintegration of the USSR, practically all questions of border areas became problem: these are the land plots, pastures, roads, etc.
The big problem is created by a question of uncertainty of frontier, the so-called disputable territories. For example, the inhabitants of mahalla Tochikon say: - “We know where the border is. But the Kyrgyz party declared some sites as own territory, than constantly causes a conflict situation. The disputable territory they call even those lands which nearly 80-90 years belonged to our grandfathers and great-grandfathers". Possibly it is a question of ignorance and insufficient knowledge of the population of a course of the solution of questions of demarcation and frontier delimitation in Isfara's territory from public authorities and the organizations of civil society.

In recent years the conflict situation became much more aggravated and according to the data presented by inhabitants of mahalla Tochikon and representatives of Jamoat Vorukh, periodically there are skirmishes in this territory between simple local population of jamoat mahalla Tochikon and frontier guards of the Kyrgyz Republic for using of pastures.

Executive bodies of the government of the Republic of Tajikistan express serious concern about that the situation can get out of hand: “It is a problem which disturbs us about 20 years since 1989”, the representative of the management of Isfara area speaks, “then in 1989 Kyrgyzstan unilaterally developed the map of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic on which all disputable territories were specified as Kyrgyz and the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic approved this map by the decision of the Supreme Council then transferred to confirmation to the Supreme Council of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic which in turn, having disagreed with this treatment of a question of disputable territories, postponed this document on uncertain terms and finished the question consideration on it”. The parity of Interstate Commission on demarcation and delimitation of frontiers of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan conducts the work on the solution of disputable territories for many years. However the sharpness of the relation of the population and the authorities to the matter, in a strength of mind of people living in this area, conflicts of socially economic situation in this region, unfortunately, didn't allow to resolve an issue with delimitation and demarcation of frontiers in due time.

Moving of citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan on this territory began in the 90th years when these families agreed with the Kyrgyz and bought the land, home at them for accommodation, created roads, carried out the aryks etc. However, the Kyrgyz authorities periodically initiate the questions of release of this territory, declaring that these territories belong to the Kyrgyz Republic. Local authorities, the management of jamoat Vorukh constantly seek to remove sharpness of a question at the level of the population, carry out the explanatory work.

The Health center functions in Jamoat Vorukh in which successfully both the Tajik and Kyrgyz population address, as there are no medical institutions in the next Kyrgyz territory. As a whole many joint cultural events are held in mahalla in which the Tajiks participate equally as well as Kyrgyz. The plain people live peacefully with each other. All are occupied with the solution of economic problems, recovery from the crisis, a survival. In the course of long-term accommodation in the neighborhood there were mixed families which consist from Kyrgyz and Tajiks, now 6 such families live in this territory.

Some part got the land plots of Kyrgyz, mastered them; built houses, invested and consider that it is their lawful territory. Among them there are inhabitants who were compelled to be naturalized that wouldn’t be taken away from houses. But there are inhabitants who got houses in the conditions of independence and now there is no prepared document on the land plots. They bought the lands according to the receipt, and often they don't know who sold them, that is similar transactions were carried out through the third parties.

In recent years there were no new cases of illegal moving of citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic and acquisition of the dwelling by them. However it is necessary to make big efforts and patience for peaceful co-existence in the border territory. Now there were many questions demanding continuous intervention from executive bodies of the government, such as:

1. Now the population of two next makhallas “Tochikon” and “Chakakba” carry out the system for irrigating and drinking water with big investments.
“We practically finished the work in the territory, however we can't finish the work in the “disputable” territory”, say the participants of focus groups.

2. There are the roads in the territory of mahalla “Tochikon” however some Kyrgyz build the fences on that roads according to the recommendation of the Aksay justice, than create discontent of the Tajik population.

3. The serious problem is the using of pastures in this territory in the spring and summer. In time of taking the cattle away, the Kyrgyz party take cattle and demands money. And here the reason that still there is no clear boundary between “Aksay” of the Kyrgyz Republic and “Vorukh” of the Republic of Tajikistan and isn't adjusted a legal basis for regulation of a pasture of cattle and sharing of pastures.

The most important problems in relationship with the neighbors, the participants of focus groups noted:

- Problems of pastures, sharing of roads, water distributions.
- Distribution of water of the channel Mekhnatobod, matchoi channel of Hodzhai Ajlo and flood plain of the river Isfarinka.

Conclusion:

The confirmed fact of accommodation of citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic in the studied border territories of the Republic of Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic, the opinion of people concerning their situation and the status allows to draw the following conclusions:

• There are no problems at the level of communication among the plain population of the Kyrgyz Republic and citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan, there are the benevolent neighbor's relations, being characterized joint participation in public actions, friendship among children …

• Despite the friendship and rather quiet situation the probability of emergence of the interethnic, border conflict exists. Periodically undertaken actions of frontier guards of the Kyrgyz Republic concerning the peace population, being expressed in detention of children of the Republic of Tajikistan grazing cattle and the requirement of money from their parents aggravates a situation in border areas and can provoke aggressive behavior among the population. In particular this situation concerns Vorukh.

• The long-term work enclosed in the houses, the sewed property and the spent means and efforts along with lack of alternative opportunities of an equivalent exchange in the homeland are strong argument for citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan living in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic, to legalize the accommodation in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic and a limiting factor of the return moving to the Republic of Tajikistan. This picture is characteristic for geographical zones captured by the research Arka - Kistakuz and Vorukh – the Aksay area.
• There is other situation in Kalacha-Maksat zone owing to argumentativeness of the territory and insufficiency of knowledge of citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan, socially economic possibility of the area, sharpness of demographic factor: high specific weight of the large Tajik families living in a border mudflow of the Kalacha; acute shortage of allotments on a family (5-6 families can live in common on 4 hundred square meters), possibility of receiving the land plots only in Asht or Matchin regions of Sogdiysky area (more than 140 km from Kalacha) testify to practical lack of prospect of permission of current situation in the disputable territory Maksat - Kalacha.

• The authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic carry periodically out the raids with checks of families of migrants – citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan, try to resolve an issue of their stay in the Kyrgyz Republic territory, raise penalties. The attempts made by them and threats to resolve an issue of illegal migration by means of compulsory eviction piles on the agony and creates conflict situations among the population. Citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan in accordance with the circumstances, the ignorance, who appeared in uncertain situation, have the spite in relation to representatives of authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic. However the character of the relation of representatives of authorities to the fact of illegal migration in the territory subordinated to them varies depending on a personnel and their personal relation to the matter. Often the prejudices and negative attitude to illegal migrants interferes with efficiency of the solution of a question of legalization of migrants in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic, attempt of people independently to resolve an issue of legalization of their location remain unresolved owing to the above-named reasons.

• Especially sharp situation developed in jamoat Vorukh of Isfara area. Representatives of executive bodies of the government in Isfara area consider the developed situation “explosive and demanding the immediate decision”.

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Author: Vladimir Kuzmenkin

Publication date : 04 September 2013 01:00

Source: The world and we

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