President of Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Zhaparov on the incident involving foreign students: "We are all equal before justice, before the face of fairness, and before national laws!"

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Today, on May 20, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Sadyr Zhaparov, delivered an address regarding the incident that occurred on May 17-18 in Bishkek.

Text of the Head of State's address.

Translation into English (original in Kyrgyz language):

“Dear people of Kyrgyzstan!

Unfortunately, we are faced with an unpleasant event in the life of our society that worries us all.

As a result of the actions of groups that, without understanding the essence of what was happening, succumbed to provocations, our people and the state are in a state of shock and indignation.

We all saw the consequences of how various unverified information and video reels about the incident that occurred on May 13 were distributed on the Internet on May 18th.

Yes, if law enforcement agencies had promptly taken action and disclosed that information in full to the public in a timely manner, perhaps these events would not have happened.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs detained the perpetrators of the incident that occurred on May 13 and conducted the required investigation.

But, unfortunately, other forces interested in aggravating the situation managed to take advantage of the situation.

The demands of our patriotic youth to stop the illegal migration of foreign nationals and take tough measures against those who allow such activities are certainly justified.

Such demands have been made also in the past. The relevant institutions have analyzed these issues and have begun to take the necessary measures some months ago.

As you have all witnessed, work to identify illegal overstays has already been carried out by the State Committee for National Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

However, as I have already noted, by believing everything that appears on the Internet, not being able to objectively assess and analyze the situation, this youth succumbed to provocative calls that inflamed national feelings and brought about harm to our state interests. This very unfortunate incident occured at the time when Kyrgyzstan had embarked on the path of development.  This is a serious stain to our people, well known since ancient times for our hospitality.

This is, indeed, very sad!

We will not allow, as in the expression “a fly in the ointment spoils a barrel of honey,” for a few unprincipled youngsters, seeking easy prey, and provocateurs, intending to inflate the situation into large-scale mass disturbances, to realize their vile plans!

While the incident of May 13 was being investigated, the perpetrators are being detained and investigations will be carried out to the fullest. An abridged video of the incident that was uploaded online on May 18, really infuriated young people and was accompanied by provocative online posts inciting a very false and displaced sense of national pride.

I want to say directly that those who were unable to come to power and do not approve of the current campaign against corruption, specifically created WhatsApp groups and fake accounts to spread such provocative information.

However, on the night of May 18, efforts were made to stop young people going out onto the streets to prevent further escalation of the situation and more serious incidents.

You are all very much aware that our young people gathered on that night were not dispersed by force.

We had intelligence information that among the youth were those who with bad intentions wanted to provoke mass unrest the ones with fire arms were also present.

If the police began to disperse people by brutal force, bloggers and provocateurs were already ready among them, who, as usual, planned to distribute video messages calling for further large-scale protests and mass disturbances with the following false claim: “Our government, instead of protecting the Kyrgyz, on the contrary, supports the outsiders and intends to humiliate our youth."

Our misled young patriots did not know about this extremely dangerous situation. And not only young people, but the entire population did not possess the full information and they could believe and say: “Yes, this is true.”

Therefore, I gave the law enforcement agencies an order: “Take control of the situation, continuously carry out explanatory work with young people and try to stabilize the situation without any clashes.”

If there were any futher looting, attacks on police, or more attacks on students in dormitories, we would take tough measures.

Fortunately, this did not happen and the situation was kept under the control.

Of course, in the beginning there were a few hooligans who succeeded with the attack on one of the students' places of residence.

We were able to stop them in time when they intended to cause further unrest and commit more crimes.

Now they will all receive their well-deserved punishment.

We have now established a strong rule of law in our state.

Now the time has come to instill order.

Without order, no state can develop.

Even if there are any criminals, violence against them is unacceptable.

For punishment there are courts, there is the state.

So we all learned an important lesson from this incident.

I hope that in the future our people will consider fake news and calls for protests very carefully and with calm heads, without yielding to any provocations.

If such an event repeats itself, from now on law enforcement agencies will revert to their forceful dispersal from the very first minutes.

Now the public security forces are no longer as weak as before. Whoever it is be it a Kyrgyz national or a foreigner if he or she encroaches on the integrity of our state or causes unrest they will be severely punished.

Honorable citizens of Kyrgyzstan, patriotic youth!

We just like you stand for Kyrgyzstan.

Our patriotism may be even greater than yours, but certainly not less. We, like you, want our people to live with their heads held high.

That is why we invest every effort in the development of the country.

Our country cannot rise on its own; it moves forward, maintaining close connections with the outside world.

It is necessary to have strong ties with all countries of the world.

I call on you to explore the world, you all need to travel and visit other nations.

When our youth travels abroad, they will learn to distinguish between black and white, gain tolerance and experience of other cultures.

Currently, more than a million of our compatriots study and work abroad.

Like our citizens, people from abroad also come to us to study and work with us.

We should celebrate them and be content about this development.

You know very well what it is all about: friendship, communication, experience and tourism. You know that in legal language all this is framed as international relations, people diplomacy, tourism, etc.

That is why all countries live in contact with the outside world, investing and attracting investments into countries, thus growing and prospering.

This is the classic model used by all mainly developed countries.

Like many other countries, the Kyrgyzstan of today is beginning to embrace this path.

As many of you currently yourself propose and state “let’s promote international tourism.”

You say that “we have wonderful places, let’s attract tourists, let them come and see that we are no worse than others.”

You yourself said that the tourism industry brings so much profit to our country.

Others are also struggling to attract tourists to their country.

We should not allow any damage to our country’s reputation in the eyes of the international community.

Another problem is that if the tourists who come to us do not comply with generally accepted cultural norms, then let us slowly prompt them.

This is just one example, but, you all agree, we can talk about the improvement of our hospitality.

Our children also live abroad; as we say in our tradition - when a person is forty steps from his home, they become vulnerable - in Kyrgyz ‘musapyr’.

I say this because we need to try not to undermine our relations with the outside world. Let’s improve investment, attract tourism and most certainly maintain and cherish our national custom of hospitality.

At the very least, we must remember that our sons and daughters may face the same treatment abroad.

All our citizens are concerned right now and are rightfully raising their voices about the unfolded events.

Dear compatriots!

Do not forget that foreigners who come to our country also have a homeland; after obtaining education and the benefits of work they all eventually return to their homeland.

Let's not forget that they have made the decision to pursue education in institutions of Kyrgyzstan, they came from different places, they also spend quite a lot of resources in our land and are to be treated as our guests.

We all must fully understand that these foreign students value Kyrgyz education, are interested to learn here, they come here and pay for their study and living costs.

Don't we know that the taxes on their funds stay with us? Educational institutions, the services they provide, and small businesses benefit and these very actions bring millions of dollars into our economy.

If jobs in the country are occupied only by foreigners, and our citizens remain unemployed, then, without any doubt, we can and must regulate and correct this situation.

However, it is no secret that our citizens are currently refusing to pursue work in some sectors.

According to current statistics, more than 6 thousand and 500 jobs are vacant today.

Tens of thousands more jobs will be created in the coming years as we begin to implement large projects.

This figure was not taken from the sky. This information is provided by entrepreneurs and relevant ministries.

Let us all then start working.

Since our compatriots do not want to seek employment in these jobs, our entrepreneurs are forced to invite foreign labor migrants and enter into contracts with them.

Let's be honest, this is the reality of today. This is in stark contrast to the situation before 2020, what we are now.

The difference is like between night and day.

We never dreamed that there would be a flow of labor migrants into our country.

If they are not hired now and there is a labor shortage, then enterprises that are just starting up will have to cease and close. Entrepreneurs will go bankrupt.

Our economy will not recover and grow as we all want it to. We must not forget this.

I'll provide you with an example.

In the United Arab Emirates, the local population is about a million people.  While the number of migrants coming from abroad is seven million. And they boost the economy of the host country without any problems.

More than a million of our citizens live and study abroad.  Whereas the number of migrant workers working in our country today is only 5 thousand 322 people. The number of students studying who came from abroad is 42 thousand 620 people.

We should celebrate this phenomenon.

However, the recent unfortunate events that occurred did not correspond to any of our aspirations and values that I spoke about earlier.

Dear compatriots!

We are trying to learn from history and execute good decisions based on the unfortunate events that have occurred.

You are well informed what sad events happened for trivial reasons. If you remember, the Osh events in the 1990s and subsequent incidents in 2010 were ignited by a spark and led to tragic consequences.

Don't forget that this is a very vulnerable, sensitive issue.

Education begins with the family. Let each of us, parents, be responsible for our sons and daughters.

Let's instill in our children that insulting and humiliating innocent people is contrary to our identity and humanity and especially is not befitting a muslim person. As a last resort, if the situation gets out of control, the issue should be investigated and resolved by law enforcement agencies within the framework of the law.

I call on parents to make sure that your children do not fall under the influence of the mob and do not spoil their fate due to young age and inexperience!

Dear people of Kyrgyzstan!

We renounce all illegal actions that harm our country, infringe on the interests of our people, damage the international reputation of our country and violate the moral principles of our society!

The people of Kyrgyzstan elected me and tasked with this high responsibility.

Of course, I must strive to justify and deliver on this sacred trust of our nation!

First of all, I would like to urge our youth to be patient and not give in to dubious calls.

Strict measures will be taken against those who use our young people, bring them to the streets, create disturbances similar to these, and realize their vile intentions.

I also know that such provocateurs will come out tomorrow and start shouting: “The government has begun to detain its own people.”

However, I want to emphasize that the peace of people who have entrusted their fate to the state, the unity, dignity of the country, its development are much higher than the narrow and false interests of the group of provocateurs.

We vowed to develop the country and bring it into the legal framework.

We are all equal before justice and in the face of the national laws!

We do not have the right to divide and see someone higher, someone lower.

Our guests who come to our country know and understand this well.

We also know that there are doubts as to why the authorities did not disperse the crowd by force in the first minutes of that day, but supported their own citizens, although they were the ones to blame at the beginning of the conflict. I mentioned above why force was not used.

From now on, the requirement of order will be strict. Do not have any doubt about it!

Let there be peace, harmony and development in our country!”