The whole world is anxiously talking about the European crisis because of the unprecedented influx of refugees on the continent from the Middle East. It would seem that the countries, where tolerance and democracy are virtually the highest values, should be happy to receive refugees. But no, a part of the society strongly opposes them and holds protest actions.
Central Asia has not yet faced with such an influx of people. However, the people in Kyrgyzstan are not sure that they could avoid this problem: it already exists here to some extend. After June 2010 events, residents of the neighboring republics, particularly Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, rushed to Kyrgyzstan in the hope for new life.
As of September 2015, according to official data, the republic has 183 people with refugee status. 24.kg news agency decided to ask its respondents whether the country is able to receive much more people, and what help the citizens can render to the refugees.
Lyudmila Rykova, an accountant:
- I could make a single payment. I have no opportunity to share my housing, I live modestly. You understand, the salary of people is low, the largest sum I am able to give is 500 soms. This is only help I can render, I would gladly give more, but can not.
We are not aware of the aims of the refugees, most of them do not have documents, they can create havoc in our small country. We are humane people, of course, and are glad to see guests, but only if the guests are kind and well-intentioned. In the case of refugees, the time factor plays an important role, we can not let them live in our houses for a long time.
Kubatbek Boronov, Minister of Emergency Situations:
- I do not know, I do not think about it. Anyway, I will not stay away, I'll help any way I can. Besides civil duty, I, as a head of the ministry which will deal with the matter that is with the placement of refugees, will strongly contribute to the resolving of the situation too.
-How many people can Kyrgyzstan receive?
- At present, up to 15,000. If we mobilize forces of civil protection, I think, we will be able to receive 30-40 thousand people.
Maria Engraf, store manager:
- I believe that the government should take these situations under special control. Help and assistance should be rendered in place of disaster to improve the situation there, so the people do not have to flee from their country to a foreign land. What we can donate - it is another question, because I can not promise anything specific, like so many others. I will provide financial assistance, of course, but I find it difficult to voice the exact amount. It can be 5,000 soms, or maybe $ 500 or more, it all depends on the level of organization of funds raising. I have to be sure that all the money will be really spent on the needs of refugees.
- Will you be able to provide a spare room in your apartment or a part of land for their needs?
- No, I do not have such an opportunity. I think very few people will open their arms to refugees, nobody will take such responsibility.
Irina Selezneva, a teacher:
-We have to help the people, but if they are really refugees. I personally worry that the photographs, which are published by media, show mostly adult men, capable of taking up arms and defending their country, but they chose to escape, escape from problems. So why someone should keep strangers at his/her own expense? It's not fair.
- What kind of help could you personally render to refugees?
I could provide them with housing for a period of time or to help financially, but as far as possible. I have two children, they are growing rapidly, and all the clothes that are small for them I give to the children's homes, or to the funds, communities who distribute them among the needy.
I could give one room in my house for some of them, but only for a time, not on a permanent basis. It is important that these people to give homage to the country that received them. Situation in which the refugees are not doing anything, and they are fed and watered for the money deducted from the taxes of citizens of the republic is unacceptable.
Ruslan Abdrakhmanov, chief of the Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic:
-This is a delicate issue. I can not express my opinion, because it will be perceived as the position of the whole army of the republic.
Furhatzhon Mavlyanov, sports coach:
- We could receive a small number of refugees - 500 or 1,000 people, why not? The government could give the land that is not used now and it does not plan to do anything with it in future.
War is war, people flee, and their motives are quite clear: everyone wants to live. But if we are able to help everyone - is another question. I am a tolerant man, I'm in favor of receiving a part of them, but looking at our economic situation, I understand that we can not assist many.
Aziret Asan uulu, a programmer:
- I often make financial contributions to the various collection points, for example, I sent 4,000 soms to Japan, where Fukushima-1 accident occurred, or I just sent money to people in need on various programs. But I always make contributions to the proven people, I would not want my money to become a brick in the house of a deputy or someone else. If there are organized official collection points, I will help needy people as possible. I will give them unnecessary clothes and other things.
-And will you be able to share the land plot or living area?
- Unfortunately no. I live in one-room apartment, if I have more, I would provide it for a family. But now I can not - it will be too crowded.
Mairambek Beishenov, head of department on work with refugees of the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Youth:
- Foreign citizens who want to obtain refugee status turn to our ministry with a request and we consider it within 6 months. If refugees do not have a permanent place of residence, we offer them a place in a temporary accommodation center, where they can live up to obtaining refugee status or until they will find housing. The center can accommodate up to 40-50 people.
Anara Dautalieva, human rights activist:
- I think that in the 21st century the world turned to be in a difficult situation in many respects. One of these is the problem of refugees. We are facing great challenges. The situation in which the refugees are now in Europe is complex and requires an adequate solution. God forbid Kyrgyzstan to face with a similar situation. If it happens, then, as a citizen, I am ready to provide all possible support.
- What kind of assistance will it be?
- At first, I would have received them, i.e. provided accommodation (room) for only one family - within the possibilities. And I would treat them humanely. Because this situation can happen to each person, because the politics is an unpredictable thing and you do not know what will happen tomorrow and who will govern the country. Then I would have participated in the improvement of their lives - in the search for jobs, housing and so on, my friends and relatives would also assist in it.
- In case of a similar influx, what will be the behavior of the Kyrgyzstanis?
- We are a great nation, which has a long history. At the core of our mentality and culture is hospitality and generosity. I think that we have not lost these qualities in the modern world, our people would receive refugees in difficult life situation.
For me there is no difference what a person it is (skin color, eye shape). Recently, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that they would receive only the Christians, but for me religion does not matter. Whoever knocked at my door, I will not stay indifferent.
Kursan Asanov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs:
- This is a very topical issue, though, I think that Kyrgyzstan will not face with this problem in the near future. But if it happens, then, as an ordinary citizen, I will not stay on the sidelines, I will render all possible assistance - food, finances and so on.
Ernest Abdyzhaparov, film director:
- The question is very difficult because Kyrgyzstan is in a difficult economic situation. But our people have experience in a similar situation: in the middle of the last century, we had a large influx of people, they were not refugees, but nevertheless then the population warmly received them. And if we face with the same problem as Europe, we will certainly respond to calls for help including me.
- Would you be able to provide a spare room in your apartment or a part of the land?
- I, unfortunately, have no opportunity to provide land or housing. But as they say, come and take pot luck with us, so I can help with clothes, food or money.
For example, when there were June events in the south of the country in 2010, we have gathered a group of people and went there to provide psychological and moral support. We showed films, talked to the locals, all of these we have done on our own. There are no indifferent people in the country. In such a complex situation the refugees mostly need moral support rather than money, because they are fleeing not from a better life.
Sanzhar Kazakbaev, director of a café:
- It's a complex question, considering that there has been no mass arrival of refugees in Kyrgyzstan. If this happens, we are ready to help them, for example, feed them for some days. But the most important that we are ready to do is to provide jobs. I think it's just what refugees need most urgently. And it's the little that we are able to give to the needy. But we can not pull the strap alone, we need cooperation, division of responsibilities. In this regard, we will need help from the state. Only together we can overcome these difficulties.