11/20/2023, 12.09
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Kyrgyzstan's cultural sovereignty

by Vladimir Rozanskij

At the St Petersburg Forum, Biškek Deputy Prime Minister Edil Bajsalov defends the cultural identity of his people, while also condemning hostility towards Russian culture. 'We respect cultural diversity and seek dialogue between cultures'

St. Petersburg (AsiaNews) - The deputy prime minister of Kyrgyzstan Edil Bajsalov, one of the most brilliant men in the Bishkek government, spoke at the IX International Cultural Forum in St. Petersburg to support the thesis that "Kyrgyzstan, with its rich and exclusive cultural heritage, has always sought to preserve and develop its own culture and identity".

As the young politician explained, "we respect cultural diversity and seek dialogue between cultures, but with this we also want to intervene forcefully against the exclusion and cancellation of the unique and specific cultural traditions of each people", mentioning in this also to the ongoing discussions on the prevalence of Russian culture over those of the "minor peoples" connected to it. In his opinion “cultural sovereignty is not only a right, but also a responsibility for every free and independent nation”.

The problem is that in the age of globalization and information technology "the cultural space encounters unprecedented challenges", continued Bajsalov, and the cultural war takes on ever new forms, not only between different countries, but also within each nation. The Internet and exchanges on a global level have made cultural exchange more accessible, but at the same time "they create the risk of losing national identity and one's own self-awareness", thus inviting the participants in the forum to work together for the protection of cultural heritage, always “respecting and appreciating the culture of other peoples”.

To ensure the absence of any polemical intent, the Kyrgyz deputy prime minister guaranteed that "our republic rejects any attempt to set aside the great Russian culture, or to punish its main representatives by incorrectly extending the issue of collective responsibility ”. Russia is a country of great culture, developed over many centuries, and remains “one of the indisputable centers of world civilization, which continues to play a fundamental role even today, and has an enormous influence on life experience and perception of the world of all humanity", which is why contemporary cancel culture is "short-sighted and doomed to failure" if it limits itself to re-proposing a "rude Eurocentrism and a presumptuous attempt to dictate fashions to the entire world".

Bajsalov also recalled the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who last year spoke at the meeting of graduates of the presidential awards for young cultural workers, warning that "Russia's enemies are trying to erase an entire millennium of our culture and our people", as when "Petr Tchaikovsky's concerts are removed from the billboards" and "the diffusion of Russian writers and their books is prohibited", without specifying which books he was talking about.

The representative of the Kyrgyz government therefore explicitly defended Russian culture from the danger of cancelling, recalling that "Russia invests billions in centers of Orthodox spirituality, in Russian film festivals and in every kind of dissemination even abroad, and this cannot be reduced to dust in a short time.” In this way, Kyrgyzstan also stands up for the defense of traditions, knowing full well that the more it is willing to support those of its Moscow "big brother", the more it will be able to defend itself from the dangers of "Russification", the effect of Russian imperial aims in centuries.

Photo: Flick / Christian Arnal

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