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Extremists from Kyrgyzstan see new opportunities in Kazakhstan and Eurasian Union

30 january 2015, 02:11
©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti

Extremists from Kyrgyzstan are getting more opportunities or moving to and through Kazakhstan and other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) with the enactment of the latter, Tengrinews reports citing a Kazakh political analyst Dosym Satpayev.

Kyrgyzstan is planning to join the union of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia in May 2015. 

The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic union that has an integrated single market of 176 million people and a gross domestic product of over 4 trillion U.S. dollars. It introduces free movement of goods, capital, services and people and provides for common transport, agriculture and energy policies.

"Kyrgyzstan's accession into the EEU will automatically grant this country privileges of a member of the single economic space, which was specifically created for free movement of goods and services, and most importantly - of labor. So this will create more opportunities for Kyrgyz people to migrate to Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and later Armenia. This pose a threat to a certain extent," he said.

According to the expert, Kyrgyzstan is among the highest terrorist risks zones in Central Asia. This is due to two revolutions in the country, which affected the efficiency of governmental agencies, in particular law enforcement and border guards. Satpayev explained that the taint had been observed in the country since 2005. During the subsequent years the authorities were unable to counter the activities of extremist organizations.

Another contributing factor to the rise of extremism in Kyrgyzstan, according to Satpyaev, is its poor socio-economic performance. The level of unemployment and poverty is particularly high in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan, he said.

“It is not surprising that various extremist structures have long been expanding their operations in Southern Kyrgyzstan, primarily Hizb ut-Tahrir. The organization has traditionally had a strong presence in the south of the country," the expert said.

In addition, Satpayev said that extremists from Kyrgyzstan were expanding their activities geographically. He reminded that a lot of citizens of Kyrgyzstan were traveling to Syria and Iraq.

With this combination of factors in place, the new accession may be posing an extremist threat to the other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, he said.

"Where there is labor migration, there is a risk of the influx of representatives of criminal and extremist structures," Satpayev said.

Often, two of these structures merge into one – a trend present in Kyrgyzstan and Kazkahstan. "There is a problem with prisons, where people convicted of extremism recruit new members among crime bosses," the analyst explained.

However, not everyone thinks the threat is so imminent. Political scientist Rustam Burnashev stressed that the Union was created for economic, not political purposes.

"I am quite skeptical about the information about extremism in Kyrgyzstan, at least in the format in which it is being presented. Of course, there are internal problems, a significant number of outstanding issues that are pushing particular groups towards radical actions. But I do not think that this factor will somehow affect the EEU because the Union applies exclusively to economic sphere," he said.

Reporting by Dmitry Khegai, writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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