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Vladimir Putin, Hero of Kyrgyzstan?

Written by on Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Kyrgyzstan, Politics and Society
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Translation of Malika’s post (RUS)

peak

Finally! Kyrgyzstan will now have a mountain peak named after Putin and a star named after the epic hero Manas. What other toponymic surprises await the nation?

Kyrgyzstan has decided to take toponomy (the science of place names and their origins) seriously. A national committee recently suggested that we get rid of all “Russian” names. For example, names such as Maevka or Lebedinovka would be replaced with their Kyrgyz analogues. The author of the idea was fired the next day. Now they’re onto mountains and stars.

To name or not to name one of the country’s mountain peaks after the Russian prime minister – that was the question. The Kyrgyz parliament recently convened to discuss this pressing issue. Exactly what peak will receive the honor has not been decided yet. Some parliamentarians are suggesting a four thousand meter peak, others something higher (lest Vladimir Vladimirovich get offended, they explain).

However, the proposal has met with some opposition as well. Omurbek Tekebaev, leader of the Ata-meken party, pointed out that, by law, mountain peaks can only be named after deceased persons.

While some are drawing up plans to immortalize the name of Russia’s prime minister in rock, other representatives of the people believe it would make more sense to award Vladimir Vladimirovich a title. Deputy Kamchibek Tashiev suggested the Order of Manas and the Order of Dank as possible candidatures, as well as Hero of Kyrgyzstan, “because we believe he acts as a unifying force for all [CIS] countries.”

Kyrgyzstan already has peaks named after Gorky, Chapaev, Przhevalsky and Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky. One of the peaks of the Terskey Ala-Too mountain range bears the name of Russia’s first president Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin. Recently the map of Kyrgyzstan became adorned with Santa Claus Peak. Now we will have Putin Peak. Despite a stormy debate, the resolution won a majority of votes.

But it wasn’t over yet. Why not name a star after Manas, the hero of the Kyrgyz national epic? This was the question posed to deputies by Topchubek Turgunaliev, chairman of the Manas Film Epic Foundation. According to his letter, the foundation wrote up several draft bills in September of last year. As Topchubek Turgunalievich notes, “our greatest forefather, Manas, had a star that never faded, as it is sung in this grandiose epic, and the star of Manas is a star of foremost importance for Kyrgyzstan.”

Deputies from the majority coalition approved the idea and inserted some additions of their own. The people’s representatives suggested that all prison inmates be required to study Manas. The process, they believe, will help inmates cleanse their spirits. There will be no problem supplying them with necessary literature, MPs say.

While the deputies debate on what to name mountain peaks and what inmates ought to read, ordinary teachers and doctors continue to wait for promised salary increases. According to healthcare minister Sabyrbek Dzhumabekov, healthcare worker salaries will increase two and a half fold. Teachers are also promised considerable raises. We’ll just have to wait and see…

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