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Kyrgyz Film About 1916 Massacre Makes Way To Screens

  • RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

At least 150,000 Kyrgyz were killed by tsarist troops, and hundreds of thousands fled to the neighboring Chinese province of Xinjiang.

At least 150,000 Kyrgyz were killed by tsarist troops, and hundreds of thousands fled to the neighboring Chinese province of Xinjiang.

A Kyrgyz film set during a 1916 uprising against tsarist Russia will be shown in Kyrgyzstan following weeks of uncertainty about its fate.

Officials at the Sayakbai Manaschy foundation, which financed the production, told RFE/RL on September 27 that the film Urkun will be shown for the first time at the Bishkek House of Cinema on September 28.

After that, the foundation said, the movie will be shown in cinemas across the country.

The film's producer, Mukhtar Atanaliev, earlier said Kyrgyz officials were hesitant to approve the film, fearing it would offend Moscow.

The dramatic film tells the story of one family that lived through the uprising that ensued when Russia decided to draft Central Asians into the army as unarmed workers to build fortifications during World War I.

Many Kyrgyz and Kazakhs refused the order and openly rebelled against the Russian authorities.

At least 150,000 Kyrgyz were killed by tsarist troops, and hundreds of thousands fled to the neighboring Chinese province of Xinjiang.

In August, a public commission in Kyrgyzstan concluded that the 1916 mass crackdown was genocide.

In April, Russian State Duma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin rejected the genocide allegations, saying that "all nations suffered 100 years ago."

Some Kyrgyz commentators have speculated that approval of the film was delayed until after Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Bishkek on September 16 to attend a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

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