Those following Kyrgyzstan know by now that Kimmo Kiljunen, who led an international commission's investigation into the violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010, has been declared persona non grata
by that country's parliament.
Lawmakers not only disagreed with the commission's conclusions
(much of them pointing to a significant Kyrgyz role in the violence); some, guided by articles in newspapers in Kiljunen's Finnish homeland, alleged he had not been an objective investigator and in fact may have been bribed to smear the Kyrgyz people.
Serious charges and something that made me curious.
I can't read Finnish, so I don't know exactly what the newspapers said. But I have seen information in Russian, citing some of those articles and what they said.
For instance, according to a posting on centrasia.ru
, the newspaper "Etela Saimaa" said the recent victory of the nationalist True Finns party in elections not only cost Kiljunen his seat in parliament but possibly made him sensitive to matters involving nationalism, such as the rising nationalist sentiment in Kyrgyzstan that Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev has warned about several times in recent weeks.
Then there was the article in "Satakunnan Kansa" that purportedly connected Kiljunen to former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari and the eventual secession of Kosovo from Serbia to alleged ethnic Uzbek desires to secede from Kyrgyzstan. "Kosovo" is a loaded word in southern Kyrgyzstan these days. Last summer, there were several demonstrations against OSCE plans to deploy a small, unarmed police force in southern Kyrgyzstan. Some of the demonstrators held signs that read "No Kosovo in Kyrgyzstan," alluding to their fears that the OSCE would favor a separate Uzbek state in southern Kyrgyzstan the way the demonstrators believed the OSCE had helped Kosovo break away from Serbia.
Then there was the reported article in "Turun Sanomat" that, apparently based on "sources," alleged Kiljunen had flat out been bribed by "Uzbek separatists" to cast the ethnic Kyrgyz in a bad light in the commission's report.
Kiljunen denies any bias in the commission's report or impropriety on his part. But he is now on a list of people who cannot enter Kyrgyzstan.
And for the record, not all the deputies in Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted in favor of naming Kiljunen persona non grata. MP Shirin Aitmatova, for example, claims she abstained and is trying to find out who voted "for" on her behalf when the Kiljunen matter was put to a vote.
-- Bruce Pannier