03 June 2011

It's Not Our Fault Because the Other Guys Bribed Him

So the Kyrgyz parliament doesn't like Kimmo Kilunjen, the head of the international commission that investigated what happened in Osh last year.  No surprise (why was the US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan  surprised?  seems like the only surprise was Kyrgyzstan's allowing the investigation to happen at all) since almost everyone at any level in Kyrgyzstan government has either done nothing about what happened, or has blamed Uzbeks.  I don't know why this commission would have changed anything unless you were really optimistic.

I did think it was interesting to see that one of the accusations brought against Kilunjen, and one of the reasons for discrediting the commission, was that he accepted bribes from Uzbek separatists to make the report one-sided.

Corruption is truly rampant in Kyrgyzstan and everyone knows it.  You just have to drive around town for a few minutes to get pulled over by the police and asked for a bribe.  As my husband has been interviewing people about the disputes they've been involved in, it is very common for people to accuse the other side of bribing the police (if they go to the police, which is certainly not a given) if the dispute is not resolved in their favor.  Everyone has concrete evidence that there is plenty of corruption, and everyone assumes (not unreasonably) there is a lot more.

One of the results of this corruption, however, both the known and assumed, is that it's easy to say that if things don't go your way in a dispute, then there was corruption involved. You don't ever have to take responsibility if you did something wrong.  I don't know that this happens often with regular people, but it's pretty clear to be that parliament will continue with its denial that the official response to the June events was absolutely appalling partly because it's just accusing the other side of paying a bribe. 

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