Kazakhstan, Krishnas, and Video on the Web

by Nathan Hamm on 11/27/2006 · 4 comments

Kazakhstan likes to point out its tolerance for all peoples and religions. In the “Kazakhstan Unveiled” video that Roman Vassilenko recently put on YouTube, a note briefly appears informing the viewer that Kazakhstan is “Host of the Global Interfaith Religious Conference and a contributor to the dialogue of civilizations.”

A video of the destruction of Hare Krishna cottages that recently showed up on Google Video tells a different story.KZ Blog recently wrote about the destruction of the community’s homes and today has much more, including the video I posted above as well as a video of coverage on local television news.

The following two videos also show the Krishna community in Kazakhstan.
These present a very different image of Kazakhstan than does the latest promotional video at YouTube.

Photos of the destruction of the homes can be found here, and much more can be found at Palace of the Soul.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 4 comments }

Dolkun November 27, 2006 at 9:36 pm

Jesus, that’s some video.

I’d never seen the Krishna cottages, but I heard that they were the only ones in that part of the mountains that didn’t have massive walls around them and that they were the most well-kept and trash free.

I doubt this is a specific attack on the religion. It is more likely a land grab, which apparently trumps freedom of religion.

Dolkun November 27, 2006 at 9:45 pm

… which underscores that protecting human rights requires active, not passive, measures.

Jeremy November 30, 2006 at 3:44 am

I actually spent a few afternoons at the Krishna community where this video was taken. Being a vegetarian in Almaty, I became friends with several Hare Krishnas.

Seeing this video is heart breaking. I know how hard people worked to improve these homes, and how much effort went into the adjacent farm to make it a source of sustainable agriculture.

Kyrgyz Kid (Borat) December 5, 2006 at 4:51 am

As Borat would say, it was not a sexy time for Krishna followers. http://www.borat2008.com
But fortunately, I do not think it was a case of sectarian violence in Kazakstan. Krishna cottages were built illegally on someone’s private territory, that’s the story I heard.

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