As Managing Editor of neweurasia, I want to take a moment to address something that’s been concerning me throughout the crisis in Southern Kyrgyzstan, namely, the conflation of speculation with fact, ultimately and especially regarding the issue of blame and the problem of evil. To begin with, this is what the international journalistic community thinks it knows and only that: as affirmed by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, it appears that gangs of masked men attacked, in an organized and premeditated fashion, Uzbek and Kyrgyz targets in Osh.
That’s all we know right now. Even the Commissioner is unsure as to these gangs’ intentions, although it’s more than reasonable to conclude they were seeking to provoke a reaction. More importantly, we don’t know who they are. There is no smoking gun — yet. In its place there are a lot of theories buzzing around, everything ranging from Russian special forces to secret agents of the Bakiyev network. But these are only theories at the moment. Until we have hard evidence, e.g., a confession, one that meets international standards of propriety, we do not know what was the plan behind these attacks.