New Video Shows Purported 'Honor Beating' Of Kyrgyz Migrant Woman
By Charles Recknagel
Honor beatings are not a term usually associated with Internet videos. But the genre continues to creep onto the web with clips purportedly showing Kyrgyz migrant women in Russia being beaten by their male compatriots for allegedly shaming their nation.
By Charles Recknagel
The latest video, which first appeared on December 16 on the Russian-language Bilayv website and has since been posted on YouTube, makes for disturbing viewing.
Filmed by the attackers themselves, it apparently shows a young Kyrgyz woman cowering on the platform of an empty suburban train station in an unidentified Russian city and being kicked repeatedly in the back, stomach, and chest by two unseen men.
The sound accompanying the video is a string of curses and profanity in which the men accuse her of having sexual relations with non-Kyrgyz men, specifically Uzbeks and Tajiks.
Whether the victim knows her attackers is not clear.
From the video, it appears that, before the beating begins, she had been riding on the same train as her attackers and that they had seen her speak to a man of another ethnic origin.
The men accuse her of deliberately ignoring them in order to flirt with foreigners.
"You don't respect Kyrgyz guys, huh?" one of them shouts at one point. "You don't respect Kyrgyz and that's why you sat in the train car in front of us, huh? You saw us Kyrgyz guys and immediately stood up and left, right? You left. If I see you with an Uzbek or a Tajik I'll flatten you, you understand? "
The defenseless and terrified girl, who identifies herself only by the first name Ainagul, repeatedly maintains she is innocent. But by the end of the video she swears she will do as they demand and never again speak to a foreign man.
"No, I would rather die than even ask the way from [an Uzbek or Tajik]," she says. "May my mouth be maimed if I even speak to them, I swear it."
The attack on Ainagul is the latest of several videos to periodically appear in recent years portraying migrant Kyrgyz women being brutally assaulted and humiliated by migrant Kyrgyz men.
In one of the most violent of the filmed attacks, the victim is beaten by her Kyrgyz boyfriend and his companions in a metro station after allegedly texting a non-Kyrgyz male acquaintance. She is then taken to her apartment where her Kyrgyz landlord and his friends join in the filmed assault, choking and beating her.
The victim later told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that the attack ended with her being raped by one of her assailants. She filed a criminal complaint against her attackers.
In many of the videos, the men assaulting the women have identified themselves as Kyrgyz "patriots" intent on maintaining the honor of the Kyrgyz women they are beating. Whether the groups conduct and post the assaults independently or in an organized fashion remains unknown.
The videos are causing outrage in Kyrgyzstan, where government officials have publicly condemned the attacks as cowardly. But because the attackers conceal their identities and most victims are badly intimidated, the assaults are proving hard to stop.
Ernis Osmonbaev, press officer for the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry, wrote on his Facebook account this week that Bishkek has appealed to Russian authorities to investigate the videos. "We think that Russian law-enforcement agencies will help identify these individuals," he said.
Meanwhile, the videos continue to sow fear among Kyrgyz migrant workers abroad and their families at home.
Some 40 percent of the estimated 600,000 Kyrgyz citizens working in Russia are women, most of whom are unaccompanied by relatives and are highly vulnerable to abuse and sexual exploitation.