Kabay Karabekov, chairman of the Kyrgyz lower house's Committee on Public Associations and Information Policy, told a parliamentary session on 8 January that the draft law on the state language currently under debate is intended as an electioneering device to please Kyrgyz speakers by pushing out of government inhabitants of the northern part of the country who do not know Kyrgyz well, akipress.org reported. The government draft requires that all officials have sufficient command of Kyrgyz, the state language, to be able to conduct business in it. Many ethnic Kyrgyz and Russians in the north have only a limited command of Kyrgyz. Karabekov also called for financial support for the study of Russian because of its importance in the CIS, but said there is no need to give Uzbek the status of an official language even though there are about 800,000 ethnic Uzbeks living in Kyrgyzstan (out of a total population of 5.4 million), because Uzbek is closely related to Kyrgyz.
Akipress.org, January 09, 2004