Soon it became obvious to the landlord that he was selling mostly to Kyrgyz, “although there were exceptions – some of the plots were acquired by Russians, Moldovans and Armenians.”
But unfortunately for what happened next, the Kyrgyz residents didn’t conceal what was occurring but instead began to call their village unofficially Ala-Too, launched a Facebook page ( ) and even created their own Ala-Too web page ( ).
Construction of housing in the village went slowly, far slower than the media attention the villagers soon received. On May 16, 2018, the Kyrgyz news service covered the appearance of “the first Kyrgyz village in Russia” in a celebratory way ( ).
Within days, Russian outlets covered the same story but in a far more negative way, openly speculating as to what the appearance of a Kyrgyz village within the borders of Russia could mean ( and ).
But it became a country-wide issue when Komsomolskaya pravda published an article about the village shortly thereafter ( ). The paper’s journalist interviewed both Kyrgyz and Russian residents, both of whom stressed that there were no problems between them and that the whole thing was being blown out of proportion.
Howvever, Sverintseva says, this was too little and too late, because the Moscow paper featured a caricature “on which an individual of obvious Asiatic appearance sets up on his wooden house the Kyrgyz flag and a tablet reading ‘Pasolstva” thus misspelling the Russian word for embassy.
That article in turn article was followed by a comment from Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, that “the authorities of Russia were very nervous about the growth in the number of mono-ethnic settlements around Moscow. He didn’t mention Ala-Too by name but he might as well have ().
And at about the same time, Rossiiskaya gazeta picked up the story, with its reporter saying he was frightened about going into this Kyrgyz aul, fearing that it would be something like “the slums of Shanghai or worse Mumbai and certain the Kyrgyz residents were violating the law by raising food ().
“The scandal in the media continued with new force, the Fergana journalist says. “Now people were talking not about ‘the seizure by migrants of Russian land from time immemorial’ but about ‘the violation of rights’” because of the ethnicity of the purchasers – even though many of the ethnic Kyrgyz had Russian citizenship.
The Kyrgyz were thus being attacked “not as citizens of another country but as representatives of a ‘non-titular’ ethnos;” and because of that, the liberal media got involved, attacking this violation of the Russian Constitution (