Kyrgyzstan (EAN) – Penalties for swearing and drinking alcohol in public places in Kyrgyzstan have been stiffened as officials pursue a morality agenda aimed squarely at the nation’s youth.
Changes to the law approved by President Almazbek Atambayev on January 23 will see an increase in the fine for cursing in public places to 1,500 som ($21.50) from 300 som. The fine for drinking in improper locations, including the workplace, will rise tenfold to 1,000 som ($14).
The revised law will come into effect in early February.
Curiously, as Kloop.kg notes, the backers of the law from the Respublika-Ata-Jurt faction in parliament, were unable to specify which words in particular would fall foul of the swearing law. As to the drinking, police will be permitted to mount raids on apartment courtyards as they seek out offenders loitering in doorways and children’s playgrounds brews in hand.
One aspect of the changes to the law addresses the matter of underage drinking. Parents of minors found consuming intoxicating beverages will also now face much greater penalties. Fines for antisocial behaviour involving minors are also been made more severe.
Kyrgyzstan is waging a dual battle on the morality front. While tacitly discouraging citizens from dabbling in what they perceive as excessively strict forms of Islam, the authorities routinely promote initiatives intended to appease the burgeoning conservative lobby. The drinking and swearing fines fall squarely within that agenda, although it remains to be seen whether police officers — many of whom are themselves ardent practitioners of public swearing — will be able to comprehensively enforce the rules.
This report prepared by Eurasianet.org