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Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan): Animal Sacrifice for Improvement of Legislative Work

(May 3, 2011) On April 21, 2011, before the beginning of the plenary session, all 120 members of the Kyrgyz Parliament (Zhogorku Kinesh) conducted a sacrificial killing of seven lambs. This religious act conducted in the hall of the legislature was aimed at removing evil spirits from the parliament building, according to the Parliament's Speaker. The superstitious legislators believed that the building was possessed, and that that precluded their conducting normal legislative work, forcing them instead to engage in fistfights with each other. (Aleksei Usov, Bloodletting in Kyrgyz Parliament [in Russian], NOVYI REGION (Apr. 22, 2011).)

According to the parliamentarians, they performed the rites of sacrificial bloodletting in order to “clean the building of the ghosts of the past and clear the road for productive legislating.” (Id.) Because the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan declares the country a secular nation where religion is separated from the state, the Speaker made a special statement assuring voters that public funds were not used for this ceremony. About US$15 was deducted from each parliamentarian's salary in order to purchase the lambs. (Kyrgyz Parliamentarians Expel Evil Spirits [in Russian], REGNUM INFORMATION AGENCY (May 2, 2011).)

It appears that religious rites and other national traditions are commonly used by legislators in the post-Soviet states. In 2009, a computer server in the Parliament of Uzbekistan was spread with chicken blood, a procedure aimed at resolving then existing information technology problems. (Tolgonai Osmongazieva, Zhogorku Shamans [in Russian], 24.KG (Apr. 21, 2011).)

In Russia, in order to improve attendance at sessions by the members of the State Duma (lower house of the legislature), a ban on drinking alcoholic beverages in the Duma was lifted in March 2011. In order to relieve the stress of parliamentary work, Duma members are officially allowed to drink vodka in the cafeteria before they start legislative debates. (Ellada Karibova, Vodka-Happy Duma [in Russian], NEWSINFO.RU (Apr. 5, 2011).)