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​Cold December of 1986

December 18 2015, 17:45

By Lyazzat Karazhanova

Image 129 years ago among the young people who went to a peaceful meeting in Alma-Aty there was 20-year-old Bagdagul Kainbai... But even now, years later, it is difficult for her to remember those events of December 17, 1986.

Bagdagul is the native of Narynkol District of Almaty region. Now she lives in the village of Zhankeldin, Kyzylkoga District, Atyrau Oblast. She was sent here and started her first job after graduation from the university. Later she married a local man and deiced to stay here.

During December events she was the 3rd year student of the French Language School of Teachers' Training Foreign Languages University in Almaty.

– On December 17, in the morning we, as usual, came to the University. However there was a turmoil in the auditorium. TV and radio broadcasted that the replacement of the head of the government is planned. Then one of the teachers whispered to us: "The youth is gathering on the square. Kunayev will make a speech. You should decide whether you go or not". Together with Gulbana Turbekova, Maigul Omirzaka (the native of Narynkol District of Almaty Oblast) and Sholpan Kereeva (from the Western Kazakhstan) with whom she shared a room in the university hostel, they went to the square. They went there not from idle interest, but overwhelmed with patriotic feeling. The square was full of people, – says Bagdagul.

There were young people holding posters. From the tribune the voices could be heard: "Kolbin should go! Kunaev should stay!" After several hours of staying in the square Bagdagul and her roommates got cold and decided to leave, because they knew that the porter in the hostel locks the door for the night. They agreed that they will come to the square the next day. However, 20-year-old Bagdagul couldn't even imagine that after they left the square, the massacre started.

– The next morning we all came back to the square. We thought that if there are wounded people, they would need our help, but there wasn't a soul on the square. There were neither traces of blood, nor garbage, nothing! As if there weren't thousands of people here yesterday. And at that moment the car stopped near them, – says Bagdagul.

The soldiers came out of the car and started to beat the girls on the head with the binoculars. Tow girls managed to escape. The girls cried and shouted, but soldiers didn't pay any attention and dragged the girls along holding by their hair. Then the soldiers pushed Bagdagul and Maigul into the van.

Bagdagul Kaiynbai: -Inside the van there already were about forty young people, like us, – recollects Bagdagul. – The students of Almaty university of architecture, Kazakh institute of agriculture, Almaty veterinary institute, Kazakh teacher training university and other students from higher education universities. All beaten, all embittered. The van was driving for a long time and then suddenly stopped among the woods. All of us were pushed out outside and were left in the woods. They threatened us: "If you speak ill about Kolbin, you will regret!". The overcoats were torn and hairs disheveled. The cold held down all our bodies, and we were wondering the woods and couldn't find a way out for a long time.

After several hours exhausted students reached the end tram stop. And there were young people everywhere -all beaten and wounded.

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They returned to the hostel at 10 o'clock at night. They had no energy even to speak, and were frozen to death. The fellow students who were glad to see them, gave them hot tea, prepared warm baths for their feet, covered with warm blankets.

– There was panic in the university, KGB officers and militia arrived and interrogated students. Those who were spotted on the photos and movies taken by militia were interrogated severely. After interrogation at the Russian faculty, they started to interrogate the students of the Kazakh faculty. But then interrogation was stopped. We were lucky, but many others didn't have such luck and it eats you up, – says Bagdagul.

Young girls and guys matured in one day. Many were condemned, many became disabled. After hypothermia Bagdagul started to have problems with ears. She spent many days in hospital, and skipped classes because of illness.

– The teachers advised me to pass examinations after one year. They said that meanwhile I can work at school. So, the university sent me to work to Kyzylkoga District of Atyrau Oblast, – says Bagdagul.

At the beginning she was teaching at school, but she started to lose hearing and couldn't continue her work at school. She received 3d group disability, but she didn't' get university diploma even one year after that.

Later she married and had two girls. Her husband Konys Salykov died early and Bagdagul became a widow at the age of 30. She devoted all her life to her daughters.

Now Bagdagul for health reasons left teacher's job and works as the laboratory assistant. Her eldest daughter continues family tradition and works as the teacher in elementary school at the Miyaly secondary school..

Her friend Maigul, who participated with her in December events, teaches French in one of the schools at Narynkol District of Almaty Oblast.

They call each other over the phone ...
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