Concern over Kazakh Religious Row

December 11, 2006

Author: Natalia Antelava

Source: BBC News

From one angle it looks as if an earthquake has hit the village. From another, it is obvious that whatever the disaster, it picked its victims carefully.

In pristine snow by a shimmering lake, the ruins of 13 houses lie scattered amid the untouched cottages of their neighbours.

The iron fence around them is smashed. Just by its side, two Barbie dolls lie abandoned, their blue plastic eyes staring into the distance.

"This was the living room," Marina says, pointing at the pile of rubble.

She picks up her bundled-up three-year-old son and remembers how representatives of the local administration burst through a hole they made in the wall. Their unexpected visit, she says, was announced only by a loud rumble of a bulldozer.