Kyrgyzstan (the Kyrgyz Republic or Kyrgyzstan) is a state in the north-east of Central Asia bordering Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China. The area is 199,951 km². The population is 6,256,700 (2018), of which Kyrgyz are 52%, Russians are 22%, Uzbeks are 13%, there are also Ukrainians, Germans, and Tatars, about 70 nationalities in total. The state language is Kyrgyz, and the majority of believers are Sunni Muslims and Christians. The currency is som. It enters the CIS. The capital is Bishkek (966,000 inhabitants). Other large cities are Osh, Jalalabad and Tokmak.
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Geography and Climate
Kyrgyzstan lies within the mountain systems of the Tien Shan (the highest point is Pobeda Peak, 7,439 m) and Pamir-Alai. More than 90% of the territory lies at altitudes higher than 1,500 m above sea level. Mountain peaks are often covered by glaciers, the largest of which are South and North Inilchek and Kaindy. Mountain ranges are divided by valleys and hollows (Issyk-Kul, Chui, Fergana).
The main rivers are Naryn, Chu and Talas. The rivers of Kyrgyzstan are used as rafting routes. There are lots of small and large lakes (about 3,000), among which Lake Issyk-Kul, “the pearl of the Tian Shan”, stands out. The climate is continental: average temperatures range from -1 to -8°C in January in the valleys and up to -27°C in the highlands, in July 15-27°C and 5°C respectively. Annual rainfall ranges from 180 mm in the east to 1,000 mm in the southwest. Temperatures on the coast of Issyk-Kul are less contrasting and moderate all year round.
Flora and fauna
Vegetation of Kyrgyzstan is very diverse (4 thousand species of plants) and has a clearly marked altitude zone: the foothills are covered with semi-deserts and dry steppes with fragments of pistachio woodlands, and above 1,200 m above sea level begins the forest belt. Forests are formed by Tien Shan spruce, fir, and juniper. The high mountains (above 3000-3500 m) are covered with alpine meadows.
The animal world, protected in the Issyk-Kul and Sary-Chelek nature reserves and the Ala-Archa National Park is represented in the mountain forests by bear, lynx, wolf, wild boar, marten, snow leopards, mountain goats and sheep, numerous small mammals and birds, and in treeless foothills – mainly rodents, birds and reptiles. Kirghiz, though having ancient and rich cultural traditions, like the majority of peoples formed as nomadic herders, do not have any significant architectural monuments.
The most ancient traces of human habitation on the territory of Kyrgyzstan found in the Central Tien Shan (near Lake Issyk-Kul) and in the Fergana Valley date back to the Paleolithic. Paleolithic tools were also found in the south, in the Kapchigai area. Neolithic settlements were found in the vicinity of Bishkek and Naryn. In the caves in the valley of the Sary-Dzhaz River, rock carvings of animals were found. The tribes who lived here in V-III millennia B.C. made stone implements, clay crockery, used bow and arrow. The beginning of cattle breeding and agriculture belongs to this time. Later, in the Bronze Age, tools made of bronze and then of copper were used more and more often. Separate groups of farmers and cattle-breeders lived in different districts of Kirgizia.
The economic way of life and social structure of the population changed considerably in the 7th-6th centuries B.C. Use of iron tools and weapons became wide spread, nomads joined together and formed tribal unions, tillage communities used slave’s work. The first of the known associations of tribes, the Sakis, formed in the north of the territory in question and existed from the 7th to the 3rd century B.C. Later, in the 2nd century B.C., a part of the Sak and Massaget tribes joined the tribal union headed by the Usun tribe, which existed till the 5th century A.D. In the 2nd century B.C. the southern regions were part of the Parcani state, and from the 1st to the 4th century A.D. they were under the dominion of the Kushan Empire.
At the beginning of the 8th century A.D. the political power was in the hands of the Turkic confederation of Turkic tribes, and in the middle of the century these lands were seized by the Karluks tribal union. During this period the number of cities and other settlements in the valleys of the Chu and Talas Rivers increased. Farmers began to actively trade not only with nomadic tribes, but also with large caravans, traveling through the Chu River valley on the Silk Road from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia. It was at this time that the Kyrgyz first appeared here.
The first written mention of the Kyrgyz dates back to 569. It is reported that in that year a Byzantine ambassador received as a gift a Kyrgyz slave. Kyrgyz tribes are also mentioned as allies of the Turks in their unsuccessful campaigns against the Uighurs in the 8th-9th centuries. In the early 13th century the Kyrgyz were conquered by the Mongols and only in 1399 they regained their independence.
In the 16th century some Kyrgyz tribes became dependent on the Mongols, while others were subordinated to the Kazakhs. For several centuries, the Kyrgyz were at the mercy of some or other neighboring peoples. In the middle of the 18th century, the Kyrgyz formed certain clan-tribal relations, which remained in the 20th century. In the middle of the 18th century, the Kyrgyz formed certain clan-tribal relations that persisted in the 20th century. The elders of the various clans of the tribe were members of the tribal council. Small tribes were headed by chiefs – manaps.
In the early 19th century the Kyrgyz fell into dependence on the Kokand Khanate. The Kirghiz sought to free themselves from the yoke of the khans, in different areas of the country there were spontaneous uprisings: in 1842-1843 – in Issyk-Kul region, in 1845 – around Osh, uprisings Tamlas and Chui Kirghiz occurred in 1857-1858, the largest broke out in 1873-1876.
The annexation of the Kyrgyz lands to Russia began in the mid-1850s. The Russian army, followed by immigrants from the European part of Russia, captured the best and most fertile lands. In 1867 Northern Kyrgyzstan was included in the Semirechenskaya oblast of Russia, and in 1876 the southern part of the country was included in the Syr Darya and Fergana oblasts.
Between 1903 and 1913 the population of Kyrgyzstan decreased by about 7-10% and the number of herds by 27%. Revolts against Russia occurred at Andijan in 1898 and 1916. As a result of suppression of these uprisings the Kyrgyz population decreased by about 30-40% (some died, some were forced to emigrate to Chinese Turkestan or Afghanistan) and the number of cattle decreased by 60-70%.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, two political organizations of Kyrgyzstan united in the struggle for national independence: the Shura-i-Islam group (Council of Islam) and the nationalist party Alashorda. However, in April 1918 the central government of Bolsheviks, whose emissaries conducted an intensive agitation among Kyrgyz population of miners’ settlements and cities, announced about Kyrgyzstan’s incorporation into Turkestan ASSR. Basmachi units offered armed resistance to Soviet power, but failed to make serious progress. The final suppression of resistance occurred at the end of 1920.
The Soviet regime has made significant changes in the life of the Kyrgyz. In 1917 equality of men and women was proclaimed, in 1921 the law prohibited polygamy and kalym (bride price). In 1924 Kyrgyzstan was formed as a separate autonomous province of Kara-Kyrgyzstan. In May, 1925 the province was renamed as the Kyrgyz Oblast, and in February, 1926 it received the status of the Kyrgyz ASSR.
In 1920-1930s Kyrgyz was rapidly developing industry. By 1940 the Kyrgyz coal mines gave 88% of all hard coal used in Central Asia. Non-ferrous metallurgy, antimony and mercury production, food industry (sugar production) and some light industries were also developing. Beginning in 1929, collectivization of agriculture, which had previously been in the hands of semi-nomadic tribes and clans, was carried out. Opponents of collectivization – rich cattle breeders and landowners (beys) – were persecuted, killed, imprisoned; some were deprived of their property and condemned to starvation. By 1941 in Kyrgyzstan there were approx. By 1941 there were approximately 300,000 cattle-breeding collective farms in Kyrgyzstan.
As a result of the Stalinist repressions, which reached their peak in 1936-1938, the scientific and creative intelligentsia and the Muslim clergymen were almost completely annihilated. The repression destroyed books and manuscripts in Arabic.
The industrialization of Kyrgyzstan continued in parallel with the development of agriculture even after World War II. In the early 1980s a movement emerged to establish contacts with the Kyrgyz living in other areas of the USSR, China, and Afghanistan.
A democratic movement began in Kyrgyzstan in 1990. In October 1990 a democratic coalition succeeded in achieving elections in which the first president of Kyrgyzstan was elected. On August 31, 1991, less than two weeks after the putsch in Moscow, the government declared the independence of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Kyrgyzstan faced economic difficulties associated with the transition to a market economy, and interethnic conflicts intensified. Relations with the Uzbek minority deteriorated: inter-ethnic clashes occurred in the Osh province. Similar demonstrations took place in neighboring Tajikistan in relation to the Kyrgyz minority.
In 2004 aggregate GDP reached only $2.4 billion, $430 per capita. Kyrgyzstan is the second poorest country in the region after Tajikistan. More than half of the population is engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry.
As of early February 2005, Kyrgyzstan’s external public debt reached $1.92 billion. The Kyrgyz economy shrank by almost half over 1990-1996, largely due to the shutdown of industrial enterprises in the north of the country following the mass exodus of skilled Russian workers. Industry provides only a quarter of Kyrgyz GDP. According to observers, industry in agrarian Kyrgyzstan was artificially created during the Soviet era and can hardly be restored. About 40% of the industrial output comes from gold mining, which is the only sector actively developing in the republic (in 2003, Kyrgyzstan produced 22.5 tonnes of gold, coming third in the CIS after Russia and Uzbekistan).
In Kyrgyzstan, according to various estimates, more than 70% of state enterprises have been privatized. Most of the large enterprises were controlled by relatives of the first president Akayev (see details).
The controlling stakes of the Kyrgyz energy sector holdings – Electric Stations OJSC and Kyrgyzneftegaz OJSC – are state-owned.
The population of Kyrgyzstan is 5.05 million people (current statistics for 2006). This is much more than in 1959 (2.065 million), 1970 (2.935 million), 1979 (3.523 million), 1989 (4.258) and 1999 (4.823). Until the 1960s, the population of the republic grew rapidly due to migration and natural increase, which was especially significant among rural Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and other Central Asian peoples. The main source of population growth after the 1970s was a gradually decreasing natural increase with an increasing migratory outflow of the Russian and Russian-speaking population.
The core of the population of the republic – 69.5% – are Kyrgyz. The Kyrgyz live all over the country and prevail in most rural areas. Russians make up 9% of the population, most of them live in urban areas. Uzbeks, who make up 14.5% of the population, are concentrated mainly in Osh oblast. Other ethnic groups with significant numbers include Dungans, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, Jews, Kazakhs, Uighurs, and Tajiks.
The majority of those who left the country after 1991 were Russians, representatives of other Slavic peoples, as well as Germans and Jews. The Kyrgyz, who initially moved into the country intensively from neighboring Tajikistan and the PRC in the early years of independence, after 2000 left the country, mainly for economic reasons to the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan (see Gastarbeiters).
The main part of the population in the south of modern Kyrgyzstan is made up by Kyrgyz (majority) and Uzbeks. In addition to them, Tajiks, Uighurs, Dungans and others form a noticeable part of the population. Only slightly more than 1% of them are Russians and representatives of Russian-speaking diasporas.
Most of the population is concentrated in Chui valley on the border with Kazakhstan and Fergana valley on the border with Uzbekistan, in valleys of Naryn and Talas rivers, and also in Issyk-Kul hollow.
The Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgystan (kyrgyzstan), officially known as the Kyrgyz Republic (kyrgyz Respublika), is a state in northeastern Central Asia, mainly within the western and central Tien Shan Mountains.
It borders Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest, and China to the southeast and east.
Shortly after the collapse of the USSR, simultaneously with the beginning of the formation of independent post-Soviet states, one of which was Kyrgyzstan (the former Kirghiz SSR), the country began renaming names of countries and cities according to the phonetics of national languages. Thus, instead of the Russian name of the country “Kyrgyzstan,” the name “Kyrgyzstan” appeared.
On August 17, 1995, there was issued the Order of the Presidential Administration of Russian Federation #1495, which approved the list of names of former Soviet republics. In the Order, this republic was listed under the name “Kyrgyz Republic” (full form), “Kyrgyzstan” (short form). This name is used in the documents of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
In Kyrgyzstan itself, where Russian has an official status, documents use the name “Kyrgyzstan”.
History of Kyrgyzstan before 1991
- The first state formations on the territory of modern Kirghizia appeared in the II century B.C. when the southern farming regions of the country became a part of the Parcani state. – The transition to a settled way of life also began for the nomads inhabiting Northern Kyrgyzstan. – The lands of modern Kyrgyzstan were conquered by the Mongols. – Formation of the Kokand Khanate with its center in Fergana
- In 1825 was founded Kokand fortress Pishpek – the capital of modern Kyrgyzstan.
- In 1855-1864 the territory of Northern Kyrgyzstan was conquered by detachments of Colonel Chernyaev which left Verny. Pishpek was taken by storm. Southern Kyrgyzstan after the defeat of the Kokand Khanate in 1876 was included to the Russian Empire.
- After the October revolution, the Kyrgyz, along with all the peoples of Central Asia, became part of the Soviet republic.
- In 1918 Kyrgyzstan was a part of Turkestan ASSR.
- In 1924, Kara-Kirghiz (later Kyrgyz) autonomous region within the RSFSR was founded, from 1926 it was renamed the Kirghiz ASSR.
- In 1936, Kyrgyzstan received the status of union republic (SSR). – A conflict in Osh oblast between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz. – Askar Akayev, the first president of Kyrgyzstan, was elected.
- August 31, 1991 during the collapse of the USSR, the independence of Kyrgyzstan was proclaimed. 1993 The first Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic as an independent sovereign state was adopted, and the official name of the country was changed to the Kyrgyz Republic instead of Kyrgyzstan. 1993 Kyrgyzstan introduced its own national currency – the som. and 2000 – attempts by militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to break into the territory of Kyrgyzstan (now the Batken Province), the so called Batken events. The militant groups were defeated. -March 18, 2002 – clashes between the population and law enforcement agencies in Aksy district. The population came out in defense of the imprisoned parliament member Azimbek Beknazarov and demanded to deny ratification of the 1999 agreement on the Kyrgyz-Chinese state border. The opposition staged numerous protests in several regions of the country and in Bishkek. In clashes with police, five residents of Aksy district were killed and several dozen injured. The crisis in Aksy led to the resignation of Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the government. 2005 – Tulip Revolution – An acute crisis of power is revealed after another parliamentary election, when reports of rigged results anger residents of the relatively poorer southern regions (predominantly Jalalabad and Osh). Rallies of thousands of people gather under the banners and slogans of various parties, including the youth KelKel and Birge. Demonstrators seize regional administration buildings and clashes with riot police take place. The uprising ended with the demonstrators seizing power in Bishkek and overthrowing Askar Akaev’s regime, followed by pogroms and numerous looting of stores and shopping malls. The opposition, led by Kurmanbek Bakiyev, came to power.
- After some time Askar Akaev, who had fled the country, signed a statement of resignation from the presidency after negotiations with the opposition.
- As a result of the early elections in the summer of 2005, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, one of the leaders of the opposition, was elected president. Felix Kulov becomes prime minister. However, this does not lead to the normalization of life in the country, and the struggle for power among the former opposition figures continues.
- In February 2006 the chairman of the Kyrgyz parliament Omurbek Tekebayev, who came into conflict with President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, resigned. On March 2, 2006 Marat Sultanov, who had been the head of the National Bank and the Minister of Finance under Askar Akayev, was elected as the new chairman of the parliament.
- On April 29, the new opposition holds a meeting with the demands to fulfill the promises made by the tandem during the presidential election. In particular, they demanded constitutional reform. They also demanded that criminal elements be excluded from power. Bakiyev and Kulov came out to the protesters and promised to fulfill these demands.
- The reform process was hopelessly delayed. President Bakiyev initially created the Constitutional Council. However, some time later and unexpectedly for many, Bakiyev expanded the composition of the Constitutional Council, bureaucratizing the process of preparing the new constitution. The draft developed by the enlarged Constitutional Assembly (about 300 people) did not remove the opposition’s questions, and even President Bakiyev himself tried to continue the work of discussing and finalizing it. There was no end in sight to the process of revision, which increased the tension among the opposition and former associates of Bakiyev and Kulov during the 2005 revolution. 2006 – The opposition began an open-ended rally against the protracted constitutional reform. The protesters demanded the resignation of President Bakiyev and Prime Minister Kulov. 2006 – passions run high. Bakiyev introduces a draft to parliament, but pro-opposition deputies intend to boycott parliamentary sessions. Between 3,000 and 5,000 people participate in a rally in support of the For Reform movement on Ala-Too Square. The protesters’ demands: constitutional reform, reform of Kyrgyz TV and creation of public television, dismissal of the Kongantiev brothers (Prosecutor General and Head of the Department of Internal Affairs of Bishkek), Mayor of Bishkek Nogoev, Acting Interior Minister Guronov, creation of people’s government, destruction of the family business and transfer of Akayev’s property to the people. It became known about the counter-meeting scheduled by the authorities for November 7. At 23 o’clock Tekebayev proposed to declare the parliament a Constituent Assembly and in the absence of a quorum to adopt a new draft constitution. 2006 – Parliament formed a Constituent Assembly around 1am. Signatures for a new version of the constitution are collected. At 12 o’clock in the afternoon the adoption of the constitution was announced. According to it, the elected bodies, the president and the parliament, will retain their powers until 2010. There will be a new government, but the president will not take part in its formation. There is a clash between opposition protesters and those who support Bakiyev and Kulov. There is talk of a provocation. 2006 – President Bakiyev signs a new version of the constitution, which is said to have significantly expanded the powers of the parliament (Jogorku Kenesh) to reduce the powers of the president. However, this constitution was not allowed to last long. 2006 – The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic resigned (accepted by the President). According to analysts, the resignation of the Government and expected later dissolution of Parliament should have allowed the full force of the Basic Law, according to which the party which won the elections should form the Government. 2006 – under the threat of the dissolution of parliament by President Bakiyev and with the participation of pro-president deputies, the parliament adopted a new (second in two months) version of the Constitution, which came into force from the moment of its publication on January 16, 2007. In it the president returned to the positions lost in the previous constitution, strengthening his power. 2006 – The political tandem of President Bakiyev and Prime Minister Kulov fell apart. Kulov twice failed to win the votes of deputies to confirm him as prime minister. President Bakiyev did not propose his candidacy a third time. 2007 – The parliament approved Azim Isabekov, the acting minister of agriculture, as the prime minister of the country. 2007 – The Constitutional Court of the Kyrgyz Republic ruled to cancel the version of the Constitution that had been in effect since January 16, 2007.
The February 18, 2003 version of the Constitution came back into force. 2007 – Parliament approved Igor Chudinov as prime minister.
It has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established on March 20, 1992). It enters the CIS.
- State system
- State system of the Kyrgyz Republic is determined by the Constitution adopted on May 5, 1993.
- The head of state is president elected by popular vote for 5 years. Next election will be held in 2009.
- Unicameral Parliament (Jogorku Kenesh) consists of 90 deputies elected for the term of 5 years by party lists.
Head of the government is prime minister appointed by the president upon the proposal of the parliament (deputies from the political party which won more than 50 percent of the seats).
Kyrgyzstan is landlocked. More than three-quarters of Kyrgyzstan’s territory is occupied by mountains. The highest point of the country is Pobeda Peak, which is 7,439 m high.
The territory of Kyrgyzstan is situated within the boundaries of two mountain systems. The northeastern part of it, the largest in terms of area, lies within the Tien Shan, the southwestern part lies within the Pamir-Alai. The state borders of Kyrgyzstan mainly run along the ridges of the mountain ranges. Only in the north and southwest, in the densely populated Chui and Fergana valleys, are the foothills and foothill plains.
The entire territory of the Republic lies above 500 m above sea level, more than half of it is located at altitudes of 1000 to 3000 m, and about one third – at altitudes of 3000 to 4000 m. Mountain ranges occupy about a quarter of the territory and extend in parallel chains mainly in the latitudinal direction. In the east, the main Tien Shan ridges converge in the Meridional Range, creating a powerful mountain unit. Here (on the border with China) rises Victory Peak (7439 m).
- The most important orographic elements:
- Akshyirak massif,
- the Kokshal-Too Range (the highest point is Dankov Peak, 5,982 m),
- the Terskey Ala-Too Range,
- Kungei Ala-Too Range, ,
the Fergana Ridge.
In the far northeast is one of the main attractions of Kyrgyzstan, the mountain lake Issyk-Kul, on the shores of which there are numerous vacation homes and tourist centers. The lake is located in the Issyk-Kul hollow, between the Terskey Ala-Too (from the south) and Kungey Ala-Too (from the north) ranges.
- The western part of Kyrgyzstan is located within the Western Tien Shan. Its most important orographic elements are:
- Talas valley,
Talas Ala-Too Range, .
In the south-west, Kyrgyzstan includes the northern, eastern and southern margins of the Fergana Basin with its foothills. The Fergana Valley itself belongs to Uzbekistan.
In the south, Kyrgyzstan includes the northern slope of the Turkestan Range, the Alai Range, the Alai valley and the northern slope of the Zaalai Range (Independence Peak (formerly Lenin Peak), 7,134 m), which forms the northern fringe of the Pamirs.