(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)
|Introduction||A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, most of Kyrgyzstan was formally annexed to Russia in 1876. The Kyrgyz staged a major revolt against the Tsarist Empire in 1916 in which almost one-sixth of the Kyrgyz population was killed. Kyrgyzstan became a Soviet republic in 1936 and achieved independence in 1991 when the USSR dissolved. Nationwide demonstrations in the spring of 2005 resulted in the ouster of President Askar AKAYEV, who had run the country since 1990. Subsequent presidential elections in July 2005 were won overwhelmingly by former prime minister Kurmanbek BAKIYEV. The political opposition organized demonstrations in Bishkek in April, May, and November 2006 resulting in the adoption of a new constitution that transferred some of the president’s powers to parliament and the government. In December 2006, the Kyrgyz parliament voted to adopt new amendments, restoring some of the presidential powers lost in the November 2006 constitutional change. By late-September 2007, both previous versions of the constitution were declared illegal, and the country reverted to the AKAYEV-era 2003 constitution, which was subsequently modified in a flawed referendum initiated by BAKIYEV. The president then dissolved parliament, called for early elections, and gained control of the new parliament through his newly-created political party, Ak Jol, in December 2007 elections. Current concerns include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, negative trends in democracy and political freedoms, reduction of corruption, improving interethnic relations, and combating terrorism.|
According to recent historical findings, Kyrgyz history dates back to 201 BC. The early Kyrgyz lived in the upper Yenisey River valley, central Siberia. The discovery of the Pazyryk and Tashtyk cultures show them as a blend of Turkic and Iranian nomadic tribes. Chinese and Muslim sources of the 7th–12th centuries AD describe the Kyrgyz as red-haired, in addition, blond-haired with a fair complexion and green or blue eyes.
The descent of the Kyrgyz from the indigenous Siberian population is confirmed on the other hand by recent genetic studies. Remarkably, 63% of the modern Kyrgyz men share Haplogroup R1a1 (Y-DNA) with Tajiks (64%), Ukrainians (54%), Poles (56%) and even Icelanders (25%). Haplogroup R1a1 (Y-DNA) is believed to be a marker of the Proto-Indo-European language speakers.
The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uyghur Khanate in 840 A.D. Then Kyrgyz quickly moved as far as the Tian Shan range and maintained their dominance over this territory for about 200 years. In the 12th century, however, the Kyrgyz domination had shrunk to the Altay Range and the Sayan Mountains as a result of the rising Mongol expansion. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the Kyrgyz migrated south.
In the early 19th century, the southern part of what is today Kyrgyzstan came under the control of the Khanate of Kokand. The territory, then known in Russian as “Kirgizia”, was formally incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876. The Russian takeover instigated numerous revolts against tsarist authority, and many of the Kyrgyz opted to move to the Pamirs and Afghanistan. In addition, the suppression of the 1916 rebellion in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz to migrate to China. Since many ethnic groups in the region were (and still are) split between neighbouring states, at a time when borders were more porous and less regulated, it was common to move back and forth over the mountains, depending on where life was perceived as better; this might mean better rains for pasture or better government after oppression.
Soviet power was initially established in the region in 1919 and the Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Oblast was created within the Russian SFSR (the term Kara-Kirghiz was used until the mid-1920s by the Russians to distinguish them from the Kazakhs, who were also referred to as Kirghiz). On December 5, 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was established as a full republic of the Soviet Union.
During the 1920s, Kyrgyzstan developed considerably in cultural, educational, and social life. Literacy was greatly improved, and a standard literary language was introduced. Economic and social development also was notable. Many aspects of the Kyrgyz national culture were retained despite the suppression of nationalist activity under Stalin, and, therefore, tensions with the all-Union authorities were constant.
The early years of glasnost had little effect on the political climate in Kyrgyzstan. However, the Republic’s press was permitted to adopt a more liberal stance and to establish a new publication, Literaturny Kirghizstan, by the Union of Writers. Unofficial political groups were forbidden, but several groups that emerged in 1989 to deal with the acute housing crisis were permitted to function.
In June 1990, ethnic tensions between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz surfaced in the Osh Oblast, where Uzbeks form a majority of the population. Violent confrontations ensued, and a state of emergency and curfew were introduced. Order was not restored until August 1990.
The early 1990s brought considerable change to Kyrgyzstan. By then, the Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement (KDM) had developed into a significant political force with support in Parliament. In an upset victory, Askar Akayev, the liberal President of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, was elected to the Presidency in October 1990. The following January, Akayev introduced new government structures and appointed a new government composed mainly of younger, reform-oriented politicians.
In December 1990, the Supreme Soviet voted to change the republic’s name to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. (In 1993, it became the Kyrgyz Republic.) In February 1991, the name of the capital, Frunze, was changed back to its prerevolutionary name of Bishkek. Despite these aesthetic moves toward independence, economic realities seemed to work against secession from the Soviet Union. In a referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union in March 1991, 88.7% of the voters approved the proposal to retain the Soviet Union as a “renewed federation.”
On August 19, 1991, when the State Emergency Committee assumed power in Moscow, there was an attempt to depose Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. After the coup collapsed the following week, Akayev and Vice President German Kuznetsov announced their resignations from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and the entire bureau and secretariat resigned. This was followed by the Supreme Soviet vote declaring independence from the Soviet Union on August 31, 1991.
In October 1991, Akayev ran unopposed and was elected president of the new independent Republic by direct ballot, receiving 95% of the votes cast. Together with the representatives of seven other Republics that same month, he signed the Treaty of the New Economic Community. Finally, on December 21, 1991, Kyrgyzstan joined with the other four Central Asian Republics to formally enter the new Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1992, Kyrgyzstan joined the UN and the CSCE.
The “Tulip Revolution,” after the parliamentary elections in March 2005, forced President Akayev’s resignation on April 4, 2005. Opposition leaders formed a coalition and a new government was formed under President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Prime Minister Feliks Kulov. The nation’s capital was also looted during the protests.
Political stability appears to be elusive, however, as various groups and factions allegedly linked to organized crime are jockeying for power. Three of the 75 members of Parliament elected in March 2005 were assassinated, and another member was assassinated on 10 May 2006 shortly after winning his murdered brother’s seat in a by-election. All four are reputed to have been directly involved in major illegal business ventures.
Current concerns in Kyrgyzstan include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and political freedoms, inter-ethnic relations, and terrorism.
|Geography||Location: Central Asia, west of China
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 75 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 198,500 sq km
land: 191,300 sq km
water: 7,200 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than South Dakota
Land boundaries: total: 3,878 km
border countries: China 858 km, Kazakhstan 1,051 km, Tajikistan 870 km, Uzbekistan 1,099 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: dry continental to polar in high Tien Shan; subtropical in southwest (Fergana Valley); temperate in northern foothill zone
Terrain: peaks of Tien Shan and associated valleys and basins encompass entire nation
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Kara-Daryya (Karadar’ya) 132 m
highest point: Jengish Chokusu (Pik Pobedy) 7,439 m
Natural resources: abundant hydropower; significant deposits of gold and rare earth metals; locally exploitable coal, oil, and natural gas; other deposits of nepheline, mercury, bismuth, lead, and zinc
Land use: arable land: 6.55%
permanent crops: 0.28%
note: Kyrgyzstan has the world’s largest natural-growth walnut forest (2005)
Irrigated land: 10,720 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 46.5 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 10.08 cu km/yr (3%/3%/94%)
per capita: 1,916 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment – current issues: water pollution; many people get their water directly from contaminated streams and wells; as a result, water-borne diseases are prevalent; increasing soil salinity from faulty irrigation practices
Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: landlocked; entirely mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range; many tall peaks, glaciers, and high-altitude lakes
|Politics||The 1993 constitution defines the form of government as a democratic republic. The executive branch includes a president and prime minister. The parliament currently is unicameral. The judicial branch comprises a Supreme Court, a Constitutional Court, local courts, and a Chief Prosecutor.
In March 2002, in the southern district of Aksy, five people protesting the arbitrary arrest of an opposition politician were shot dead by police, sparking nationwide protests. President Akayev initiated a constitutional reform process which initially included the participation of a broad range of government, civil, and social representatives in an open dialogue, leading to a February 2003 referendum marred by voting irregularities. The amendments to the constitution approved by the referendum resulted in stronger control by the president and weakened the parliament and the Constitutional Court. Parliamentary elections for a new, 75-seat unicameral legislature were held on February 27 and March 13, 2005, but were widely viewed as corrupt. The subsequent protests led to a bloodless coup on March 24, after which Akayev fled the country and was replaced by acting president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. (see: Tulip Revolution).
Interim government leaders are developing a new governing structure for the country and working to resolve outstanding constitutional issues. On July 10, 2005, acting president Bakiyev won the presidential election in a landslide, with 88.9% of the vote, and was inaugurated on 14 August. However, initial public support for the new administration substantially declined in subsequent months as a result of its apparent inability to solve the corruption problems that have plagued the country since its independence from the Soviet Union, along with the murders of several members of parliament. Largescale protests against president Bakiyev took place in Bishkek in April and November of 2006, with opposition leaders accusing the president of failing to live up to his election promises to reform the country’s constitution and transfer many of his presidential powers to parliament.
|People||Population: 5,356,869 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.9% (male 817,369/female 784,782)
15-64 years: 64% (male 1,681,440/female 1,748,222)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 127,263/female 197,793) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 24.2 years
male: 23.3 years
female: 25 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.38% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 23.31 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.97 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 32.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 37.33 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 27 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 69.12 years
male: 65.12 years
female: 73.33 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.67 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,900 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Kyrgyzstani(s)
Ethnic groups: Kyrgyz 64.9%, Uzbek 13.8%, Russian 12.5%, Dungan 1.1%, Ukrainian 1%, Uygur 1%, other 5.7% (1999 census)
Religions: Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%
Languages: Kyrgyz 64.7% (official), Uzbek 13.6%, Russian 12.5% (official), Dungun 1%, other 8.2% (1999 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%