Kyrgyzstan (variously transliterated as Kirgizia or Kirghizia), officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, it is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the southeast.
Capital: (and largest city) Bishkek
Official languages: Kyrgyz, Russian
Independence from the Soviet Union:
- Declared 31 August 1991
- Completed 25 December 1991
- Total 199,900 km²
Population: - July 2005 estimate 5,264,000
Currency: Som (KGS)
Time zone: KGT (UTC+6)
Internet TLD: .kg
Calling code: +996
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 with a fair complexion and green or blue eyes.
The descent of the Kyrgyz from the autochthonous 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 pre-revolutionary 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: privatisation of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and political freedoms, inter-ethnic relations, and terrorism.
For a more information about Kyrgyzstan see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyrgyzstan) see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, February 2008.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in February 2008. E. & O.E.
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