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Chapter 18: Kyrgyzstan
18 Kyrgyzstan Serkan Yalcin Introduction to Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan, or Kyrgyz Republic, is located in Central Asia and borders China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan has 198 500 sq km of land, of which only 7 percent is arable as the country is very mountainous; the Tien Shan Mountains cover approximately 95 percent of Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan, known as the Switzerland of Central Asia, has many natural beauties, among which are perfect mountains, valleys, lakes, and rivers (Kyrgyz Government, 2007). The Kyrgyz have been in Central Asia since the first millennium bc and have carried their name throughout the centuries. In the late 1800s, Kyrgyzstan joined the Russian Empire. After the socialist revolution in 1917, the Kyrgyz together with all the peoples of the former Tsarist Russia formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). After the collapse of the USSR, Kyrgyzstan obtained its independence in a peaceful way on 31 August 1991, the date of the Declaration of Independence (Kyrgyz Government, 2007). In 2005, The Tulip Revolution resulted in the dismissal of the former President Askar Akayev, who had run the country since 1991. The former Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiyev became the new president in July 2005. Kyrgyzstan’s recent concerns are privatization of state-owned enterprises, development of democracy and political freedoms, reduction of corruption, and improving inter-ethnic relations (CIA, 2007). Kyrgyzstan has a multi-ethnic population of around 5 million people, consisting of Kyrgyz, Russians, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Uighurs, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, and Tajiks. The urban population is around 65 percent and the...
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