Kyrgyzstan country profile

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A Central Asian state bordering China, Kyrgyzstan became independent with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

It has some oil and gas and a developing gold mining sector, but relies on imports for most of its energy needs.

Resentment at widespread poverty and ethnic divisions between north and south have spilled over into violence, and the country's first two post-Soviet presidents were swept from power by popular discontent.

Settled by Kyrgyz tribes from southern Siberia in the 17th century, the area was ruled by various regional powers before coming under Russian and then Soviet rule.

Most of its six million people are Turkic-speaking Muslims.

In 2014 Kyrgyzstan shut a US military base which had supplied US troops in Afghanistan with personnel and cargo since 2001. Russia retains a military airbase in the country.

FACTS

Kyrgyz Republic

Capital: Bishkek

  • Population 6 million

  • Area 199,900 sq km (77,182 sq miles)

  • Major languages Kyrgyz, Russian

  • Major religions Islam, Christianity

  • Life expectancy 67 years (men), 75 years (women)

  • Currency som

Getty Images

LEADER

President: Sadyr Japarov

Image source, Abylai Saralayev/Getty Images

Frontrunner Sadyr Japarov won a landslide victory in the January 2021 presidential election.

He also acquired sweeping new powers after voters amended the constitution in a referendum.

Mr Japarov effectively ran the country after President Sooronbay Jeenbekov was ousted in a popular revolt in October 2020 against allegedly rigged parliamentary elections.

A nationalist opposition politician, Sadyr Japarov spent four years in exile during the rule of President Almazbek Atambayev and his successor and ally Mr Jeenbekov, and was imprisoned for taking a rival politician hostage until his supporters freed him in October.

He has pledged to make tackling corruption his main priority, and to maintain close relations with Russia.

MEDIA

TIMELINE

1685 - Kyrgyz people settle in the area that is now Kyrgyzstan; area conquered by the Oirats, a Mongol people, after centuries of Turkic rule.

1758 - Oirats defeated by Chinese Manchus and Kyrgyz become nominal subjects of Chinese empire.

Early 19th century - Kyrgyz come under the jurisdiction of the Uzbek khanate of Kokand, to the west.

1876 - Russian forces incorporate what is now Kyrgyzstan into the Russian empire.

1991 - Kyrgyzstan acquires its present name, and declares independence. Askar Akayev is president.

2005 - Mass protests force President Akayev from office in the Tulip Revolution.

2010 - Opposition protests sweep President Kurmanbek Bakiyev from power.

2021 - Sadyr Japarov wins election with enhanced executive powers.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Kyrgyzstan hopes to attract tourists to its wild mountain landscapes

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