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Tue 23 September 2014
28 Dhu al-Qa`dah 1435 AH  

Introduction
Kazakhstan
Uzbekistan
Tajikistan
Kyrghyzstan
Turkmenistan
Islamic Movements
Oil & Politics
Art & Music

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KYRGYZSTAN

Kyrgyzstan is a small, poor, landlocked mountainous country with a predominantly agricultural economy. The people are of the same stock as the Kazakhs but were divided by Stalin into a separate country for political reasons. Since independence Kyrgyzstan has been the most progressive Central Asian country in carrying out market reforms. However these have spectacularly failed and the country is currently having to default on its enormous international debts. The government was initially very free and open being the only non-communist government in Central Asia. However the increasing unrest and tensions between the country’s different ethnic groups and the economic instability have resulted in a more authoritative and repressive style of governance emerging. This is upsetting the western donors.

Kyrgyzstan
· Kyrgyzstan was annexed by Russia in 1864; it achieved independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
· 125,000 sq miles
· 93 % mountain ranges
· border countries: China 858 km, Kazakhstan 1,051 km, Tajikistan 870 km, Uzbekistan 1,099 km

Capital
· Bishkek

Population
· 4,753,003
· Backgrounds: Kirghiz 52.4%, Russian 18%, Uzbek 12.9%, Ukrainian 2.5%, German 2.4%, other 11.8%
· Kirghiz (Kyrgyz) - official language, Russian - official language
· Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%
· Litertacy rate: 97%

Kyrgyz
· Same stock as Kazakhs, divided into two peoples by Stalin
· Strong influence of Shamanism in their nomadic traditions
· Did not support the communist party
· Instead many joined the Basmachi rebels

Leader
· Askar Akayev
· Associate of Soviet era physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov
· Ran unopposed for president at independence in 1991
· First and only non communist to be elected as head of a Central Asian republic
· Has had problems dealing with the conflicting demands of the different ethnic groups
· As a result has become authoritarian and repressive, banning media and political opposition

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

Economy
· used to be heavily subsidised by the Russians, these subsidies stopped at independence
· first Central Asian state to adopt an IMF program and to privatise state owned businesses and land
· in 1998 became the first Central Asian state to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
· landlocked geographical position and mountainous terrain makes exports very difficult
· free market reforms temporarily improved economic situation curbing inflation and unemployment
· however large international debts have begun to take their toll and as the economic situation worsens Kyrgyzstan has begun defaulting on its debt repayments

 

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