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 AKAEV, who had run the country since 1990. Subsequent presidential elections in July 2005 were won overwhelmingly by former prime minister Kurmanbek BAKIEV. Over the next few years, the new president manipulated the parliament to accrue new powers for himself. In July 2009, after months of harassment against his opponents and media critics, BAKIEV won re-election in a presidential campaign that the international community deemed flawed. In April 2010, nationwide protests led to the resignation and expulsion of BAKIEV. He was replaced by President Roza OTUNBAEVA who will serve as president until 31 December 2011 according to a presidential decree issued 19 May 2010. Presidential elections are scheduled to be held in October 2011. Continuing concerns include: endemic corruption, poor interethnic relations, and terrorism.
landlocked; entirely mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range; 94% of the country is 1,000 m above sea level with an average elevation of 2,750 m; many tall peaks, glaciers, and high-altitude lakes
Almazbek ATAMBAYEV elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held on 30 October 2011 (next scheduled for 2017); prime minister nominated by the parliamentary party holding more than 50% of the seats; if no such party exists, the president selects the party that will form a coalition majority and government
Almazbek ATAMBAYEV elected president; percent of vote - Almazbek ATAMBAYEV 63.2%, Adakhan MADUMAROV 14.7%, Kamchybek TASHIYEV 14.3%, other candidates 7.8%
Supreme Court; Constitutional Court (judges of both the Supreme and Constitutional Courts are appointed for 10-year terms by the Jogorku Kengesh on the recommendation of the president; their mandatory retirement age is 70 years); Higher Court of Arbitration; Local Courts (judges appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Council on Legal Affairs for a probationary period of five years, then 10 years)
Ar-Namys (Dignity) Party [Feliks KULOV]; Ata-Jurt (Homeland) [Kamchybek TASHIEV, Akhmat KELDIBEKOV]; Ata-Meken (Fatherland) [Omurbek TEKEBAEV]; Butun Kyrgyzstan (All Kyrgyzstan) [Adakhan MADUMAROV, Miroslav NIYAZOV]; Respublika [Omurbek BABANOV]; Social-Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) [Almazbek ATAMBAEV]
red field with a yellow sun in the center having 40 rays representing the 40 Kyrgyz tribes; on the obverse side the rays run counterclockwise, on the reverse, clockwise; in the center of the sun is a red ring crossed by two sets of three lines, a stylized representation of a "tunduk" - the crown of a traditional Kyrgyz yurt; red symbolizes bravery and valor, the sun evinces peace and wealth
Kyrgyzstan is a poor, mountainous country with a dominant agricultural sector. Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in any quantity. Industrial exports include gold, mercury, uranium, natural gas, and electricity. The economy depends heavily on gold exports - mainly from output at the Kumtor gold mine. Following independence, Kyrgyzstan was progressive in carrying out market reforms, such as an improved regulatory system and land reform. Kyrgyzstan was the first Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country to be accepted into the World Trade Organization. Much of the government's stock in enterprises has been sold. Drops in production had been severe after the breakup of the Soviet Union in December 1991, but by mid-1995, production began to recover and exports began to increase. In 2005, the BAKIEV government and international financial institutions initiated a comprehensive medium-term poverty reduction and economic growth strategy. Bishkek agreed to pursue much needed tax reform and, in 2006, became eligible for the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. The government made steady strides in controlling its substantial fiscal deficit, nearly closing the gap between revenues and expenditures in 2006, before boosting expenditures more than 20% in 2007-08. GDP grew about 8% annually in 2007-08, partly due to higher gold prices internationally, but slowed to 2.3% in 2009. The overthrow of President BAKIEV in April, 2010 and subsequent ethnic clashes left hundreds dead and damaged infrastructure. Shrinking trade and agricultural production, as well as political instability, caused GDP to contract about 3.5% in 2010. The fiscal deficit widened to 11% of GDP, reflecting significant increases in crisis-related spending, including both rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure and bank recapitalization. Progress in reconstruction, fighting corruption, restructuring domestic industry, and attracting foreign aid and investment are key to future growth.
general assessment: telecommunications infrastructure is being upgraded; loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are being used to install a digital network, digital radio-relay stations, and fiber-optic links
fixed-line penetration remains low and concentrated in urban areas; multiple mobile-cellular service providers with growing coverage; mobile-cellular subscribership exceeded 80 per 100 persons in 2009
country code - 996; connections with other CIS countries by landline or microwave radio relay and with other countries by leased connections with Moscow international gateway switch and by satellite; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intersputnik, 1 Intelsat); connected internationally by the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line
state-run television broadcaster operates 2 nationwide networks and 6 regional stations; roughly 20 private TV stations operating with most rebroadcasting other channels; state-run radio broadcaster operates 2 networks; about 20 private radio stations operating (2007)
18-27 years of age for compulsory male military service in the armed forces or Interior Ministry; service obligation - 1 year, with optional fee-based 3-year service in the callup mobilization reserve; women may volunteer at age 19; 16-17 years of age for military cadets, who cannot take part in military operations (2011)
Kyrgyzstan has yet to ratify the 2001 boundary delimitation with Kazakhstan; disputes in Isfara Valley delay completion of delimitation with Tajikistan; delimitation of 130 km of border with Uzbekistan is hampered by serious disputes around enclaves and other areas
limited illicit cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy for CIS markets; limited government eradication of illicit crops; transit point for Southwest Asian narcotics bound for Russia and the rest of Europe; major consumer of opiates