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Кыргыз Республикасы (Kyrgyz)

Киргизская Республика (Russian)

Kyrgyz Republic
Flag of Kyrgyzstan
Coat of arms of Kyrgyzstan
flag emblem
Official language Kyrgyz , Russian
Capital Bishkek
State and form of government parliamentary republic
Head of state President
Sadyr Japarov
Head of government Prime Minister
Ulukbek Maripov
surface 199,951 km²
population 6,523,529 (2020 estimate)
Population density 33 inhabitants per km²
Population development + 2.1% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 8.5 billion ( 146. )
  • $ 35 billion ( 129. )
  • 1,323 USD ( 159. )
  • 5,516 USD ( 140. )
Human Development Index 0.697 ( 120th ) (2019)
currency Som (KGS)
independence August 31, 1991
(from the Soviet Union )
National anthem Ak möngülüü aska
National holiday August 31
Time zone UTC + 6
License Plate KG
ISO 3166 KG , KGZ, 417
Internet TLD .kg
Phone code +996
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Kyrgyzstan [ kɪrɡiːzɪstaːn ], and Kyrgyzstan ( Kyrgyz Кыргызстан / Kyrgysstan , Russian Киргизстан ), outdated Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyz Кыргыз Республикасы / Kyrgys Respublikasy , Russian Киргизская Республика ), a 199,951 sq km large is landlocked country in Central Asia with around 6.5 million Residents. It is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, China to the east, Tajikistan to the south and Uzbekistan to the west .

The capital and largest city of the former Soviet republic with around 1 million inhabitants is Bishkek . Other important cities in the Islamic and democratically governed country are Osh , Jalalabat and Karakol .

Country name

The name qirqiz or kyrgyz probably dates back to the 8th century AD . Today's Kyrgyz originally come from the Siberian Yenisei Valley, from where they migrated to today's settlement area as a result of the expansion of the Mongols . The Kyrgyz believe that their common name derives from the term kirkkyz ("forty") and that they themselves are descendants of 40 tribes. Today the majority of the Kyrgyz people live in the republic named after them, but there are also larger Kyrgyz minorities in China , Afghanistan , Tajikistan and Uzbekistan .

In German, the name prevailed since the 19th century Kyrgyzstan before, the Russian Киргизия / Kirgisija accordingly. In recent times, the formerly rarer names Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyzstan have been used more often, both are derivatives of the Kyrgyz country name Кыргызстан ( transliteration : Kyrgyzstan; this has also become established in English). It is an education with the Persian suffix - (i) stan , as it is common in other countries in the region.


Satellite image of Kyrgyzstan

The mountainous landlocked state of Kyrgyzstan has a land area of ​​199,951 km² and around 6.5 million inhabitants. The country borders in the southeast with China (1048 km), in the north with Kazakhstan (1113 km), in the southwest with Tajikistan (972 km) and in the northwest with Uzbekistan (1374 km). The Kyrgyz territory includes four Uzbek enclaves : Soʻx , Shohimardon , Chong-Kara and Jangail , as well as two Tajik enclaves: Qairaghotsch and Woruch .


Gorky Peak in the Tianshan Mountains
Tianshan Mountains

Kyrgyzstan is located in the high mountains of the Tianshan and reaches the highest altitude with the 7439 m high Dschengisch Tschokusu . Over 90% of the territory is above 1500 meters above sea level, 94% of the land area is mountainous, farming is only possible on 20% of the area. Geologically, the Tianshan is a young mountain range ( Cenozoic ), which is why the mountains in Kyrgyzstan rise dominantly and ruggedly and cut deep into valleys. The southern end of the country is formed by the Alai mountain range , where it merges into the Pamir Mountains .

Up to an altitude of 1500 m, the land consists of steppe , which, however, has been made arable through extensive irrigation systems. From 1500 m, alpine meadows and pastures dominate, which reach up to the snow fields and glaciers. The forests are located at altitudes between 1500 and 4000 m above sea level. NN and are home to around 120 species of trees and shrubs. With only 4% forest area, Kyrgyzstan is one of the least forested countries in Asia, but the Jalalabat area is home to the largest walnut forest in the world.

See also: List of mountains in Kyrgyzstan


Kyrgyzstan has huge reserves of surface water. About 30% of the surface is covered by glaciers or eternal snow fields. There are more than 3000 rivers, the largest of which is the Naryn . Other rivers with a length of over 200 km are the Karadarja , the Tschüi , the Talas , the Saryjas and the Kysyl-Suu. The Kyrgyz rivers discharge around 44.5 cubic kilometers of water annually. They partially feed the large Central Asian river Syr Darya , other rivers flow off to Xinjiang or Tajikistan .

The rivers of Kyrgyzstan have great potential for generating electrical energy, which is already relatively well developed. There are six power plants with dams on the lower reaches of the Naryn alone. However, the power plants of Kyrgyzstan were built more than thirty years ago and do not meet the modern safety standards. The lack of money and the emigration of qualified workers lead to an increasing risk of accidents, especially for the densely populated Fergana Valley , which is located below several dams.


The climate of Kyrgyzstan is semi-arid . It is characterized by short, dry and continental hot summers and long cold winters. Spring is short with a lot of rain and simultaneous melting of snow. The daily temperature fluctuations are significant.

In the south of the country, temperatures of 45 ° C are measured in summer, while temperatures can drop to minus 18 ° C in winter.

The climate change is projected to lead to an increase in the average temperature by 6.5 ° C when the average global temperature by 2 ° C increase. This will lead to increased glacier melt, heavier precipitation and thus a higher risk of landslides. The proportion of the population affected by these risks will also increase.

animals and plants

Horses in the Kyrgyz steppe near Lake Songköl

Despite its low forest cover, Kyrgyzstan is home to the largest walnut forests in the world. Siberian deer , brown bear , marten , wild boar , wolf and lynx live in the forests . In the high areas there are the extremely rare species manul , snow leopard , Siberian ibex and Tianshan argali . The snow leopard population has recently plummeted due to massive poaching. The anti-poaching unit BARS, set up by NABU Kyrgyzstan, the Ministry of the Interior and the Environment, has reduced hunting and trade in protected species. Three species of marmots are widespread in the high meadows. Since the collapse of Soviet mass grazing after independence, wolf populations have been increasing again.

The bird life takes into account the mountainous location of the country. Birds of prey such as the black kite , griffon vulture , snow vulture and various eagle and falcon species live in the country. Since the mid-1980s, the Shepherd Maina have increasingly migrated to Kyrgyzstan from the south. Bird migration takes place both horizontally (from north to south) and vertically (from higher mountain areas down or up). The bee-eater (Merops apiaster) can be found across the country in the summer months.

A protected area in which the high mountain fauna of the country is protected is the Sarychat-Ertash nature reserve , which is located south of the Issyk-Kul .

Natural disasters

The Tianshan is a tectonically active mountain range, which is why earthquakes are frequent. The entire country and the entire population are exposed to a medium to high risk of earthquakes. Combined with the country's low economic strength, this means that the population is extremely vulnerable. Kyrgyzstan was hit by severe earthquakes in 1885 (epicenter: Bjelowodsk , led to the abandonment of Pischpek and re-establishment of Bishkek), 1907 (epicenter: Karatag ), 1948, 1949 (epicenter: Hait ), 2008 (72 fatalities) and 2011 (epicenter : Ferganatal , at least 13 dead) affected.

Due to the large relief energy , the strong seismicity , the climate, the soils and the man-made land use change, heavy mass movements with numerous fatalities occur again and again . After an earthquake, most of the fatalities are often not caused by the quake, but by the subsequent mud or rubble avalanches. These natural hazards are exacerbated by poorly secured deposits of radioactive or toxic overburden from mining. This primarily these are Mailuu-Suu -Tal and the catchment area of the Syrdarya affected. In the mountains of Kyrgyzstan there are around 2200 glaciers , which are also on the decline in the course of global warming . Glacier lakes formed by retreating glaciers are becoming more and more dangerous, as they are formed high up in the mountains and can erupt as the water level rises and flood entire valleys.

Natural disasters cost Kyrgyzstan an annual average of 0.53% of the gross domestic product .


Kyrgyzstan population pyramid 2016

The Kyrgyz (64.9% of the population) are counted among the Turkic peoples because of their language and are predominantly professing Sunni Islam . There are also Uzbeks (13.8%), Russians (12.5%), Dungans (Chinese Muslims, 1.1%), Uyghurs (1.0%), Ukrainians (1.0%), Tajiks (0.9 %) %), Tatars (0.9%), Kazakhs (0.9%) and members of other ethnic groups such as around 57,000 meshes in the country. At the beginning of the 1990s, around 100,000 Germans ( Kyrgyzstan Germans ) (mostly Baptists or Mennonites ) lived there; the majority of them have now emigrated to Germany , but there are still small German communities in villages like Luxemburg and Rot-Front . In 1999 there were still around 20,000 Germans (0.4% of the population) in Kyrgyzstan; In 2007, their number was estimated at around 12,000.

Kyrgyzstan has a young population. The average age in 2016 was 26.2 years. The birth rate per woman was 2.6 children in the same year. For every 1000 inhabitants there were 22.6 births and 6.6 deaths. Life expectancy at birth was 70.3 years between 2010 and 2015 (women: 74.3 years / men: 66.4 years).

The population is concentrated mainly in Tschüital the north and the Ferghana Valley in the south and to a lesser extent in mountain valleys, such as around the large lake Issyk Kul (Kyrgyz. Ысыккөл).

A large number of Kyrgyz people have emigrated, mainly to Russia.


Kyrgyzstan is an officially bilingual country. The state language is Kyrgyz ; Russian has had the status of another official language since 2001. It was previously the official language in Soviet times, but had lost this status after independence.

As a Turkic language, Kyrgyz is related to Uzbek , Kazakh and, more distantly, to Turkish . Due to the cultural tradition, it is defined as the national language and is spoken by 71% of the population as their mother tongue, while only 4% speak it as a second language. Russian, on the other hand, is an East Slavic language . It plays a special role in the economy and culture and also serves as the language of interethnic communication. Many well-known Kyrgyz people, such as the writer Tschingis Aitmatow , mainly used the Russian language. Around 9% of the population speak it as their mother tongue and another 34.5% as a second language.

Since independence, the importance of Kyrgyz has grown. Both languages, Kyrgyz and Russian, are now written in the Cyrillic alphabet . While the Arabic alphabet was still predominant for the Kyrgyz language until 1926 , it was briefly replaced by the Latin alphabet afterwards . In 1940 the Cyrillic alphabet, which is still in use today, was adopted. A return to Latin, as in Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan, or to Arabic, was discussed after independence was achieved, but ultimately not carried out.

In addition, due to the large Uzbek minority, the Uzbek language is also widespread, especially in the southern part of the country. This has no official status, even if it is spoken as a second language by 1.5% of the population. 14% speak it as their mother tongue. About 1% of the population speak Dungan .


The first religions in Kyrgyzstan were Zoroastrianism and Shamanism , which have influenced religious traditions in Kyrgyzstan to this day. In the 7th and 8th centuries, Buddhism also spread, especially in the north of what is now Kyrgyzstan, among the population in the valleys of the Tschüi and Talas rivers . Isolated remnants of Buddhist culture in Kyrgyzstan, such as the pilgrimage site of Tamga Tash, bear witness to this comparatively short epoch in Kyrgyz religious history, which was largely ended by Islamization .

Dungan mosque in Karakol

Since Islamization in the 10th century, Kyrgyzstan has been predominantly Muslim . The spread of Islam in Kyrgyzstan was severely restricted during the Soviet era by state-propagated atheism and strict state control of religious education and culture. These restrictions resulted in an increased differentiation of Islam in Kyrgyzstan compared to the practice of religion in the other, non-Soviet states with a Sunni majority. This led to the formation of a popular Islam that combined religious traditions from the pre-Islamic period with Islam and led to a folkloric and less institutionalized Islam. The cautious liberalization of religious policy in the Soviet Union in the 1980s led to re-Islamization, which accelerated after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Kyrgyzstan. This development was also driven by influences from other Islamic countries, with investments from Saudi Arabia and Turkey in particular for the construction of mosques and Islamic educational institutions having a significant impact. In the constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic of 1993, Kyrgyzstan was defined as a secular state. Overall, after independence, Kyrgyz politics aimed to establish moderate Islam, also to prevent the spread of Wahhabism and fundamentalist Islamism . The center of conservative Islam in Kyrgyzstan is located in the Fergana Valley around Osh , where Islamist organizations such as Hizb ut-Tahrir are active. Different sources put the proportion of the Muslim population in Kyrgyzstan at 75 to 80%, which in turn is divided into a large majority of Sunni Muslims from the Hanafi school of law and a few thousand Shiite Muslims. The Uyghur , Dungan and Uzbeks minorities living in the country are also usually Muslims. There are significant differences within the Muslim population in Kyrgyzstan in the way Islam is practiced, with southern Kyrgyzstan as a whole being more conservative and more religious. In the north of the country, as a result of the Soviet religious policy, Islam is hardly represented in public, but is more firmly rooted in the private sphere. In addition, there is a larger Russian minority in the northern part of the country, the majority of which belong to Christianity. This difference is a symptom of the split in Kyrgyzstan into the agrarian, more conservative and religious south and the Russian, economically stronger and less religious north.

Russian Orthodox Church of St. Michael in Osh

The second largest religious group is Christianity , with a share of 20% of the population, members of the Russian Orthodox Church form the largest Christian religious community. Other Christian religious communities such as Jehovah's Witnesses , Nestorians and Mormonism have also achieved a certain spread in Kyrgyzstan in recent years. The members of the German minority are partly Catholics , partly Lutherans . Much smaller minorities are Bucharian Jews and Buddhists.


In the capital, Bishkek
The Ala-Too Square in Bishkek
Flag of the Kyrgyz SSR (1936–1991)

Middle Ages and Modern Times

The area of ​​today's Kyrgyzstan has been populated by different tribes since the 8th century, about whose language nothing is known. Presumably some of these tribes were Turkic-speaking . From 1219 it belonged to the Mongol empire of Genghis Khan , after his death to the inheritance of Chagatais , a son of Genghis Khan. The area remained Mongolian until it was conquered by the Chinese in the 18th century .

In the second half of the 19th century, the Russian Empire gradually conquered the country. Russian dominance in Kyrgyzstan lasted from 1876 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Active and passive women's suffrage was introduced in June 1918.

State independence 1991

On August 31, 1991, Kyrgyzstan declared its independence. The first president was Askar Akayev , who had been president of the Kyrgyz SSR since 1990 and was elected president of independent Kyrgyzstan in the 1991 presidential election in Kyrgyzstan .

In the first years of independence, Kyrgyzstan emerged as the “island of democracy” among the successor republics of the Soviet Union . Sharipa Sadybakasova was elected to the lower house of the national parliament in 1995 as the first woman after independence, and four women to the upper house in the same year.

Akaev's style of government became increasingly authoritarian from the late 1990s. After the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan in 1995 , referendums on constitutional amendments in February 1996 and especially in October 1998 further expanded the already strong position of the president to the detriment of parliament and confirmed the trend towards authoritarian presidential democracy . The president was re-elected in the 2000 election, this time with more power. A constitutional referendum in February 2003 did little to change that. As a result, there were more frequent unrest in which the poorer south rose up against the richer north.

Tulip Revolution 2005

The climax of this unrest was the " tulip revolution " after the parliamentary elections in February 2005 . It led to the overthrow of President Akayev.

The former Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiyev emerged from the "Tulip Revolution" as the new President after the presidential election in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 and the former Mayor of Bishkek Felix Kulow as Prime Minister. However, the tandem did not last long, and - in early 2007 - Kulov went into opposition. President Bakiev held another constitutional referendum on October 21, 2007. The constitutional amendments - which, according to official figures, were approved by 75% of the voters - strengthened the president's position in filling government posts and dissolving parliament. After the constitutional amendments were adopted, Bakiyev dissolved the parliament and government of Prime Minister Almasbek Atambayev .

Riots and coup in 2010

In April 2010 there were demonstrations due to popular discontent, which became increasingly violent and eventually led to a change of government . President Bakiyev fled to Kazakhstan on April 15 . In its place came a transitional government under ex-foreign minister Rosa Otunbajewa . She proposed a constitutional amendment to abolish the presidential system . In the constitutional referendum of June 27, 2010 , the citizens approved this change. It thus created the basis for becoming the first Central Asian state to become a parliamentary republic .

In the previous weeks there had been serious unrest between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan . Hundreds of people died and tens or hundreds of thousands fled, at least for a short time. The transitional government accused the supporters of the ousted President Bakiyev of exploiting the tensions between the two ethnic groups to prevent the constitutional referendum. The situation calmed down in good time before the vote.


Political system

The Kyrgyzstan political system is republican and semi-presidential, with varying presidential strengths; After independence as a de facto presidential system, a constitutional reform in 2010 changed the system to a parliamentary system, and a new constitutional amendment in 2016 significantly expanded the power of the executive again in favor of parliament.


The 1993 constitution was based on Western models and provided for a power-sharing system of government with a strong position for the state president and a wide range of basic rights.

On June 27, 2010, the people of Kyrgyzstan voted on a new constitution. The Basic Law drawn up by the transitional government provides for a parliamentary republic based on the German model. According to the electoral commission, more than 90% of those taking part in the vote voted in favor of the constitutional changes. As a result of the constitutional referendum on April 11, 2021, the Kyrgyz government system became a presidential system .

houses of Parliament

The legislature lies with the unicameral parliament ( Dschogorku Kengesch ). This consists of 120 members. In order to get into parliament, a party has to

  1. Achieve 5% of the vote (based on the total number of eligible voters nationwide) and
  2. Reach at least 0.5% of the vote in each of the seven areas and in the cities of Bishkek and Osh (based on the total number of eligible voters in each area).

According to the electoral law, all Kyrgyz nationals, regardless of their origin, race, gender, ethnicity, religious or political convictions, have the right to vote from the age of 18 and can be elected themselves from the age of 25. The deputies are elected exclusively via party lists and for five years; the possibility of single candidates was canceled in 2007.

Election result 2015

After the elections on October 1, 2015, Parliament will be composed as follows:

Kyrgyz Supreme Council.svg
Political party voices % Mandates ±
SDPK 435,968 27.35 38 +12
Respublika - Ata-Shurt 320.115 20.08 28 −23
Kyrgyzstan Party 206.094 12.93 18th New
Önügüü progress 148.279 9.30 13 New
Bir Bol 135,875 8.52 12th New
Ata-meken 123.055 7.72 11 −7
Butun Kyrgyzstan - Emgek 97,869 6.14 0 0
Samandash 43,405 2.72 0 0
Uluu Kyrgyzstan 23,899 1.50 0 New
Ar-Namys 12,807 0.80 0 −25
Meken Yntymagy 12,679 0.80 0 New
People's Congress of Kyrgyzstan 9,619 0.60 0 New
Eelam 6,398 0.40 0 New
Asattyk 5,355 0.34 0 New
Against all 12,428 0.78 0 -
Invalid votes 32,410 - - -
Votes cast 1,626,255 100, 00 120 0
Registered voters / turnout 2,761,297 58.89 - -

Parties and government

There are more than 80 political parties in Kyrgyzstan (as of February 2007). 12 parties were allowed to participate in the parliamentary elections in December 2007 .

The most influential party until 2010 was the presidential party Ak Dschol , founded in the run-up to the 2007 parliamentary elections . It was the ruling party until the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 . The largest opposition party was the Ata Meken party , as well as Respublika , Ata-Shurt and Ar-Namys , while the parliamentary opposition party was the SDPK and the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan . After the opposition was defeated in the 2007 election, 18 organizations (opposition parties and NGOs) joined forces in early 2008 to form a movement called “For Justice”.

29 parties took part in the 2010 parliamentary elections, five of which entered parliament: the national conservative Ata-Shurt , the social democratic SDPK , the pro-Russian Ar-Namys , the economically liberal Respublika and the socialist Ata Meken . After a coalition of SDPK, Respublika and Ata Meken failed after a few days, a three-party coalition of SDPK, Respublika and Ata-Schurt was formed in early December 2010. Akhmatbek Keldibekov , the party leader of Ata-Shurt, became president of parliament, and SDPK chairman Almasbek Atambayev became head of government.

The internal power struggle intensified in October 2020, during which President Sooronbai Dscheenbekow dismissed the government after Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov announced his resignation. Opposition groups called for new elections and the resignation of the president.

Political indices

Political indices issued by non-governmental organizations
Name of the index Index value Worldwide rank Interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 73.9 out of 120 73 of 178 Stability of the country: increased warning
0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
Democracy index 4.21 out of 10 107 of 167 Hybrid regime
0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
Freedom in the World Index 39 of 100 - Freedom status: partially free
0 = not free / 100 = free
Freedom of the press ranking 30.37 out of 100 79 of 180 Recognizable problems for the freedom of the press
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 31 of 100 124 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

Administrative structure

Stadt Osch Bischkek Gebiet Batken Gebiet Osch Gebiet Talas Gebiet Dschalalabat Gebiet Naryn Gebiet Tschüi Gebiet Yssykköl Kasachstan Usbekistan Tadschikistan China
Administrative division of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is divided into seven regions (kyrgyz. Облус / oblus, pl. Облустор / oblustor; Russian область / oblast ) and the two cities (шаар / schaar , German city) Bishkek and Osh . The areas are in turn divided into 40 districts (район / rajon, pl. Райондор / rajondor) . The city of Bishkek is divided into four districts. The districts, in turn, are subdivided into a total of 473 rural local administrations (айыл өкмөтү / ajyl ömötü, German village government) and 22 cities.

Oblast Administrative headquarters Area in km² Residents Districts Kyrgyz name Russian name
City of Bishkek Bishkek 169.9 874,400 4th Бишкек шаары город Бишкек
City of Osh Osh 18.5 255,800 1 Ош шаары город Ош
Batken area Batken 16,995, 0 428,800 3 Баткен областы Баткенская область
Tschüi area Bishkek 19,895, 0 803.230 8th Чүй областы Чуйская область
Jalalabat region Jalalabat 32,418, 0 1,009,889 8th Жалалабат областы Джалал-Абадская область
Naryn area Naryn 45,200, 0 245.266 5 Нарын областы Нарынская область
Osh region Osh 29,200, 0 1,130,900 7th Ош областы Ошская область
Talas area Talas 11,400, 0 219,000 4th Талас областы Таласская область
Issyk Kul region Karakol 43,144, 0 437.200 5 Ысыккөл областы Иссык-Кульская область

In 2016, 35.9% of the population lived in cities or urban areas. The largest cities are (as of 2017):

  1. Bishkek : 965,500 inhabitants
  2. Osh : 254,500 inhabitants
  3. Jalalabat : 104,500 inhabitants
  4. Karakol : 72,800 inhabitants
  5. Tokmok : 61,800 inhabitants

Human rights

Kyrgyzstan has acceded to the most important human rights treaties and guarantees fundamental rights in the constitution. According to the assessment of the German Foreign Office (as of 2012), the enforcement of human rights is made more difficult in practice by a lack of constitutional tradition and a lack of an independent judiciary. The opposition has been increasingly complaining about the restriction of freedom of the press and freedom of expression , about intimidation of government critics and nepotism since 2008. In July 2008, human rights activists had won a victory at the Constitutional Court when it upheld a complaint against the tightening of the right to demonstrate in Bishkek. The EU and Kyrgyzstan have held four rounds of the agreed regular human rights dialogue since October 2008, the last on 19 September 2012 in Brussels.

According to the assessment of the German Foreign Office (as of 2012), the conditions at police stations, in pre-trial detention and in prisons are inhumane in many cases. In practice, abuse continues to be widespread. There are also unjustified roadside checks, which often result in bribes being paid to the police.

The UN Committee against Torture also reported serious violations of torture and ill-treatment. A report released in December 2013 expressed concern about the "ongoing and widespread torture and ill-treatment of detained persons, particularly in police custody, to obtain confessions." In April 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee, together with the Anti-Torture Panel, concluded that the serious human rights violations are not resolved consistently and impartially by the Kyrgyz security authorities and that the guilty perpetrators usually get away with impunity.

The death penalty has not been used since 1998. On June 27, 2007, it was finally abolished by law in peacetime and replaced by life imprisonment.

Foreign policy

After September 11, 2001 , 5,000 US soldiers were stationed at a base near Manas , Bishkek Airport. After more intense unrest in the country, a troop base for the armed forces of Russia was set up again at Kant in 2002 , which, even after the establishment of the US troop presence, plays the most important role as a regulatory power in eastern Central Asia . Announcements to close the US Manas base in mid-2009 were withdrawn after the US pledged more financial aid. After repeated pressure from Russia on the government to let the permit for the use of the base expire, the last US soldiers left the base in June 2014, which was regretted by the Kyrgyz opposition in view of the ongoing Ukraine crisis .

Since December 2015 there has been a noticeable slowdown in Kyrgyz-Russian relations. This tendency is triggered by the lack of investment from Russia for the contractually planned construction of dams on the Naryn River , which the Kyrgyz government has been promoting as an economic showcase project for years. President Almasbek Atambayev denounced the reluctance of the Russian side on this issue at a press conference on the occasion of Victory Day over Nazi Germany on May 9, 2016. He also openly complained about the growing xenophobia in Russia. He was also disappointed about the lack of advantages of the Eurasian Union for his country.

A defining topic of Kyrgyz foreign policy is also the relationship with the south-western neighboring country Tajikistan. Unresolved border issues are the reason for the Kyrgyz-Tajik border conflict , which has been going on for years with varying degrees of intensity and which is an important issue for Kyrgyz diplomacy.

Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Central Asia Summit of the Turkish Republics (OATCT). As one of six independent Turkic states , the country is also a member of the Turkish Council and the TÜRKSOY community .

The World Bank has been helping rural communities draw up and implement their own local investment plans since 2003, and a German project, financed by KfW , also took part in this task in 2005.

Relationship with Kazakhstan

Since independence in 1991, Kyrgyzstan had good neighborly relations with its northern neighbor Kazakhstan. However, the relationship deteriorated massively with the revolution in Kyrgyzstan in 2010, when the Kazakh side closed the common border. This move was classified in Bishkek as an Astana- operated blockade that would have worsened the socio-economic situation within the country. The Kyrgyz officials also accused the Kazakh leadership of organizing the escape of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev , who was overthrown in the course of the revolution . Several other points of contention, such as the anti- tuberculosis drug FS-1 produced in Kazakhstan , the use of which is said to have killed two Kyrgyz citizens, or the increase in Internet prices in Kyrgyzstan by Kazakh Internet providers, etc., visibly strained mutual relations in the following years.

In 2017, tensions reached a new level of escalation after outgoing Kyrgyz President Almasbek Atambayev accused his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev , of interfering in the ongoing Kyrgyz presidential election campaign. The trigger was Nazarbayev's alleged statement that Kyrgyzstan needed a young government. Atambayev replied: “The oldest presidential candidate in Kyrgyzstan is 20 years younger than Nazarbayev. I am 16 years younger myself. Who needs a younger president: us or Kazakhstan? ”. The tense political climate led to stricter controls on the border between the two countries. Since Kyrgyzstan is currently economically dependent on Kazakhstan, the government announced that it intends to cooperate more closely with Tajikistan and China in the future in order to open up new markets and delivery routes for the Kyrgyz economy.


The country, which became independent in 1991, took over an economic structure completely geared towards the Soviet Union market. The restructuring of the same and the privatization of the factories were tackled, also with the help of international organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank , but repeatedly came to a standstill due to corruption, political opposition and a lack of investor interest. Nevertheless, the government managed to get a basic economic problem of the post-Soviet states, high public spending with a simultaneous collapse in state revenues, relatively well under control. The budget deficit steadily decreased in the course of the 1990s, so that in 2001 even a small surplus could be reported. Budget planning, however, remained problematic. Natural disasters in the following years increased public spending and created a budget deficit in 2002 and 2003. A large black market (estimated 40–50% of gross domestic product ), corrupt and inconsistent tax collection and low tax rates result in limited budget resources; Measures such as increasing VAT to 20% in 2004 have been taken. Kyrgyzstan is the second poorest state - after Tajikistan - in Central Asia.

A strict monetary policy was able to reduce inflation from over 700% (1993) and 200% (1994) to levels around 4% in 2006. Yet poverty has not decreased. According to the Asian Development Bank , 25.4% (2016) of the population live below the poverty line. In 2008 inflation rose again to 25%. In 2016 it was only 0.4%. The unemployment rate is given as 7.4% in 2017.

The Kyrgyz people working abroad - especially in Russia, but also in Kazakhstan - are also an important economic factor. It is estimated that (before the global economic crisis from 2008) between 500,000 and 800,000 guest workers remitted payments to Kyrgyzstan, which accounted for around 25% of GDP.

Kyrgyzstan has been a member of the Eurasian Economic Union since August 15, 2015 .

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year 1992 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
(purchasing power parity)
8.07 billion 6.20 billion 8.12 billion 10.98 billion 11.67 billion 13.00 billion 14.26 billion 14.78 billion 14.89 billion 16.10 billion 16.39 billion 18.47 billion 19.56 billion 20.54 billion 21.60 billion 22.97 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
1,822 1,237 1,649 2.115 2.223 2,458 2,666 2,728 2,719 2,901 2,894 3,198 3,318 3,411 3,517 3,667
GDP growth
... −5.4% 5.4% 2.6% 3.1% 8.5% 7.6% 2.9% −0.5% 6.0% −0.1% 10.9% 4.0% 3.9% 3.8% 4.5%
(in percent)
... 42.1% 19.7% 4.3% 5.6% 10.2% 24.5% 6.8% 8.0% 16.6% 2.8% 6.6% 7.5% 6.5% 0.4% 3.2%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
... ... 122% 86% 73% 57% 48% 58% 60% 49% 49% 46% 52% 65% 58% 59%

Regional disparities

While modern urban centers were established in the north during the Soviet era, the south, with its large Uzbek minority, remained more rural. Ethnic conflicts in the south and an underrepresentation of the south in Kyrgyz politics continue to harbor potential for tension. Attempts are made to counter this with presidential control over the provincial governors on the one hand and investment programs for the south on the other.


Kyrgyz high pasture with the Tianshan Mountains in the background

With 35% of GDP, agriculture is the basis of the Kyrgyz economy. 75% of the arable land was distributed to the rural population, the rest was subordinated to the rural municipal administrations so that they have their own source of finance through lease income. 85% of agricultural production now comes from private companies. In Kyrgyzstan agriculture, after the sharp decline in the wake of the collapse of the USSR, increases have been recorded for several years, and total production is now well above that of the last Soviet years. Mainly wheat, potatoes, sugar beets and vegetables are grown in the valleys, and tobacco and cotton in the south. The unstable weather, numerous natural disasters and the shortage of fertilizers, machines and fuel are problematic for agriculture.


For some time now, at over 35%, the service sector has contributed to GDP to a greater extent than agriculture, which has long dominated. The liberalization of the Kyrgyz economy led to the emergence of innumerable family businesses in the retail and food industries.


Kyrgyzstan has so far been little developed for tourism. Tourism mainly takes place in special segments at a low level. The country is a popular adventure destination for extreme tourers. Likewise, the country has a permanent place among special organizers for study, ethnographic and hunting trips. In the mid-1990s, the Swiss Helvetas , a semi-public development organization, and the German GIZ got involved in implementing high-priced, gentle agro-tourism and active tourism among nomads in the Bishkek region, the Issyk-Kul region and in the Kazakh-Chinese triangle. The target group were Western Europeans and Japanese. At that time, the country appeared at major tourism fairs such as the ITB and advertised its visa-free status and democratic structures as the Switzerland of Asia, but only meant the north up to the Kazarman Pass. At that time, the south of the country was largely withdrawn from the Bishkek central government due to unrest in Osh and Jalalabat as well as infiltrating mujahideen who secured their drug routes by taking foreign expats hostage. The 2005 tulip revolution caused a setback in tourism. After 2010, tourism was largely limited to the approximately 400,000 annual visitors from the former Soviet republics and to young adventure and older study tourists.

The most famous destination is Lake Issyk Kul in the north of the country. In 2006 and 2007 more than a million visitors came to the lake, most of them from the former Soviet states. The most popular beaches are around the towns of Cholpon-Ata , Kara-Oi (Dolinka), Bosteri and Korumdy. The surrounding mountains and glaciers are the destination of trekking tours.


Kyrgyzstan has rich mineral deposits. The deposits of natural gas , crude oil and coal , on the other hand, are negligible. The already limited potential cannot be optimally used due to inadequate and inadequate systems.

Kyrgyzstan has uranium deposits; a plant for the production of enriched uranium is being planned. This is to be created and operated by a Russian-Kazakh-Kyrgyz joint venture ; the majority of the money comes from Russia. A significant problem that urgently needs to be resolved is the large number of unsecured nuclear waste dumps from the Soviet era; the World Bank tackled this problem with a first project in 2004.

View into the Kumtor mine

Furthermore, Kyrgyzstan has enormous deposits of rare earths and gold . In international geological circles, the region is called the "Tien Shan Gold Belt". It extends over Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan . The Kumtor deposit with 18 million ounces of gold is one of the largest gold deposits in the world; it is exploited by the Canadian company Centerra . Other large deposits: Jerooy (5.6 million ounces), Taldy-Balak (4.1 million ounces), Chaarat (4 million ounces), Kuru-Tegerek (3 million ounces).


Another 15% of GDP is made up of industry, primarily the extraction of gold and, to a lesser extent, antimony from mines in the remote mountainous regions of the country. The state-owned company Kyrgysaltyn oversees the activities of all mines.

With the exception of the textile and food industries, other industries have shown little or no growth since the early 1990s; Compared to the other CIS countries , the decline in industrial production of 70% was clear.

Economic relations

As the first CIS state, Kyrgyzstan became the first Central Asian state to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1998 and remained the only Central Asian member until 2015. However, the country's history and isolated location continue to bind it closely to the other former Soviet republics. The external debt amounts to one billion euros (equivalent to 85% of GDP) and is mainly due to poorly planned and executed investment programs that were financed with foreign (especially Turkish and Russian) loans during the first years of independence. The government's goal was therefore to attract foreign direct investment into the country and to expand the export sector beyond traditional gold exports. This provides 40% of the export income and even more than two thirds of the income from exports to non-CIS countries. Imports are mainly from China, as well as from Russia. Chinese products are further processed here and then exported. Kazakhstan became the main export market to the detriment of Uzbekistan, with which border disputes have repeatedly arisen.

Kyrgyzstan has been a member of the Eurasian Economic Union since August 12, 2015 .

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures equivalent to US $ 2.35 billion , which was offset by revenues equivalent to US $ 2.04 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 4.8% of GDP . The national debt was 58.5% of GDP in 2016.

Soldiers of the Kyrgyz military

In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was in the following areas:



Road inland, about 300 km from Bishkek
A365 between Balyktschy and Orlovka

High mountains separate the north and south of Kyrgyzstan. The traffic connections are generally poor, apart from the area around Bishkek . A year-round road connection from Bishkek to the south has only existed since 2003. In the areas of Osh , Batken and Jalalabat the main thoroughfares are obstructed by frequent border crossings through Uzbek and Tajik areas, as road construction was carried out during the Soviet era without considering administrative borders. There are two road links to China - the Torugart Pass and the Irkeschtam route - which are often blocked by heavy snowfalls and avalanches in winter.

The numbering of the main streets still corresponds to the Soviet numbering. These are: M39 , M41 (part of the Tian Shan and Pamir Highway )
A361 , A362 , A363 , A364 , A365 , A366 , A367 , A371 , A372 , A373 .

Asian roads : AH5 , AH 7 , AH 61 , AH65 - a total of 1,695 km.

European roads : E40 , E60 , E125 , E007 , E010 , E011 .

See also list of pass roads in Kyrgyzstan

air traffic

Kyrgyzstan has three international airports: Manas Airport in the capital Bishkek, Osh Airport and Tamtschi-Issykköl Airport north of Issyk Kul (since 2014).


Railway line Bishkek – Balyktschy near Orlovka

The tiny rail network - basically just the last offshoot of the former Soviet railway network and now cut through the borders with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan - is only 370 km in length and hardly plays a role in domestic traffic. The single-track, non-electrified branch line of Turksib of Lugovoi over Bishkek to balykchy however, is the only longer distance of the Kyrgyz State Railways (Kyrgyz Кыргыз Темир Жолу / Kyrgys Temir Scholu). However, regularly scheduled passenger and freight links exist as far as Moscow , Novokuznetsk and Yekaterinburg .


There is little shipping traffic on Lake Issyk Kul .

Public water supplies are inadequate across the country. Even communities that are close to Issyk-Kul have running water for only a few hours a day. The Toktogul Dam also offers tension . The dam is close to the border with Uzbekistan. Therefore their benefits - irrigation and flood protection - mainly benefit Uzbekistan, but are controlled by Kyrgyzstan. For this reason there are contractual agreements, but also disputes between the two neighboring countries.


Kyrgyz Manastschi reciting the Manas epic
A felt carpet with patterns in the traditional Kyrgyz style

Horse breeding and yurts occupy a central place in Kyrgyz culture . The importance of the yurt can easily be seen from the fact that the national flag represents the rods of a yurt around the upper smoke outlet opening (the tündük ). The rays in the circle represent the different Kyrgyz tribes that have united under Manas.

Felt and leather processing have a long tradition.

The falconry , especially with eagles, as well as hunting with greyhounds (mostly to the taigan ) also has a long tradition in the country.


According to the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders, there are “recognizable problems” with the situation of press freedom in the country .

There are four national daily newspapers in Kyrgyzstan . In 2017, 38 percent of Kyrgyzstan's residents used the internet . Radio stations streaming video on the Internet at and audio / represented. On shortwave, broadcasts of the first program of Kyrgyz Radio Bishkek can occasionally be received on frequencies 4010 and 4795 kHz in the afternoons and evenings in Central Europe.

The state television broadcaster ElTR delivers a full TV program .


The central work of Kyrgyz literature is the great Manas epic, considerably longer than the Odyssey and preserved and refined through oral tradition for around 1000 years. It celebrates the deeds of the mythological hero Manas and his companions, who in the 10th century preserved the Kyrgyz freedom in the fight against the neighboring Uyghurs . Modern prose literature emerged around 1930. The best-known modern Kyrgyz author was Tschingis Aitmatow , who wrote in Russian and translated some of his works into Kyrgyz. The author and translator Sooronbay Zhusuyev (* 1925) is less well known.


The Kyrgyz have celebrated four Olympic medalists since their independence . The largest Olympic team so far with 48 players was Kyrgyzstan in 2000 in Sydney ; Kyrgyzstan sent 19 athletes to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The Kyrgyz national football team for men has not yet qualified for a world championship. In 2019 she took part in the finals of the Asian Cup for the first time , where after a remarkable tournament performance in the round of 16 she was eliminated 3-2 after extra time against the hosts from the UAE . The national stadium is the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium in Bishkek.

In 2015, the Kyrgyz national e-sports team of the CounterStrike: Global Offensive division took part in “The World Championships” for the first time.


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  • From the steppe life of Russia . In: The Gazebo . Issue 13, 1867, pp. 197–200 ( full text [ Wikisource ] - illustrated by Heinrich Leutemann ).

Web links

Wiktionary: Kyrgyzstan  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Kyrgyzstan  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Kyrgyzstan  - in the news
Wikivoyage: Kyrgyzstan  - Travel Guide

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Coordinates: 41 °  N , 75 °  E