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Kyrgyzstan country profile

Kyrgyzstan country profile

Map of Kyrgyzstan

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 three presidents have been swept from power by popular discontent since independence.

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.

Russia maintains a military airbase in the country.

LEADER

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 over 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 pledged to make tackling corruption his priority, and to maintain close relations with Russia.

TIMELINE

1685 – The Kyrgyz settle the area that is now Kyrgyzstan, which is then conquered by the Mongol Oirat people.

1758 – The Oirats are defeated by the Chinese Manchus, and the Kyrgyz become nominal subjects of the Chinese empire.

Early 19th century – The Kyrgyz come under the jurisdiction of the Uzbek khanate of Kokand.

1876 – Russia annexes what is now Kyrgyzstan.

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, after President Sooronbay Jeenbekov was ousted the previous year.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Kyrgyzstan hopes to attract tourists to its wild mountain landscapes

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Source: BBC

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