COUNTRYAAH, Kyrgyzstan is on the whole a very mountainous country,
but between the mountain ranges, where Pik Pobedy with its 7
439 m. is one of the higher peaks in Asia outside the
Himalayas, valleys like the Fergana Valley, where the
country has a completely different appearance. The Tian Shan
mountain range and its branches occupy most of the area in
Kyrgyzstan. The highest parts of these mountains have
glaciers and are snow-covered. From there, many of the
rivers that is the prerequisite for irrigation in e.g.
Fergana Valley. At lower levels, you will find alpine and
subalpine meadows, which at higher levels and areas in rain
shadows turn into cold deserts. The western and northern
slopes of the mountains receive more precipitation, and here
at lower levels coniferous forests are found with, among
other things. spruce and a wildlife with brown bear, lion,
wolf and snow leopard.
Kyrgyzstan is a relatively sea-rich area. The largest
lake is the brackish lake Issyk-Kul, which with a maximum
depth of 702 m is one of the deeper lakes in Asia. The lake
never freezes even during very cold winters, as it partially
receives water from hot springs; the beaches are among the
most important agricultural areas of Kyrgyzstan, next to the
Fergana Valley. This valley is a lowering area in the Tian
Shan area covered by loose soils and sandy fields (alluvial
fans), which have been deposited by rapidly flowing currents
from the surrounding mountains. Dalgången has a continental
climate with hot summers, which benefits the oasis culture
in the area.
In 2009, just over 6% of the country's area was under
some form of nature protection. There were ten nature
reserves and nine national parks, most of them in the Kyrgyz
sections of the Tian Shan mountain range. Among the national
parks, Ala-Archa is the most famous.
Contemporary history of Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan's contemporary history is the country's
history after 1991. Like other states of the former Soviet
Union, Kyrgyzstan became an independent republic in 1991.
That same year, Askar Akajev was elected the country's
president. After independence, the country has been
characterized by financial difficulties, political turmoil
and violent clashes between ethnic groups. Kyrgyzstan has
undergone two revolutions since independence, where the
incumbent president has been forced to flee the country; for
the first time in 2005 and the second time in 2010. However,
today the country is considered to have come the longest in
terms of democratic development in Central Asia.
In 2010, Kyrgyzstan became the first country in Central
Asia to introduce parliamentarism. It is the only country in
the region to hold an election that has been recognized as
free and fair by international election observers from the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Kyrgyzstan is the first and so far the only country in
Central Asia that has elected a woman head of state, Roza
Otunbajeva, who sat from April 2010 to December 2011.
Prior to the 2005 presidential election, Akajev sought to
amend the Constitution to be eligible for a fourth
presidential term. The proposal was met with major popular
protests under what has been called the "tulip revolution".
The opposition rejected the official election result in
the 2005 parliamentary elections, which gave Akajev's
supporters 69 of the 75 seats of the National Assembly, as a
forgery. During a growing wave of protests, the "tulip
revolution," the government buildings were stormed. Akajev
sought refuge in Russia and announced that he was
relinquishing presidential power. Akayev working today at
the State University in Moscow.
Former Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakijev, who had been in
opposition since 2002, won the presidential election in July
2005, following the revolution, with 89 percent of the vote.
The election was approved by international observers.
Bakijev had promised comprehensive constitutional reforms
during the election campaign, including reduced power to the
president. After Bakijev came to power, the opposition was
dissatisfied that the president took little initiative in
the changes he had promised, even when it came to combating
corruption. In 2006, there were extensive demonstrations
against Bakijev, and towards the end of the year a new
constitution was passed which gave, among other things,
reduced power to the president.