Geography of Kyrgyzstan

Nature

According to 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.

Nature conservation

Kyrgyzstan Wildlife

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.

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Tulipan Revolution

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.

Kyrgyzstan Central Asian state bordering to the North with Kazakhstan, to the East and SE with China, to the South with Tajikistan, to the West with Uzbekistan.

Physical characteristics

The surface is 94% occupied by mountains. About 40% of the territory is located above 3000 m asl and is largely covered by snow and permanent ice. The main morphological feature is the Tian Shan chain, to the SW, whose peaks form an imposing natural border with China, and which culminates in the Pik Pobedy (7439 m). The Fergana Range, which cuts the town in half, and the Alaj del Pamir to the S, close the Fergana Valley at their center. The main rivers are the Naryn, which runs almost the entire length of the country until it flows into the Syrdar´ja, and the Ču, which flows along the border with Kazakhstan. In a cove of the Tian Shan is the Issyk lake, almost 700 m deep.

Population

Since 1989, the date of the last official census of the USSR, the population of Kyrgyzstan has grown by over 1 million. This trend is essentially attributable to birth rates which remain particularly high (21.6 ‰) even if accompanied by mortality (7 ‰) and infant mortality (44 ‰) rates that are far from irrelevant. On the other hand, migratory balances, at least during the first decade following independence, were consistently negative. In fact, starting from 1991 there have been outflows which reached their peak in 1993 (−150,000 people, mainly Slavs and Germans). The Kyrgyz people now make up 65% of the population, the rest made up of Uzbeks (13%) concentrated in the Fergana valley, by Russians (11%) who live mainly in the capital, and by small communities of over 80 ethnic groups and nationalities (Tatars, Kazakhs, Germans, etc.). Most of the population lives in rural areas, often within tribal organizations. The percentage of the urban population therefore remains rather low (42%). Only two cities exceed 100,000 residents: the capital Bishkek (700,000) and Oš (230,000).