Kyrgyzstan

Introduction 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 AKAYEV, who had run the country since 1990. Subsequent presidential elections in July 2005 were won overwhelmingly by former prime minister Kurmanbek BAKIYEV. The political opposition organized demonstrations in Bishkek in April, May, and November 2006 resulting in the adoption of a new constitution that transferred some of the president's powers to parliament and the government. In December 2006, the Kyrgyz parliament voted to adopt new amendments, restoring some of the presidential powers lost in the November 2006 constitutional change. By late-September 2007, both previous versions of the constitution were declared illegal, and the country reverted to the AKAYEV-era 2003 constitution, which was subsequently modified in a flawed referendum initiated by BAKIYEV. The president then dissolved parliament, called for early elections, and gained control of the new parliament through his newly-created political party, Ak Jol, in December 2007 elections. Current concerns include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, negative trends in democracy and political freedoms, reduction of corruption, improving interethnic relations, and combating terrorism.
History

Early history

According to recent historical findings, Kyrgyz history dates back to 201 BC. The early Kyrgyz lived in the upper Yenisey River valley, central Siberia. The discovery of the Pazyryk and Tashtyk cultures show them as a blend of Turkic and Iranian nomadic tribes. Chinese and Muslim sources of the 7th–12th centuries AD describe the Kyrgyz as red-haired, in addition, blond-haired with a fair complexion and green or blue eyes.

The descent of the Kyrgyz from the indigenous Siberian population is confirmed on the other hand by recent genetic studies.[2] Remarkably, 63% of the modern Kyrgyz men share Haplogroup R1a1 (Y-DNA) with Tajiks (64%), Ukrainians (54%), Poles (56%) and even Icelanders (25%). Haplogroup R1a1 (Y-DNA) is believed to be a marker of the Proto-Indo-European language speakers.

The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uyghur Khanate in 840 A.D. Then Kyrgyz quickly moved as far as the Tian Shan range and maintained their dominance over this territory for about 200 years. In the 12th century, however, the Kyrgyz domination had shrunk to the Altay Range and the Sayan Mountains as a result of the rising Mongol expansion. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the Kyrgyz migrated south.

Russian influence

In the early 19th century, the southern part of what is today Kyrgyzstan came under the control of the Khanate of Kokand. The territory, then known in Russian as "Kirgizia", was formally incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876. The Russian takeover instigated numerous revolts against tsarist authority, and many of the Kyrgyz opted to move to the Pamirs and Afghanistan. In addition, the suppression of the 1916 rebellion in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz to migrate to China. Since many ethnic groups in the region were (and still are) split between neighbouring states, at a time when borders were more porous and less regulated, it was common to move back and forth over the mountains, depending on where life was perceived as better; this might mean better rains for pasture or better government after oppression.

Soviet era

Soviet power was initially established in the region in 1919 and the Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Oblast was created within the Russian SFSR (the term Kara-Kirghiz was used until the mid-1920s by the Russians to distinguish them from the Kazakhs, who were also referred to as Kirghiz). On December 5, 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was established as a full republic of the Soviet Union.

During the 1920s, Kyrgyzstan developed considerably in cultural, educational, and social life. Literacy was greatly improved, and a standard literary language was introduced. Economic and social development also was notable. Many aspects of the Kyrgyz national culture were retained despite the suppression of nationalist activity under Stalin, and, therefore, tensions with the all-Union authorities were constant.

The early years of glasnost had little effect on the political climate in Kyrgyzstan. However, the Republic's press was permitted to adopt a more liberal stance and to establish a new publication, Literaturny Kirghizstan, by the Union of Writers. Unofficial political groups were forbidden, but several groups that emerged in 1989 to deal with the acute housing crisis were permitted to function.

In June 1990, ethnic tensions between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz surfaced in the Osh Oblast, where Uzbeks form a majority of the population. Violent confrontations ensued, and a state of emergency and curfew were introduced. Order was not restored until August 1990.

The early 1990s brought considerable change to Kyrgyzstan. By then, the Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement (KDM) had developed into a significant political force with support in Parliament. In an upset victory, Askar Akayev, the liberal President of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, was elected to the Presidency in October 1990. The following January, Akayev introduced new government structures and appointed a new government composed mainly of younger, reform-oriented politicians.

In December 1990, the Supreme Soviet voted to change the republic's name to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. (In 1993, it became the Kyrgyz Republic.) In February 1991, the name of the capital, Frunze, was changed back to its prerevolutionary name of Bishkek. Despite these aesthetic moves toward independence, economic realities seemed to work against secession from the Soviet Union. In a referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union in March 1991, 88.7% of the voters approved the proposal to retain the Soviet Union as a "renewed federation."

On August 19, 1991, when the State Emergency Committee assumed power in Moscow, there was an attempt to depose Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. After the coup collapsed the following week, Akayev and Vice President German Kuznetsov announced their resignations from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and the entire bureau and secretariat resigned. This was followed by the Supreme Soviet vote declaring independence from the Soviet Union on August 31, 1991.

Independence

In October 1991, Akayev ran unopposed and was elected president of the new independent Republic by direct ballot, receiving 95% of the votes cast. Together with the representatives of seven other Republics that same month, he signed the Treaty of the New Economic Community. Finally, on December 21, 1991, Kyrgyzstan joined with the other four Central Asian Republics to formally enter the new Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1992, Kyrgyzstan joined the UN and the CSCE.

The "Tulip Revolution," after the parliamentary elections in March 2005, forced President Akayev's resignation on April 4, 2005. Opposition leaders formed a coalition and a new government was formed under President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Prime Minister Feliks Kulov. The nation's capital was also looted during the protests.

Political stability appears to be elusive, however, as various groups and factions allegedly linked to organized crime are jockeying for power. Three of the 75 members of Parliament elected in March 2005 were assassinated, and another member was assassinated on 10 May 2006 shortly after winning his murdered brother's seat in a by-election. All four are reputed to have been directly involved in major illegal business ventures.

Current concerns in Kyrgyzstan include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and political freedoms, inter-ethnic relations, and terrorism.

Geography Location: Central Asia, west of China
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 75 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 198,500 sq km
land: 191,300 sq km
water: 7,200 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than South Dakota
Land boundaries: total: 3,878 km
border countries: China 858 km, Kazakhstan 1,051 km, Tajikistan 870 km, Uzbekistan 1,099 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: dry continental to polar in high Tien Shan; subtropical in southwest (Fergana Valley); temperate in northern foothill zone
Terrain: peaks of Tien Shan and associated valleys and basins encompass entire nation
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Kara-Daryya (Karadar'ya) 132 m
highest point: Jengish Chokusu (Pik Pobedy) 7,439 m
Natural resources: abundant hydropower; significant deposits of gold and rare earth metals; locally exploitable coal, oil, and natural gas; other deposits of nepheline, mercury, bismuth, lead, and zinc
Land use: arable land: 6.55%
permanent crops: 0.28%
other: 93.17%
note: Kyrgyzstan has the world's largest natural-growth walnut forest (2005)
Irrigated land: 10,720 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 46.5 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 10.08 cu km/yr (3%/3%/94%)
per capita: 1,916 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment - current issues: water pollution; many people get their water directly from contaminated streams and wells; as a result, water-borne diseases are prevalent; increasing soil salinity from faulty irrigation practices
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: landlocked; entirely mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range; many tall peaks, glaciers, and high-altitude lakes
Politics

The 1993 constitution defines the form of government as a democratic republic. The executive branch includes a president and prime minister. The parliament currently is unicameral. The judicial branch comprises a Supreme Court, a Constitutional Court, local courts, and a Chief Prosecutor.

In March 2002, in the southern district of Aksy, five people protesting the arbitrary arrest of an opposition politician were shot dead by police, sparking nationwide protests. President Akayev initiated a constitutional reform process which initially included the participation of a broad range of government, civil, and social representatives in an open dialogue, leading to a February 2003 referendum marred by voting irregularities. The amendments to the constitution approved by the referendum resulted in stronger control by the president and weakened the parliament and the Constitutional Court. Parliamentary elections for a new, 75-seat unicameral legislature were held on February 27 and March 13, 2005, but were widely viewed as corrupt. The subsequent protests led to a bloodless coup on March 24, after which Akayev fled the country and was replaced by acting president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. (see: Tulip Revolution).

Interim government leaders are developing a new governing structure for the country and working to resolve outstanding constitutional issues. On July 10, 2005, acting president Bakiyev won the presidential election in a landslide, with 88.9% of the vote, and was inaugurated on 14 August. However, initial public support for the new administration substantially declined in subsequent months as a result of its apparent inability to solve the corruption problems that have plagued the country since its independence from the Soviet Union, along with the murders of several members of parliament. Largescale protests against president Bakiyev took place in Bishkek in April and November of 2006, with opposition leaders accusing the president of failing to live up to his election promises to reform the country's constitution and transfer many of his presidential powers to parliament.

People Population: 5,356,869 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.9% (male 817,369/female 784,782)
15-64 years: 64% (male 1,681,440/female 1,748,222)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 127,263/female 197,793) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 24.2 years
male: 23.3 years
female: 25 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.38% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 23.31 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.97 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 32.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 37.33 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 27 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 69.12 years
male: 65.12 years
female: 73.33 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.67 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,900 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Kyrgyzstani(s)
adjective: Kyrgyzstani
Ethnic groups: Kyrgyz 64.9%, Uzbek 13.8%, Russian 12.5%, Dungan 1.1%, Ukrainian 1%, Uygur 1%, other 5.7% (1999 census)
Religions: Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%
Languages: Kyrgyz 64.7% (official), Uzbek 13.6%, Russian 12.5% (official), Dungun 1%, other 8.2% (1999 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
male: 99.3%
female: 98.1% (1999 census)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Kyrgyz Republic
conventional short form: Kyrgyzstan
local long form: Kyrgyz Respublikasy
local short form: Kyrgyzstan
former: Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Bishkek
geographic coordinates: 42 52 N, 74 36 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 7 provinces (oblastlar, singular - oblasty) and 1 city* (shaar); Batken Oblasty, Bishkek Shaary*, Chuy Oblasty (Bishkek), Jalal-Abad Oblasty, Naryn Oblasty, Osh Oblasty, Talas Oblasty, Ysyk-Kol Oblasty (Karakol)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Independence: 31 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday: Independence Day, 31 August (1991)
Constitution: adopted 5 May 1993; note - amendment proposed by President Askar AKAYEV and passed in a national referendum on 2 February 2003 significantly expanded the powers of the president at the expense of the legislature; during large-scale demonstrations in November 2006, President BAKIYEV and the opposition negotiated a new constitution granting greater powers to the parliament and the government; amendments added on 30 December 2006 redistributed some power back to the president, but both November and December 2006 versions were annulled in September 2007, and a new version was approved by referendum on 21 October 2007; the BAKIYEV-initiated referendum was criticized by Western observers for voting irregularities, particularly ballot stuffing
Legal system: based on French and Russian laws; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Kurmanbek BAKIYEV (since 14 August 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Igor CHUDINOV (since 24 December 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, appointed by the president; ministers in charge of defense and security, appointed solely by the president
elections: Kurmanbek BAKIYEV elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 10 July 2005 (next scheduled for 2010); 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 nominate a prime minister
election results: Kurmanbek BAKIYEV elected president; percent of vote - Kurmanbek BAKIYEV 88.6%, Tursunbai BAKIR-UULU 3.9%, other candidates 7.5%
Legislative branch: unicameral Supreme Council or Jorgorku Kenesh (90 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 16 December 2007 (next to be held 2012)
election results: Supreme Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Ak Jol 71, Social Democratic Party 11, KCP 8
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Constitutional Court (judges of both the Supreme and Constitutional Courts are appointed for 10-year terms by the Jorgorku Kenesh 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)
Political parties and leaders: Ak Jol [Avtandil ARABAYEV, Elmira IBRAIMOVA, Vladimir NIFADYEV, co-chairs]; Ar-Namys (Dignity) Party [Emil ALIYEV]; Asaba (Banner National Revival Party) [Azimbek BEKNAZAROV]; Ata-Meken (Fatherland) [Omurbek TEKEBAYEV]; Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan or DDK [Viktor TCHETRNOMORETS]; Erkindik (Freedom) Party [Topchubek TURGUNALIYEV]; Moya Strana (My Country Party of Action) [Medet SADYRKULOV]; Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan or KCP [Ishak MASALIYEV]; Party of Justice and Progress [Muratbek IMANALIEV]; Party of Peasants [Esengul ISAKOV]; Republican Party of Labor and Unity [Tabaldy OROZALIYEV]; Sanjira (Tree of Life) [Ednan KARABAYEV]; Social Democratic Party [Almaz ATAMBAYEV]; Union of Democratic Forces [Kubatbek BAIBOLOV]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Adilet Legal Clinic [Cholpon JAKUPOVA]; Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society [Dinara OSHURAKHUNOVA]; Interbilim [Asiya SASYKBAYEVA]
International organization participation: ADB, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Zamira SYDYKOVA
chancery: 2360 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 338-5141
FAX: [1] (202) 386-7550
consulate(s): New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Marie L. YOVANOVITCH
embassy: 171 Prospect Mira, Bishkek 720016
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [996] (312) 551-241, (517) 777-217
FAX: [996] (312) 551-264
Flag description: 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 the roof of the traditional Kyrgyz yurt
Culture

Traditions

Illegal, but still practiced, is the tradition of bride kidnapping.

It is debatable whether bride kidnapping is actually traditional. Some of the confusion may stem from the fact that arranged marriages were traditional, and one of the ways to escape an arranged marriage was to arrange a consensual "kidnapping."

Religion

During Soviet times, state atheism was encouraged. Today, however, Kyrgyzstan is a secular state though Islam has exerted growing influence in politics.[9]. For instance, there have been various attempts to decriminalize polygamy, and to arrange for officials to travel on hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) under a tax-free arrangement.[9] Kyrgyzstan is an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim nation, and adheres to the Hanafi school of thought.

While Islam in Kyrgyzstan is more of a cultural background than a devout daily practice for many, public figures have expressed support for restoring religious values. For example, human rights ombudsman Tursunbay Bakir-Ulu noted, "In this era of independence, it is not surprising that there has been a return to spiritual roots not only in Kyrgyzstan, but also in other post-communist republics. It would be immoral to develop a market-based society without an ethical dimension."[9] Additionally, Bermet Akayeva, the daughter of Askar Akayev, the former President of Kyrgyzstan, stated during a July 2007 interview that Islam is increasingly taking root across the nation.[11] She emphasized that many mosques have been built and that the Kyrgyz are increasingly devoting themselves to Islam, which she noted was "not a bad thing in itself. It keeps our society more moral, cleaner."

The other faiths practiced in Kyrgyzstan include Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox versions of Christianity, practiced primarily by Russians and Ukrainians respectively. A small minority of Germans are Protestant Christians, mostly Lutherans and Baptists.[13] A few Animistic traditions survive, as do influences from Buddhism such as the tying of prayer flags onto sacred trees, though some view this practice rooted within Sufi Islam.[14] There are also a small number of Bukharian Jews living in Kyrgyzstan, but during the collapse of the Soviet Union most fled to other countries, mainly the United States and Israel.

Economy Economy - overview: Kyrgyzstan is a poor, mountainous country with a predominantly agricultural economy. 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. 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. The economy is heavily weighted toward gold export and a drop in output at the main Kumtor gold mine sparked a 0.5% decline in GDP in 2002 and a 0.6% decline in 2005. GDP grew more than 6% in 2007, partly due to higher gold prices internationally. 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. The government and international financial institutions have been engaged in a comprehensive medium-term poverty reduction and economic growth strategy; in 2005, Bishkek agreed to pursue much-needed tax reform and, in 2006, became eligible for the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. Progress fighting corruption, further restructuring of domestic industry, and success in attracting foreign investment are keys to future growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $10.38 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $3.488 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 6.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,000 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 31.7%
industry: 19.8%
services: 48.4% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 2.7 million (2000)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 55%
industry: 15%
services: 30% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 18% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line: 40% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.8%
highest 10%: 24.3% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 30.3 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.4% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 17.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $684.4 million
expenditures: $764.1 million (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: tobacco, cotton, potatoes, vegetables, grapes, fruits and berries; sheep, goats, cattle, wool
Industries: small machinery, textiles, food processing, cement, shoes, sawn logs, refrigerators, furniture, electric motors, gold, rare earth metals
Industrial production growth rate: 5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 15.15 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 7.6%
hydro: 92.4%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 8.206 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 2.684 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 1,965 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption: 12,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 3,221 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 13,770 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 40 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 709.7 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 680.9 million cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 5.432 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $-677.3 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $1.04 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: cotton, wool, meat, tobacco; gold, mercury, uranium, natural gas, hydropower; machinery; shoes
Exports - partners: Switzerland 26.1%, Kazakhstan 20.4%, Russia 19.3%, Afghanistan 9.4%, China 4.8% (2006)
Imports: $2.509 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: oil and gas, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Russia 38.1%, China 14.4%, Kazakhstan 11.7%, US 5.7% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $268.5 million from the US (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $1.293 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $2.966 billion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $NA
Market value of publicly traded shares: $41.99 million (2005)
Currency (code): som (KGS)
Currency code: KGS
Exchange rates: soms per US dollar - 37.746 (2007), 40.149 (2006), 41.012 (2005), 42.65 (2004), 43.648 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 458,900 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1,261,800 (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: telecommunications infrastructure is growing; fixed line penetration remains low and concentrated in urban areas
domestic: 4 mobile cellular service providers with growing coverage
international: 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 (2006)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 3 (plus 10 repeater stations), FM 23, shortwave NA (2007)
Radios: 520,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 8 (2 countrywide and 6 regional stations; state-owned); note - there are about 20 private TV stations, most of which rebroadcast other channels (2007)
Televisions: 210,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .kg
Internet hosts: 80,990 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA
Internet users: 298,100 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 30 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 18
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 10 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 254 km; oil 16 km (2007)
Railways: total: 470 km
broad gauge: 470 km 1.520-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 18,500 km
paved: 16,854 km
unpaved: 1,646 km (1999)
Waterways: 600 km (2007)
Ports and terminals: Balykchy (Ysyk-Kol or Rybach'ye)
Military Military branches: Army, Air Force, National Guard (2005)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 1,193,529
females age 18-49: 1,219,080 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 871,493
females age 18-49: 1,024,568 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 61,091
females age 18-49: 59,784 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.4% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: 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
Illicit drugs: 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