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March 21, 2005


Being almost entirely ignorant about Kyrgyzstan (even the name I have to cut and paste), I looked the country up on the the CIA factbook, where I learned, among other things, that as of 2001, Kyrgyzstan had the world's largest natural forest of walnut trees. Walnuts don't seem to be a major export, though.

The Factbook also noted on 10 Feb 2005 (the last update) that 1) "President AKAYEV has publicly stated that he will not seek reelection when his current term expires in 2005" and that 2) "in accordance with a 2003 referendum, the Parliament is slated to become unicameral with 75 deputies after the 27 February 2005 elections."

I find it a little alarming that the top two export partners of Kyrgyzstan are the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland. Yes, Kyrgyzstan exports a fair amount of gold, but UAE and CH don't have the reputations of being all that above board... Then there's the trouble sign of compulsory military service plus 50% unemployment.

The factbook lists a number of political organizations and parties, but it's unclear to me from these barebone statistics how much of a civic tradition there is and how far into the population it reaches. What I see of the data doesn't indicate much of a middle class. I can understand the worry that the current unrest represents a mass movement without direction or leadership. Any better insight?

Edward -- thanks for this. It's hard for me to know how to read the various stories I've seen, and this helps a lot. I hope things turn out well, or at least not very badly, both for the Kyrgyz and also for the region, which badly needs a country where things are turning out OK. And it surely won't be Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan (my take on current events in Tajikistan is, um, a bit sketchy.)

Holy fuck, it's season 9 of Red Dwarf!

Josh: posting rules.


Good search about Kyrgyzstan.


Great post, thanks.

I'd like to add something to your post, that whatever happens in Kyrgyzstan, the president will have some people in congress and will be able to turn the election his way (as you know his daughter and son are already in congress) and he might be re elected again, after 15 years!!!!!!!!

Kyrgyzstan is pretty rich country, if people would know how to use advantages of the beaty and generousity of the country. Kyrgyzstan has amazingly beatiful mountains, almost of 80% of land is mountains. Beatiful lake Isyyk-Kul, which could attract a lot of European and USA tourists. Unfortunlly the gold that Kyrgyzstan has is already belongs to Canada (I believe 51%+49%)

I hope the incidents in South of Kyrgyzstan wont be as same as they had in previous years, when so many people died. Whatever happens I wish it wont hurt people and will happen without killing each other.


why does Canada already own the Kyrgyz gold?


Search "Kumtor" in Kyrgyzstan.

thanks mky

the sites I saw said the company mining the gold is only one-third owned by Canada though...how do you get 51%?

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