Where Is Kyrgyzstan?

Where is Kyrgyzstan; find out more facts and information about Kyrgyzstan here!


Background: A country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, Kyrgyzstan became part of the Russian empire in 1864. In the Czarist and Soviet periods, Russian managers and technicians were sent to Kyrgyzstan and have recently made up more than one-fifth of the population. Many Russians have been returning home since Kyrgyzstan gained its independence in 1991 when the USSR collapsed. Privatization of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and political freedoms, and inter-ethnic relations are current issues.


Location: Central Asia, west of China

Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 75 00 E

Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States


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-Darya 132 m

highest point: Jengish Chokusu (Pik Pobedy) 7,439 m

Natural resources: abundant hydroelectric potential; 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: 7%

permanent crops: 0%

permanent pastures: 44%

forests and woodland: 4%

other: 45% (1993 est.)

note: Kyrgyzstan has the world's largest natural growth walnut forest

Irrigated land: 9,000 sq km (1993 est.)

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: Biodiversity, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography""note: landlocked


Population: 4,546,055 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 35% (male 804,502; female 788,076)

15-64 years: 59% (male 1,308,145; female 1,362,140)

65 years and over: 6% (male 105,442; female 177,750) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.68% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 21.83 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 8.74 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: -6.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.59 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 75.92 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 63.57 years

male: 59.25 years

female: 68.1 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.63 children born/woman (1999 est.)


noun: Kyrgyzstani(s)

adjective: Kyrgyzstani

Ethnic groups: Kirghiz 52.4%, Russian 18%, Uzbek 12.9%, Ukrainian 2.5%, German 2.4%, other 11.8%

Religions: Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%

Languages: Kirghiz (Kyrgyz)""official language, Russian""official language

note: in March 1996, the Kyrgyzstani legislature amended the constitution to make Russian an official language, along with Kirghiz, in territories and work places where Russian-speaking citizens predominate


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97%

male: 99%

female: 96% (1989 est.)


Country name:

conventional long form: Kyrgyz Republic

conventional short form: Kyrgyzstan

local long form: Kyrgyz Respublikasy

local short form: none

former: Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic

Data code: KG

Government type: republic

Capital: Bishkek

Administrative divisions: 6 oblasttar (singular""oblast) and 1 city* (singular""shaar); 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: National Day, 2 December; Independence Day, 31 August (1991)

Constitution: adopted 5 May 1993

note: amendment proposed by President AKAYEV and passed in a national referendum on 10 February 1996 significantly expands the powers of the president at the expense of the legislature

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Askar AKAYEV (since 28 October 1990)

head of government: Prime Minister Jumabek IBRAIMOV (since NA December 1998)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; elections last held 24 December 1995 (next to be held NA 2000); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: Askar AKAYEV reelected president; percent of vote""Askar AKAYEV 75%; note""elections were held early which gave the two opposition candidates little time to campaign; AKAYEV may have orchestrated the "deregistration" of two other candidates, one of whom was a major rival

Legislative branch: bicameral Supreme Council or Zhogorku Kenesh consists of the Assembly of People's Representatives (70 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Legislative Assembly (35 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: Assembly of People's Representatives""last held 5 February 1995 (next to be held NA 2000); Legislative Assembly""last held 5 February 1995 (next to be held NA 2000)

election results: Assembly of People's Representatives""percent of vote by party""NA; seats by party""NA; note""not all of the 70 seats were filled at the 5 February 1995 elections; as a result, run-off elections were held at later dates; the assembly meets twice yearly; Legislative Assembly""percent of vote by party""NA; seats by party""NA; note""not all of the 35 seats were filled at the 5 February 1995 elections; as a result, run-off elections were held at later dates

note: the legislature became bicameral for the 5 February 1995 elections

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed for 10-year terms by the Supreme Council on recommendation of the president; Constitutional Court; Higher Court of Arbitration

Political parties and leaders: Social Democratic Party or PSD [Zh. IBRAMOV]; Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan or DDK [Jypar JEKSHEYEV, chairman]; National Unity Democratic Movement or DDNE [Yury RAZGULYAYEV]; Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan or PKK [Absamat MASALIYEV, chairman]; Kyrgyzstan Erkin Party (Democratic Movement of Free Kyrgyzstan) or ErK [Tursunbay Bakir UULU]; Republican Popular Party of Kyrgyzstan [Zh. SHARSHENALIYEV]; Agrarian Party of Kyrgyzstan [A. ALIYEV]; Fatherland or Alta Mekel Party [Omurbek TEKEBAYEV]; Banner National Rivival Party or ASABA [Chaprashty BAZARBAY]; Movement for the People's Salvation [Djumgalbek AMAMBAYEV]; Mutual Help Movement or Ashar [Zhumagazy USUPOV]; Peasant Party [leader NA]; Agrarian Party [leader NA]

Political pressure groups and leaders: National Unity Democratic Movement; Council of Free Trade Unions; Union of Entrepreneurs; Kyrgyz Committee on Human Rights [Ramazan DYRYIDAYEV]

International organization participation: AsDB, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOMSIL, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Bakyt ABDRISAYEV

chancery: 1732 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 338-5141

FAX: [1] (202) 338-5139

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Anne M. SIGMUND

embassy: 171 Prospect Mira, 720016 Bishkek

mailing address: use embassy street address

telephone: [996] (3312) 22-29-20, 22-27-77

FAX: [996] (3312) 22-35-51

Flag description: red field with a yellow sun in the center having 40 rays representing the 40 Kirghiz 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 Kirghiz yurt


Economy""overview: Kyrgyzstan is a small, poor, mountainous country with a predominantly agricultural economy. Cotton, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products and exports. Industrial exports include gold, mercury, uranium, and hydropower. Kyrgyzstan has been one of the most progressive countries of the former Soviet Union in carrying out market reforms. Following a successful stabilization program, which lowered inflation from 88% in 1994 to 15% for 1997, attention is turning toward stimulating growth. Much of the government's stock in enterprises has been sold. Drops in production have been severe since the breakup of the Soviet Union in December 1991, but by mid-1995 production began to recover and exports began to increase. Pensioners, unemployed workers, and government workers with salary arrears continue to suffer. Foreign assistance played a substantial role in the country's economic turnaround in 1996-97. The government has adopted a series of measures to combat some of the severe economic problems such as excessive debt and inadequate revenue collection, encountered in 1998.

GDP: purchasing power parity""$9.8 billion (1998 est.)

GDP""real growth rate: 1.8% (1998 est.)

GDP""per capita: purchasing power parity""$2,200 (1998 est.)

GDP""composition by sector:

agriculture: 47%

industry: 12%

services: 41% (1996 est.)

Population below poverty line: 40% (1993 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.7%

highest 10%: 26.2% (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 18.4% (1998 est.)

Labor force: 1.7 million

Labor force""by occupation: agriculture and forestry 40%, industry and construction 19%, other 41% (1995 est.)

Unemployment rate: 6% 1998 est.)


revenues: $225 million

expenditures: $308 million, including capital expenditures of $11 million (1996 est.)

Industries: small machinery, textiles, food processing, cement, shoes, sawn logs, refrigerators, furniture, electric motors, gold, rare earth metals

Industrial production growth rate: 14% (1998 est.)

note: the gold industry spurted in 1998 giving industry as a whole a boost on a small base while the rest of the economy, including agriculture, lagged

Electricity""production: 13.49 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity""production by source:

fossil fuel: 9.56%

hydro: 90.44%

nuclear: 0%

other: 0% (1996)

Electricity""consumption: 10.92 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity""exports: 6.32 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity""imports: 3.75 billion kWh (1996)

Agriculture""products: tobacco, cotton, potatoes, vegetables, grapes, fruits and berries; sheep, goats, cattle, wool

Exports: $630 million (1998 est.)

Exports""commodities: cotton, wool, meat, tobacco; gold, mercury, uranium, hydropower; machinery; shoes

Exports""partners: China, UK, FSU

Imports: $670 million (1998 est.)

Imports""commodities: grain, lumber, industrial products, ferrous metals, fuel, machinery, textiles, footwear

Imports""partners: Turkey, Cuba, US, Germany

Debt""external: $935 million (1997 est.)

Economic aid""recipient: $329.4 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Kyrgyzstani som (KGS) = 100 tyiyn

Exchange rates: soms (KGS) per US$1""30.25 (February 1999), 20.838 (1998), 17.362 (1997), 12.810 (1996), 10.822 (1995), 10.842 (1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 356,000 (1996 est.)

Telephone system: poorly developed; about 100,000 unsatisfied applications for household telephones

domestic: principally microwave radio relay; one cellular provider, probably only limited to Bishkek region

international: 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""1 Intersputnik and 1 Intelsat; connected internationally by the Trans-Asia-Europe Fiber-Optic Line

Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA; note""one state-run radio broadcast station

Radios: 825,000 (radio receiver systems with multiple speakers for program diffusion 748,000)

Television broadcast stations: NA (repeater stations throughout the country relay programs from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkey) (1997)

Televisions: 875,000



total: 370 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines

broad gauge: 370 km 1.520-m gauge (1990)


total: 18,500 km

paved: 16,854 km (including 140 km of expressways)

unpaved: 1,646 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 600 km (1990)

Pipelines: natural gas 200 km

Ports and harbors: Balykchy (Ysyk-Kol or Rybach'ye)

Airports: 54 (1994 est.)

Airports""with paved runways:

total: 14

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 9

under 914 m: 1 (1994 est.)

Airports""with unpaved runways:

total: 40

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 32 (1994 est.)


Military branches: Army, National Guard, Security Forces (internal and border troops), Civil Defense

note: border troops controlled by Russia

Military manpower""military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower""availability:

males age 15-49: 1,146,595 (1999 est.)

Military manpower""fit for military service:

males age 15-49: 930,017 (1999 est.)

Military manpower""reaching military age annually:

males: 46,561 (1999 est.)

Military expenditures""dollar figure: $10.8 million (1996)

Military expenditures""percent of GDP: 1% (1996)

Transnational Issues

Disputes""international: territorial dispute with Tajikistan on southwestern boundary in Isfara Valley area

Illicit drugs: limited illicit cultivator of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for CIS consumption; limited government eradication program; increasingly used as transshipment point for illicit drugs to Russia and Western Europe from Southwest Asia

*Information obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book.

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