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Kyrgyzstan

Abstract

The Kyrgyz Republic is bounded by Kazakhstan on the northwest and north, by China on the east and south, and by Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on the south and west. Most of Kyrgyzstan’s borders run along mountain crests. The mountains stand in the core of the Tien Shan system, which continues eastward to China.

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The Kyrgyz Republic is bounded by Kazakhstan on the northwest and north, by China on the east and south, and by Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on the south and west. Most of Kyrgyzstan’s borders run along mountain crests. The mountains stand in the core of the Tien Shan system, which continues eastward to China. To the southwest are two great valleys. The Country’s area totals approximately 199, 900 square kilometers. The Kyrgyz, a Turkic-speaking people, constitute more than half of the population. They speak a language belonging to the north-western or Kipchak group of the Turkic languages. They were formerly a nomadic people who were settled into collectivized agriculture by the Soviet regime. Besides Kyrgyz, the Country’s population includes minorities of Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, and Germans (exiled to the region from European parts of the Soviet Union in 1941), as well as Tatars, Kazakhs, Dungans (Hui; Chinese Muslims), Uighurs, and Tajiks. Since independence in 1991, many Russians and Germans have emigrated. The people of Kyrgyzstan have traditionally raised livestock and engaged in farming. Cotton, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products and exports. By the late 20th century the Republic had become a source for nonferrous metals, notably of antimony and mercury ores, and a producer of machinery, lightindustrial products, hydroelectric power, and food products. Gold mining has increased in importance, and Kyrgyzstan possesses substantial coal reserves and some petroleum and natural gas deposits. Hydroelectric power provides more than three-fourths of the country’s electric energy. Kyrgyzstan has been one of the most progressive countries of the former Soviet Union in carrying out market reforms. More than half of government stock in enterprises has been sold. The share of private sector activity in Gross Value Added increased from 13% in 1994 to 35% in 1997. Drops in production have been severe since the breakup of the Soviet Union. During 1996 for the first time there was an achievement of 5.6% of GDP growth. Moreover, the real growth of GDP in 1997 has been fixed at the 6.2% level.

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