Wedged between Kazakhstan and Tajikistan and closed off from China by towering mountains, the Kyrgyz Republic is a small and unique country. Grand mountains with luscious pastures combine with deserts and fertile plains to create the character of the Kyrgyz land and its people, which have been shaped and preserved throughout ages of history.
During the 20th century, Kyrgyzstan was incorporated into the USSR. Nowadays, as an independent republic, Kyrgyzstan is struggling to successfully implement free-market reforms and maintain political and ethnic stability. The Kyrgyz government has been actively pursuing ethnic tolerance and democratization polices. Kyrgyzstan has the most liberal media in the former Soviet Union, while both the Russian and Kyrgyz languages are official in this country of well-educated population and a sizable Russian minority.
Kyrgyzstan has a self-sufficient agricultural sector, rich in mineral resources and with high potential in hydroelectric power generation, while economic ties remain strong with Russia and the other members of the Commonwealth Independent States (CIS).
total: 198,500 sq km
land: 191,300 sq km
water: 7,200 sq km
dry continental to polar in high Tien Shan; subtropical in southwest (Fergana Valley); temperate in northern foothill zone
Geography – note:
landlocked; entirely mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range; many tall peaks, glaciers, and high-altitude lakes
Kyrgyz 64.9%, Uzbek 13.8%, Russian 12.5%, Dungan 1.1%, Ukrainian 1%, Uygur 1%, other 5.7% (1999 census)
Kyrgyz (official), Russian (official)