Books on Kyrgyzstan
A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic
traditions, Kyrgyzstan was annexed by Russia in 1864; it achieved
independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Current concerns include:
privatization of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and
political freedoms, inter-ethnic relations, and terrorism.
Update No: 281 - (27/05/04)
The end of term
The president of the Kyrgyz republic, Askar Akayev, coming to the end of his term of office, is an interesting man. He is not your usual post-Soviet hack. He is a scientist, not a politician, by training. He was a member of the Communist Party of course, as was everyone else. One had to be.
But he had his own ideas. He believed in the Western way, long before it was fashionable to do so. He spent many years as a researcher in Leningrad. He was the compromise candidate in 1990 when the two communist candidates were stalled in a stalemate.
He believes in reform and is highly regarded in the West for so doing. Lady Thatcher is a fan, no less. But it is a lonely plough to furrow in the remote wilderness of Central Asia. He is nearing the end of his stint, presidential elections being due next year, in which he is no longer qualified to stand.
The Japanese are interested in Central Asia, partly for its resources, but also because it exercises their imagination. A Kyrgyz-Japanese business forum is in existence, which is aiming to boost trade beyond the present meagre level of US$100,000 per annum. The Japanese have extended US$292m in aid and credits.
Akayev went to Tokyo in April and took part in a meeting of the forum. The one undoubted plus for Kyrgyzstan is tourism, with some of the grandest mountain scenery on Earth. But it will take time before it is appreciated and it is of course remote.
The Russian alliance
Krrgyzstan has allowed the US to establish a base at Manash, not far from the Chinese border. But it is still cooperating with the Russians. While opening a Russian air force base in Kant in October, Akayev announced that his country saw itself as a reliable source of political support for Russia in the region.
When saying that Kyrgyzstan would always be a faithful friend for Russia, Akayev said that the country would not have emerged unscathed from difficult historical periods without Russia as an ally.
He also said that the ancient site of Ala-Too, where the base is situated, would now take on a new significance in the security system formed around the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and would become a key part of it.
In addition, Askar Akayev pointed out that the situation in Central Asia still remained complicated. "Threats and challenges remain, which is why the security problem has not lost its urgency," he said. He also welcomed the Russian military by saying, "Russian servicemen from now on have their own home on Kyrgyz soil."
Bishtek seeks energy expansion
Russia and Kyrgyzstan have made a general decision to expand cooperation in power engineering and are considering the possibility of building hydro power stations in Kyrgyzstan, Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Fradkov, said at a recent news conference in Cholpon-Ata, Interfax News Agency reported.
Fradkov said joint construction of the Kambarata power station in Kyrgyzstan is under discussion. "It is premature to speak of the size of the investments," the Russian official said. As the feasibility study of the project is made, the amount Russia is to invest will be determined, he said. In response to questions from reporters Fradkov said: "The future of the CIS depends only on us."
Kyrgyz coal production down
Kyrgyzstan reduced coal production 3.4% year-on-year to 70,400 tonnes in the first quarter of 2004 because of continued under-funding for the sector, a senior coal industry official said, Interfax News Agency reported recently.
Nikolai Novitsky, head of the fuel and energy department at the economic development, industry, and trade ministry, stated that fixed-asset wear is as high as 85% at the state-owned Komur and more than half of this coal producer's assets are beyond renewal. He further added that the financial plight of two coal producers - Korgan Tash and Almalykkomur - reduced them to bankruptcy. Kyrgyzstan plans to raise coal production by 37% to 564,000 rubles in the current year.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Akayev: Kyrgyzstan seeks new economic relations with Japan
Kyrgyz President, Askar Akayev, recently paid an official visit to Japan to discuss the development of bilateral economic cooperation, deputy head of the Kyrgyz president administration, Alikbek Dzhekshenkulov, said recently, Interfax News Agency reported.
Akayev was scheduled to meet with influential members of parliament. According to Dzhekshenkulov, the president would negotiate with the Japanese prime minister, the emperor and the foreign minister in Tokyo.
"Akayev will take part in a Kyrgyz-Japanese business forum. The Kyrgyz side considers this an event of special significance," Dzhekshenkulov said.
In addition he stated, "the president's current visit is the third since bilateral diplomatic relations were established between the two countries. It is aimed at giving a new impulse to the development of bilateral cooperation, especially cooperation in trade and economics." The deputy also said that Akayev would take part in the opening ceremony of the Kyrgyz Embassy in Tokyo.
Dzhekshenkulov said that Kyrgyzstan is interested in attracting investments from Japan and establishing more contacts with Japanese business structures. Trade between the two countries in 2003 was only about US$100,000. Japanese business structures have been showing that they are highly interested in cooperating with the Central Asia region.
Since 1992 the Japanese government has provided US$294m worth of grants and credits to Kyrgyzstan. "This was an important contribution to market and democratic reforms in the republic," Dzhekshenkulov stressed.
Our analysts and
editorial staff have many years experience in analysing and reporting
events in these nations. This knowledge is available in the form of
geopolitical and/or economic country reports on any individual or grouping
of countries. Such reports may be bespoke to the specification of clients
or by access to one of our existing specialised reports.
For further information email: