Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kyrgyzstan Celebrate 20 Years of Independence

The Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia celebrates its 20th independence anniversary. Born in the chaotic last few months of the former USSR, it later became famous for the 'Tulip Revolution'.

Declaring Independence

During early years of the 1990s, Gorbachev's reforms ushered dramatic changes in Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1990, riots between the ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz broke out in Southern Kirghizia. Later in the year in October, Askar Akayev was elected to the presidency of the republic. In December that year, the Supreme Soviet of the republic changed the name of the Kirghiz SSR to Republic of Kyrgyzstan, removing the Soviet Socialist part, despite still being part of the USSR.

After the August 19 coup in Moscow collapsed, Akayev and senior leaders of the republic left the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Days later, on 31 August, they declared the independence of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

Two Revolutions

Askar Akayev became the first president of independent Kyrgyzstan, which was admitted to the UN in 1992. In 1993, the country was remaned as the Kyrgyzs Republic.

In 2005, Akayev, who was accused of corruption and election fraud, was ousted in a largely peaceful revolution named the 'Tulip revolution'. His successor, Kurmanbek Bakiev, was also ousted by another revolution in April 2010. Ironically, he was accused of similar malpractices to those of his predecessor.

The current president of the republic is the former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva. She faces a multitude of challenges, including alleviation of poverty of the second poorest country in Central Asia and managing the racial tensions, especially between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks. There are also fears of a rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the country.

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