Kyrgyzstan has faced a variety of challenges since its emergence as an independent state after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Two serious outbreaks of violence have occurred in the last twenty years, both during periods of political confrontation, with political leaders attempting to replace old elites and the central government weakened by changes around it.
The first occurred in the early 1990s, when Southern Kyrgyzstan was the scene of rioting between between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. Similar events occurred in 2010 - five years after the 'Tulip Revolution' - when thousands of people fled the violence which led to 400 people being killed in Osh and Jalalabad.
The government has since tried to work on inter-ethnic and inter-communal relations between the country’s Kyrgyz and Uzbek populations, such as with The Concept of National Unity and lnter-Ethnic Relations in the Kyrgyz Republic, which was signed in 2013. This is intended to create the basis for the consolidation of a peaceful state and society, although it has faced problems in implementation.
Other issues in Kyrgyzstan derive from unsolved territorial disputes and border management issues in the Fergana valley, which Kyrgyzstan shares with other countries and where competition over resources and farmland is growing. The area accommodates almost a quarter of Central Asia’s total population in less than 5 per cent of its territory, and clashes over border issues have gradually intensified since the fall of communism.
Last updated: August 2015