Sunday, March 29, 2015


Caught geographically between Russia and China, this Moslem land of ethnic Siberians mixed with indigenous Kyrgyz and migrant Uzbeks does not have it easy. There is some oil and slightly less gas, and there may be some gold though it hasn’t been developed yet; but beyond that, there is very little on which to build an economy. After the fall of Communism it tried to establish a democracy, but failed, and the country quickly dissipated into corruption and the feudal mentality of its rulers, especially President Akayev, until the people got sick of him and drove him from power in 2005. His successor, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, did little to improve things, and was himself removed in a popular revolt in 2010.

Kyrgyz national costume is one of the most gorgeous in the world, as are its lakes and mountains, and the country is unique in hosting both Russian and US military bases at the same time; or it did until this year, when the Americans left, no longer needing the air base as it was pulling out of Afghanistan. It probably wouldn’t have had its lease renewed anyway, after Comrade Putin agreed to cancel the whole of Kyrgyzstan’s debt in exchange for a fifteen-year extension to the Russian lease. Cold war still intact!

Marks For: 1

Marks Against: 3

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