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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Russians in Kyrgyzstan

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Date(s) Item
Mar 1990 350 Deputies were elected to the Kyrgyz Supreme Soviet, where an average of 3 candidates contesting every seat, but about 70 of whom ran unopposed. The situation was much the same at the local level, where almost 40% of the seats went uncontested. Though almost 95% of the Deputies are Communist Party members, many of whom have supported President Akayev's political reform program.
May 1990 The Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement (KDM) held its founding congress. The KDM originally grew as a coalition of several different groups generally supporting Kyrgyzstan independence and reform. Some groups within KDM split along national lines, and some eventually broke away to form separate political parties.
Jun 1990 The Russian-oriented group in Kyrgyzstan, known as Slavic Fund, the largest organization of the ethnic Russians, held its founding congress. Slavic Fund was originally organized as a non-political group concerned with literature and culture, but events leading toward Kyrgyz independence quickly politicized the group. It aim is to defend the rights of the non-Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan. The Fund has approximately 70 supporters in the parliament, and its President is Anatoly Sorokin. There is of course some antagonism and suspicion between the Slavic Fund and the Kyrgyz-oriented parties. (CSCE, Human Rights and Democratization in the Newly Independent States, January 1993.)
Oct 1990 The Supreme Soviet elected Askar Akayev, the liberal President of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, President of the Republic. Akayev quickly allied himself with reformist politicians and economists, including leaders of the KDM.
Dec 1990 Despite opposition from the KCP, the parliament voted to change the name of the Republic from the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.
Feb 1991 By decision of the Kyrgyz Supreme Soviet, Kyrgyz's capital city, Frunze (named after the Red Army commander who had conquered much of Central Asia in the Civil War), reverted to its pre-1926 name, Bishkek.
Mar 1991 In a referendum on the preservation of the USSR, held in nine Union Republics, an overwhelming majority, 87.7% Kyrgyzians approved the proposal to retain the USSR as a `renewed federation.'
Apr 1991 The switch to a free market economy scares young Kyrgyzians, concluded a local Youth Center after surveying the of 15-30 age-group. The survey showed almost 60 percent of respondents feared increasing unemployment. However, anxieties are expected to be somewhat relieved by a decree issued by the President which restores old prices in student canteens and an annul the 5% tax on principal food products. (Tass, 4/8/91.)
Aug 1991 President Akayev resigned from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the Republican Communist Party Politburo (Political Bureau, the senior Party policymaking body). Party property was nationalized and its funds frozen. Kyrgyz CP activities were suspended for 6 months beginning on August 30. The following day the Kyrgyz parliament declared independence from the USSR.
Oct 1991 In the first popular Kyrgyz presidential elections, the sole candidate and incumbent, Askar Akayev, was elected with 95.3% of the vote. Turnout was estimated at 90% of the electorate. Akayev was widely seen as a democrat and as eager to develop contacts with western countries. He strongly opposed the attempted coup against USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1990.
Dec 1991 All five Central Asian republics, including Kyrgyzstan, formally agreed to join the new Commonwealth of Independent States, the successor to the USSR. The Kyrgyz parliament passed a "Law on the Freedom of Religion and Religious Organizations."
Jan 1992 "I do not want Germans to leave this land for ever. It is a great loss for our people," President Akayev said at a forum held for the benefit of local Germans. In addition to migration, the forum discussed other problems, specifically the need to set up a German Cultural Center with an educational capability. Participants also spoke about the formation of a German investment fund with at least 45% of shares going to private capital from Germany, and the opening of a Kyrgyz-German trading house. (Tass, 01/04/92.)
Apr 1992 Leaders of Central Asian states met in Bishkek. Documents creating structures for the regional economy were signed by the delegates, except Turkmenistan. Turkish Premier S. Demirel visited the Muslim republics of the CIS, including Kyrgyzstan.
Jun 1992 Akayev and Yeltsin signed a Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. Military agreements, including a Treaty of Non-aggression, have also been concluded.
Aug 1992 A strong earthquake that jostled Central Asia killed at least 50 people in a remote Susamyr valley in Kyrgyzstan, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. The quake, measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale, struck in the morning of the 19th. Speaker of the Kyrgyz parliament M. Sherimkulov, in a meeting with Iran's President Rafsanjani, described the 70 year separation of Central Asian Muslims from Iran as a great historical blunder. The Speaker also briefed the host President on developments in his country after its independence as well as on natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. Iran's President welcomed the expansion of Tehran-Bishkek cooperation and the meeting of Kyrgyzian priorities. (TASS 08/27/92.)
Sep 1992 Lower-income groups are hit by higher prices in Kyrgyzstan after prices for flour, milk, vodka and spirits are freed in early September. The "forced liberalization" of prices threatens the government's efforts to stabilize the economy. Since Spring problems have been accentuated by a series of natural calamities like frost, snow, floods and earthquakes, which have caused over 10 billion rubles worth of damage. The International Energy Agency, in a recent report on energy-related humanitarian needs in the newly-independent states of the CIS, cited the agricultural fuel shortage in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Moldova. The report also cited earthquake damage to the energy delivery system in Kyrgyzstan and the resulting need for safety equipment and technology to inspect the natural gas pipeline network for further damage.
Dec 1992 The draft Constitution, adopted by the "Uluk Kenesh" (the renamed Supreme Soviet, or parliament) reconfirmed Kyrgyz as the state language. It also stipulated that the President must have a fluent command of Kyrgyz. A symposium titled "Human Rights and the Fate of Nations: An International Conference on the Problems of Central Asia" was held in Bishkek. The conference, jointly sponsored by several local and foreign human rights groups, was attended by activists from Central Asia, Russia, and America.
Apr 1993 President Akayev proposed that Russian military forces be withdrawn from the country by the mid-1990s.
May 1993 On May 5 the first Constitution of the free and independent Kyrgyz state was adopted. In a break with Communist era legal principles, the fundamental idea that man, by nature and destiny, is superior to the state has been incorporated as the guiding principle of the Constitution. Kyrgyzstan is the first of the former USSR Republics to receive financial assistance from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, totaling about $122.0 million.
Jul 17, 1993 The BBC reports that a new Russian-language newspaper has been set up in Bishkek.
Jul 17, 1993 German Kuznetsov, Kyrgyzstan's ethnic-Russian deputy premier, emigrates to Russia.
Sep 1993 According to the US Department of State Human Rights report for 1993, an ethnic Russian journalist is accused of negative reporting about Kyrgyzstan. He appears before a judge but is not charged with a crime. The Russian-language press sharply criticizes the government over this issue.
Dec 17, 1993 Kyrgyzstan forms its first coalition government. The government includes an ethnic Russian.
Jan 17, 1994 The Kyrgyzstan Foreign Ministry accuses the "radical democratic party" Erkin Kyrgyzstan (Free Kyrgyzstan) of making "groundless attacks on the Russian Federation." These "attacks" accuse the government of bowing to "the pressure of Russia's imperialist forces" after Kyrgyzstan's president Asker Akayev announces that dual citizenship may be allowed for ethnic Russians living in Kyrgyzstan.
Jun 14, 1994 President Akayev decrees that Russian will become Kyrgyzstan's second official language. This is done in hopes of stemming the wave of skilled Russians and Ukrainians emigrating from the country. The decree also pledges to try to bring more ethnic Russians and Ukrainians into government posts and to ensure "fair" representation in the civil service. It also promises to "combat any manifestations of national tension and hatred."
Aug 19, 1994 TASS reports that ethnic Russian military officers complain that they are being ousted from the Kyrgyz military on the pretext of an anti-corruption drive.
Aug 19, 1994 UPI reports that a Russian-language newspaper, "Svobodniye Gory" (Free Mountains), has been shut down by a Kyrgyz court for publishing false and anti-government materials.
Aug 31, 1994 The Prague Post reports that the Kyrgyz government has shut down Politika, a Russian-language newspaper.
Sep 10, 1994 In an attempt to halt Russian emigration, President Akayev issues a decree postponing the introduction of the Kyrgyz language as Kyrgyzstan's official language until 2005.
Oct 22, 1994 Voters in Kyrgyzstan strongly back the introduction of a bicameral parliament in a referendum.
Jan 5, 1995 According to a national census, ethnic Russians constitute 18% (down from 21.5% in 1991) of Kyrgyzstan's population.
Feb 1995 In 2 rounds of voting, a new 105 member parliament is elected. A disproportionally low 5 ethnic Russians are elected to serve in this parliament.
Apr 21, 1995 A new cabinet is formed. It includes 2 ethnic Russians.
Jul 18, 1995 TASS reports that the government is supporting Russian-language instruction at institutions of higher education.
Jul 20, 1995 Russia and Kyrgyzstan sign an agreement to restrict emigration. The agreement includes quotas and other measures intended to halt the emigration of ethnic Russians from Kyrgyzstan.
Dec 24, 1995 President Akayev wins in the first contested Presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan.
Mar 11, 1996 The Kyrgyz parliament has agreed to give the Russian language official status in the country. Once the Kyrgyz Constitutional Court gives its approval, it will become a law valid throughout the republic. At present the Kyrgyz constitution stipulates that the state language of the republic is Kyrgyz, and it guarantees the right of other nationalities living in the republic to use their own languages. In May 1994, Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev issued a decree allowing the official use of Russian at workplaces and in areas of the country where Russians predominate. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 3/12/96)
Mar 29, 1996 At a recent session of Talks between Russian President, Yeltsin and Kyrgyz President, Akayev, Yeltsin expressed satisfaction with the recent resolution by the Kyrgyz parliament to grant the Russian language official status in the republic, and described Kyrgyzstan's ethnic policies as " exemplary for all CIS member countries". Trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation, and Kyrgyzstan's application to join the customs union established by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus in 1995 were some of the main topics discussed at the meeting. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 3/29/96)
Jan 7, 1997 The number of ethnic Russians emigrating from Kyrgyzstan has fallen to its lowest level since the republic gained its independence in 1991. Approximately 20,000 ethnic Russians left Kyrgyzstan in1996. This compares with 141,000 in 1993, when emigration from the republic reached a peak. There were about 1,150,000 Russians living in Kyrgyzstan at the time of the last Soviet census in 1989. Since then, about 300,000 people have left the republic, most of them ethnic Russians. The decline in the rate of emigration could be a result of more fair treatment of Russians by the government and parliament over the past three years. For instance, a state Slavonic university was opened in Bishkek in 1994. Also, in 1996, parliament attempted to pass a bill which would have granted the Russian language official status, but the Constituional Court did not approve the bill. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 1/7/97)
Feb 21, 1997 The Supreme Court has reduced the prison sentence imposed on Topchubek Turgunaliyev, the former leader of the opposition Erkin Kyrgyzstan Party, from 10 to four years after a successful appeal hearing. Turgunaliyev was sentenced in December 1996, charged with appropriating $10,000 worth of state funds while working as the dean of Bishkek Humanitarian University. Turgunaliyev is one of several political figures declared prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 2/21/97)
Mar 30, 1997 Radio Russia has suspended the rebroadcasting of Mayak to the republic of Kyrgyzstan. The suspension is allegedly a result of Mayak's failure to pay debts. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 4/6/97)
May 17, 1997 The main organization representing Russians in Kyrgyzstan has warned of an "exodus" of Russians from the country if broadcasts of Moscow-based TV and radio stations are cut any further. In an appeal to President Askar Akayev, the Soglasiye (Accord) movement said the reduction in airtime for the Mayak Radio station and Russian Public Television (ORT), and threats to halt Russian TV and Radio (RTR) and ORT broadcasts completely, "cause us serious alarm". (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 6/3/97)
Jan 17, 1998 Deputy of the Kyrgyz parliament Dooronbek Sadyrbayev at a press conference named two students who threatened to kill him and blow up the parliament building. The students of the Naryn University and members of the Egemen (Independence) society, threatened the deputy who stands for giving Russian language an official status in the republic. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 1/17/98)
Feb 26, 1998 Deputies of the Legislative Assembly of the Supreme Council parliament of Kyrgyzstan adopted in the first reading a law of the Kyrgyz Republic on the procedure for organizing and holding meetings, rallies, street processions and demonstrations. According to the authors, the draft law will serve as the legal basis for preventing unauthorized rallies by people and for taking measures against organizers and active participants with the aim of guaranteeing others' constitutional rights and freedoms and public security and to protect the constitutional system. Once the law is put into effect, those wishing to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, or street processions will have to submit a request to a local state administration or to local self-government in writing at least 20 days prior to the scheduled date. Local administrators will have the power to determine which rallies may or may not be held. This legislation comes as a response to the 86 manifestations, demonstrations and pickets in which about 14,000 people participated in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, in 1997. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 2/27/98)
Mar 2, 1998 The governor of Talas region in the northwest is planning to replace a statue of Lenin with one of the 10th century Kyrgyz leader Manas. The same operation was successfully carried out in the district center of Ala-Buka District in Dzhalalabad Region south Kyrgyzstan during the recent leadership of Akmataliyev there. The country's Communist Party has protested against the planned change. One of the leaders of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan, professor Klara Ajybekova, made a statement that her party and all sympathizers condemned the Talas act. She said that they would do everything in their power to protect the memorial to Lenin. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 3/2/98)
Apr 20, 1998 At a round table on the Kyrgyz mass media organized by Azattyk Radio, the subject of censorship of Russian-language newspapers was discussed. Notes from the meeting indicate that the Kyrgyz authorities are afraid of Russian-language newspapers in the republic. The authorities suppress the Kyrgyz-language mass media, but fear to do the same with Russian newspapers because of possible reaction from Russia. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 5/1/98)
Dec 7, 1998 The former head of the Erkin Kyrgyzstan Democratic Party, Topchubek Turgunaliyev, has appealed for support in his fight against "authoritarian dictatorship and the corrupted and criminal elite in power" in Kyrgyzstan following his release from prison on parole on 24th November. The appeal, published in the Kyrgyz newspaper 'Kyrgyz Rukhu', was addressed to human rights groups, the media and Kyrgyz politicians. As well as thanking people for the support he and his family have received so far, Turgunaliyev vowed to continue the fight for a democratic Kyrgyzstan. Turgunaliyev, who was adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, was charged with defaming the president in 1996. In January 1997 he was convicted of misusing funds when he was rector of the Humanities University in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, in 1993. A 10-year sentence was later reduced to four years on appeal. In August 1998, during an earlier period of parole, he was sent back to a penal colony, after attending a rally and allegedly accusing state officials of violating the law. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 12/7/98)
May 4, 1999 The Interior Ministry and the National Security Ministry of the Kyrgyz Republic conducted an operation to arrest civilians suspected of preparing terrorist acts in public and crowded places in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. A considerable number of firearms and explosives and also a certain amount of drugs were confiscated from detainees when they were searched.. In total 12 people were arrested. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 5/4/99)
Aug 24, 1999 Aleksandr Kim, editor-in-chief of Kyrgyzstan's most popular Russian-language newspaper, 'Vecherniy Bishkek', was arrested. He was accused of Tax Evasion. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 8/24/99)
Nov 25, 1999 According to a report by representatives of Russia's Federal Migration Service at the Russian embassy in Kyrgyzstan, the emigration of ethnic Russians has increased recently. According to the head of the representative office, Vasiliy Ostapchuk, the increase in emigration is primarily connected to economic reasons: mass unemployment, lack of a need for their intellectual qualities and the impossibility to achieve success in the field of one's profession. Russians are mainly leaving from towns. One thousand one hundred seventy people left the republic in October alone. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 11/25/99)
Dec 11, 1999 The Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan held their 25th extraordinary congress in the office of the Znaniye society. Ninety-three congress delegates adopted an "Address" following the signing of a treaty by the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation setting up a union state. In their address, the communists urged Kyrgyzstan to join this union. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 12/20/99)
Jan 5, 2000 Currently, the Russian language has an official status in the republic only because of a presidential decree. But, Feliks Kulov, leader of the Ar-Namys (Dignity) party, announced today that one of the main issues candidates from his party will run on in February's parliamentary elections is the confirmation of the official status of the Russian language in the constitution. Kulov also said that his party would like to see "more representatives of non-native nationalities" in a new Kyrgyz parliament. The majority of deputies in the current parliament are of Kyrgyz nationality. (Source: BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 1/5/00)

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Information current as of January 10, 2007