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Tag: Kyrgyzstan

The growing religiosity of Kyrgyz youth

The once Soviet-controlled atheist societies like that in Kyrgyzstan, which for 70 years were subject to forced secularisation, have been rediscovering Islam after the collapse of Soviet Union. This is especially true for young people, who are increasingly more religious.

The early morning call to prayer woke Kairat up. He got up with haste, as he was anxious not to be late. He wanted to make it to morning prayer in a community mosque located 700 meters from his home. As he put on his coat and heads out of the house on a chilly, late-November morning, he could not resist the feeling of guilt that he almost overslept. He returned from Bishkek quite late the night before and was very tired.

In Bishkek, Kairat and others were discussing sublime ideas of how Kyrgyzstan’s youth view the country changing by 2030. Their visions could easily be applied to Kairat’s home village of Kolduk in the Issyk-Kul region. “We are living in changing times,” he thought. Back in the Soviet times his village had not had a single mosque and today there are four in the tiny community. He and others believe that the growing religiosity in Kyrgyzstan is an issue that needs to be addressed.

January 2, 2018 - Keneshbek Sainazarov

Playing for high electoral stakes in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan likes to portray itself as Central Asia’s only democracy – but dog-whistle politics and dirty tricks deployed in the October 2017 presidential election muddied its democratic credentials.

“It’s like a game of poker,” said Medet Tursaliyev, a young man emerging from a polling station in Bishkek, the leafy laidback capital of Kyrgyzstan. “They’re playing all in – for high stakes.”

As Kyrgyzstan went to the polls on October 15th last year, Tursaliyev had hit the nail on the head: it was a high-stakes political battle of a type never witnessed before in Central Asia. His country made history by staging the first ever truly competitive presidential election in a region ruled by strongmen who usually cling to power for decades.

January 2, 2018 - Joanna Lillis

The self-made Apaches of Kyrgyzstan

In the south of Kyrgyzstan, locals work in old Soviet-era coal mines with horrific conditions and little hope of improvement.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economies of many states of the former Eastern bloc found themselves in shatters. Soaring unemployment and poverty engulfed all the countries of Central Asia. In Kyrgyzstan, people lost their jobs overnight, while Russians hastily abandoned the former Soviet republics to return to the fallen mother Russia. As they fled, they left behind their homes, jobs and factories. What remained was soon looted, including the railway tracks which were sold to Chinese scrap metal dealers.

October 31, 2017 - Magdalena Borowiec

Snapshots of Central Asia

This piece originally appeared in Issue 6/2016 of New Eastern Europe. Subscribe now.

December 15, 2016 - Eimear O’Casey

What to make of OSCE’s status downgrade in Kyrgyzstan

In September 2016, the Kyrgyz government expressed its intention to change the status of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Representation in Kyrgyzstan from an OSCE Centre to a prospective OSCE Programme Office. The change is envisaged to take place in January 2017.

November 30, 2016 - Kanykey Bayalieva-Jailobaeva

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