Kyrgyzstan. According to
CountryAAH, the total population in Kyrgyzstan is 6,524,206 people in 2020.
The UN Drugs and Crime Agency (UNODC) opened
an office in Kyrgyzstan's capital city of Bishkek in May.
Three-quarters of all heroin sold in Europe comes from
Afghanistan, and one of Afghanistan's main smuggling routes
goes through Kyrgyzstan. So far, however, only a small
proportion of the drugs have been seized in Kyrgyzstan. The
widespread poverty in the country makes smuggling attractive
as a source of income. At the same time, the Kyrgyz
authorities have expressed concern over the increasing drug
use among their own population.
A proposed language law intended to strengthen the
position of the Kyrgyz language in the community aroused
protests during the year. The critics warned of
discrimination against minority groups, mainly the Uzbek in
the Osh region in the south and Russian-speaking residents
in the Bishkek area in the north.
In May, several opposition parties formed a new political
movement, the League of Justice Elections, with the
intention of creating a strong force that can challenge
President Askar Akajev's power in the planned parliamentary
and presidential elections in 2005.
Opposition supporters continued to work for the release
of leading opposition politician Feliks Kulov, who is
serving long prison sentences for "abuse of power" and
"embezzlement" respectively. A representative of the
International Helsinki Committee, who was allowed to visit
Kulov in prison during the year, expressed concern about the
human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan.
Bakijev's presidential term
Kurmanbek Bakijev was appointed acting president on March
25, 2005, after Askar Akajev was removed from power during
the "tulip revolution". President Bakijev strengthened his
position by placing a number of close family members in
central positions. The president's brother, Zhanyshbek
Bakijev, was appointed chief of the president's security
service. His son, Maksim Bakijev, became the head of the
Kyrgyzstan Development Fund, with direct control over major
Other opposition leaders from the first revolution
accused the Bakijev family of corruption and nepotism. At
the same time, there was no improvement in the economic
situation of ordinary citizens, which led to increasing
dissatisfaction with the population. Several major
demonstrations against the sitting regime took place in the
capital Bishkek and in other cities during 2007, 2008 and
Among events that aggravated the political situation in
the country were the circumstances surrounding a car
accident in March 2009 in which opposition politician Medet
Sadyrkulov perished. In December 2009, critical journalist
Gennadyj Pavljuk was found killed in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In
both cases, members of Kyrgyz security services were
subsequently convicted of murder.
Pressure against independent journalists and NGOs
increased significantly during Bakijev, with the closure of
several critical media and the expulsion of a number of
foreigners working for human rights organizations from the
The trigger for the events, dubbed the "April
Revolution," was the reaction of the authorities to a series
of scheduled "assembly" ("Kyrgyz" in Kyrgyz) in the cities
of Talas, Naryn and Bishkek on April 7, 2010. The night
before, a number of opposition politicians were arrested and
taken into custody of security services, including President
from 2011 to 2017, Almazbek Atambayev. The crowds in Talas
took Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongatijev hostage and
grossly abused him. The crowds in Bishkek marched towards
the presidential palace.
During the storming of the presidential palace in
Bishkek, 87 people were killed, many of the snipers deployed
on the roof of the building. The Kyrgyz judiciary later
found the president's brother Zhanyshbek Bakijev guilty of
having ordered to shoot the protesters.
President Bakijev fled the same day to Jalalabad in the
south of the country, and later with his family to Belarus,
where he was offered political asylum by Belarusian
President Aleksandr Lukashenko. His brother, Zhanyshbek
Bakijev, lived for a long period in hiding south of
Kyrgyzstan, but later also traveled to Belarus. The crashed
president's son, Maksim Bakijev, traveled to London on
private flights and sought political asylum in the United
Extradition requests from Kyrgyz authorities in recent
years have not been forthcoming. In 2013, Bakijev was
sentenced to 24 years in absentia by a Kyrgyz court.
Zhanyshbek Bakijev was sentenced to life, and Maksim Bakijev
to 25 years in prison.