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ABOUT RUSSIA / NATIONS / KYRGYZ

About Russia

Nations of Russia

The Kyrgyz

They live in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, parts of Siberia, but the main Kyrgyz national state is in Kyrgyzistan.
Language is Kyrgyz, closely related to Kazakh, there are two major dialects (north/south). It belongs to Turkish group
Religion: Sunni-muslims, many orders of Sufism
Diaspora: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Sinkiang province of China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

Kyrgyz are probably a mixture of Mongolian, East-Turkic and Kypchak people.
The oldest reliable source mentioning the Kyrgyz is from the 8th c. However, historians disagree about the continuity between these early Kyrgyz and their contemporary namesakes. The earliest records of the Kyrgyz of present-day Kyrgyzistan date back only to around 1500.
In the 9th c., a great Kyrgyz state was the most powerful in Central Asia, but it was defeated in the 10th c. After the Mongol Golden Horde invasion in 1218, a group of Kyrgyz migrated southward, leaving their original territory in the Upper Yenisey river basin, arriving to the Western Tien Shan region, familiar as the modern Kyrgyz homelands. During the period of struggle against the Mongols, the Kyrgyz began to convert to Sunni Islam.
In the 17th c., the Yenisei Kyrgyz came under Kazakh political control. The Tien Shan Kyrgyz lived in relative peace until the 1680s, when they were forced to flee into neighboring Turkestan from a terrible onslaught by the Kalmyks (Mongolian Buddhists). In 1703, then, the Kalmyks and Russians transfered the Yenisey Kyrgyz to Tien Shan. There, the two groups of Kyrgyz were reunited in 1758 as the deported Tien Shan Kyrgyz were allowed to return, after the Kalmyk/Oirot Federation was defeated by the Manchus. The Kyrgyz now came under China, but their nomadic lifestyle made them virtually independent.
Contacts with the Russians began in the mid-17th c., and after 1758 Russia started meddling in Kyrgyz internal affairs. The first Kyrgyz to come under Russian rule were not defeated by the Russians. They had appealed to the Russian government for help against other Kyrgyz aggressors. In 1854, the Bugu Kyrgyz of the northern Kyrgyz groups requested Russia's protection against the Sarybagysh Kyrgyz, who were backed by the Uzbek Khanate of Khokand. Russian mediation failed, and in 1862, they established a garrison at in Bishkek (later Frunze). By 1867, when the Russians established the government of Turkestan, the majority of northern Kyrgyz tribes joined the Bugus in requesting or at least accepting Russian rule. The southern Kyrgyz and the remaining northern Kyrgyz were forced to accept Russian rule by 1876, after fighting them in a Muslim Holy War.
The Russians encouraged Slavic, Cossack and German immigration into Kyrgyzistan, and these colonists competed for the most productive agricultural land, which was assigned by the Cossack army of Semireche. The pasturage of the native Kyrgyz was severely constricted, and they entered a vicious cycle of herd reductions and ever-declining living standards. Northern Kyrgyzistan became one of the most neglected and under-developed areas of Russian Central Asia. In 1898, Kyrgyz united with Uzbek and Tajik farmers in an uproar against the Russian regime, that was knocked down by the tsar's military.
In 1916, as the Russian Army in the First World War was desperate for more troops, the Russians for the first time introduced general military conscription among the peoples of Central Asia. This spurred a general revolt, in which the Kyrgyz also took part. As the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Civil War started in 1917, the Kyrgyz were still suffering from the consequences of the 1916 Revolt. In the Civil War, the Kyrgyz sided with the White forces against the Bolshevik Red Army, and were defeated in 1919. The Bolsheviks then divided the Kyrgyz land among the various provinces of the newly created Turkestan ASSR. In the beginning, the Bolsheviks continued tsarist policies of encouraging colonisation, but as the Basmachi Revolt exploded in Turkestan, a land reform was instituted in Kyrgyzistan in 1921, returning colonised land. In 1924, Kyrgyzistan was given status as Autonomous Oblast within the RSFSR. In 1926, it was upgraded to Kyrgyz ASSR, and in 1936 to Kyrgyz SSR, a full constituent republic of the Soviet Union.
Kyrgyz resistance against collectivisation around 1930 was fierce. Many slaughtered their livestock and fled to China, rather than submit. The Basmachi rebels reappeared. The Communist regime feared futher revolt, and Kyrgyz political and intellectual leaders were purged both in 1927-29 and 1935-39.

Glasnost and Perestroyka had no effect on Kyrgyzistan until 1990, when ethnic rioting broke out on the border with Uzbekistan. The result from the following unstable situation, however, was the establishment of a presidential-parliamentary democracy in independent Kyrgyzistan in 1991.
NATIONS OF RUSSIA

 

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