Kyrgyzstan Table of Contents
Although internal stability has not been a serious problem during the Akayev era, events in the mid-1990s threatened to make it so. By 1995 economic hardship, to which international experts did not predict a rapid end, combined with insufficient internal security forces and the opportunity for profits from organized narcotics activities to threaten the stability of Kyrgyzstan's society, especially in the major urban centers of Bishkek and Osh. The high crime rate also interfered with plans to attract Western tourist trade.
Meanwhile, as of 1995 external security came exclusively from Russia, a situation that Kyrgyzstan officially welcomed in the absence of domestic resources to build a credible military force for its very small and isolated nation. As in the economic field, however, policy makers were not sure how long Russia would view strong support of Kyrgyzstan's national security as an important element of Russian foreign policy. Although no major regional threat loomed in the mid-1990s, major policy questions remained unanswered.
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A useful reference for general historical background is Central Asia: 120 Years of Russian Rule , edited by Edward Allworth and revised in 1994. The Kyrgyzstan chapter of Martha Brill Olcott's Central Asia's New States is a concise description of the republic's status in the post-Soviet world. Several publications of the World Bank provide detailed information about social and economic developments in the 1990s. Among the most useful are those entitled Kyrgyz Republic: Economic Report ; Kyrgyz Republic: Agricultural Sector Review ; Kyrgyz Republic: Energy Sector Review ; and Kyrgyzstan: Social Protection in a Reforming Economy . For general background on Kyrgyz society and customs, the government's Discovery of Kyrghyzstan is a valuable source. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)
Data as of March 1996