Kyrgyzstan Culture

Kyrgyzstan Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Kyrgyzstan

According to SOFTWARELEVERAGE.ORG, Kyrgyzstan is a country located in Asia. About one third of Kyrgyzstan’s TV channels and newspapers are state-controlled. In addition, many of the private TV channels are owned by people close to the ruling elite.

The Kyrgyz-speaking daily newspaper Agym (formerly Asaba) has an edition of about 30,000 copies. (1999), the Russian-speaking evening newspaper Vetjernij Bishkek (‘Evening Bishkek’) about 60,000 copies. The government body Kirgiz Tuusu (‘Kyrgyzstan’s words’, Russian Slovo Kyrgyzstana) is bilingual and is printed in almost 10,000 copies. Both official and private magazines are often agitatory, but the courts’ practice in disputes over defamation varies depending on which media company is facing the lawsuit.

Radio broadcasting began in 1931 and TV broadcasting in 1958. Alongside the official news agency Kabar (founded in 1936 as Kirtag), the private AKI press is the largest. About 5% of the population regularly use the internet. Both during the 2005 parliamentary elections and in connection with an intense political debate in early 2009, several media sites were exposed to attacks, which meant that the public could not read the information there.


According to ANIMALERTS, Kyrgyz was a nomad people until the late 1900s, which greatly influenced the culture. Even today, some Kyrgyz – at least seasonally – live in traditional herbs, which are a kind of large round tents, decorated with rugs and objects made of leather and wood.

The Kyrgyz culture houses a wealth of stories, stories, songs and proverbs that have been orally transmitted from generation to generation. Folk singers (acynes), often accompanied by the three-stringed long-necked komuz, have played an important role in the preservation of this oral tradition with their grievances and notes.

The national epic above others is the 500,000 lines long poem cycle about the hero Manas, sometimes called “the Iliad from the steppe”. It is a chronicle of legends and stories of the life and destiny of the Kyrgyz clans. Manas was widely spoken orally before it was first recorded in Russian in 1856.

In the 1920s, a Kyrgyz-speaking literature emerged. The Kyrgyz Akyn Toktogul Satylganov was one of the first to record his poems, which he later used to sing the Soviet power in Kyrgyzstan.

The most famous contemporary Kyrgyz writer is Tjingiz Ajtmatov (1928–2008). His books, written mainly in Russian but also in Kyrgyz, have been translated into some 80 languages. Ajtmatov became known for his independent attitude towards the regime during the Soviet era. In his novels, he succeeded in conveying the myths of his homeland and telling the problems of Soviet society. Several of his books have been translated into Swedish, including The White Steamboat, Djamilja and Farewell Gulsary.

Traditional music is closely associated with the nomads’ lives. Unanimous songs are performed at work as well as at parties and other social gatherings. In addition to the tufts of the acynes, tjoor (flute), temir-komuz (mungy) and the two-string string instrument kyjak are also common.

During the Soviet era, Kyrgyzstan had a large film production. Nowadays, fewer films are made and those that are made often receive foreign support. Actan Abdykalydov’s 1998 film “The Adoptive Zone” received international attention. It also got the movie “Kurmanjan Datka” (The Queen of the Mountains), made by Sadyk Sher-Niyaz 2014.



Mining conflict is gaining momentum

The government cancels negotiations with the Canadian mining company Centerra on the operation of the Kumtor gold mine (see February, June 2014). The government says it no longer accepts the proposal that the state and Centerra each own 50 percent of the mine. The message comes just a few days before the company’s concession expires.


New four-party government

Prime Minister Sarijev forms a new government where the Social Democrats cooperate with the Kyrgyzstan Party, Progress and the Foster Country.


Mixed comments from election observers

Election observers from the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the EU say that the electoral movement has been lively, but that there has been a lack of impartial information in the media and that there is some doubt about the security of the polls. Election observers say that Election Day progressed calmly. The turnout is reported to be around 60 percent.

The Social Democrats are the biggest in the election

October 4th

In the parliamentary elections, Kyrgyzstan’s Social Democratic Party receives the most votes (27.5%). The second largest party will be the Republican Party of the Fatherland (20.1%), followed by the Kyrgyz Party (12.8%). Another three parties are entering Parliament: Progress (9.3%), Unity (8.4%) and the Foster Country (7.7%). The turnout is 58 percent.


Kyrgyzstan joins the Russian-led EEU

Kyrgyzstan becomes the fifth member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) after having been approved by the other countries in the cooperation – Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan.


Elections in October

Parliamentary elections are announced until October 4.

Protest against US prize to political prisoner

The government terminates a cooperation agreement with the United States, signed in 1993. This is in protest of the US Department of State awarding a Kyrgyz political prisoner a human rights award. The award-winning Azimjon Askarov belongs to the Uzbek minority and has been imprisoned since the unrest between the Uzbek and ethnic Kyrgyz in 2010, when over 450 people were killed. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for being charged with clashes.


New head of government

April 23

President Atambayev accepts Prime Minister Otorbajev’s resignation. The three parties that are part of the government nominate Finance Minister Temir Sarijev as new prime minister and he is quickly approved by Parliament.

The government is leaving

April 23

Prime Minister Dzjoomart Otorbajev submits his resignation application. He says in Parliament that there should be no monopoly of power in a democracy, but he gives no further reason for his departure. Behind the decision lies the conflict over the Kumtor gold mine (see February, June 2014). The conflict has flared up since Otorbaev suggested that foreign nationals be allowed to sit on the board of the Kyrgyz-Canadian company that will run the mine. The direct reason for the government’s case seems to be its inability to agree with the Canadian majority owners on better conditions for the Kyrgyz state.

Kyrgyzstan Culture

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