Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic

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Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic



see KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan
, officially Kyrgyz Republic, republic (2015 est. pop. 5,865,000), c.76,600 sq mi (198,400 sq km), central Asia. It borders on China in the southeast, on Kazakhstan in the north, on Uzbekistan in the west, and on Tajikistan in the southwest.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic


(Kyrgyz Sovettik Sotsialistik Respublikasy), Kirghizia (Kyrgyzstan).




















The Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast was founded on Oct. 14, 1924, as part of the RSFSR. Renamed the Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast in May 1925, it became the Kirghiz ASSR on Feb. 1, 1926, and on Dec. 5, 1936, the Kirghiz SSR. Kirghizia is located in northeastern Middle Asia, primarily in the western and central parts of the Tien-Shan. In the north it borders on the Kazakh SSR, in the west on the Uzbek SSR, in the southwest on the Tadzhik SSR, and in the east and southeast on China. Its area is 198,500 sq km, and its estimated population as of Jan. 1,

Table 1. Administrative-territorial division of the Kirghiz SSR (as of Jan. 1, 1972)
 Area (sq km)PopulationCitiesUrban-type settlementsAdministrative center
Issyk-Kul’ Oblast . . . . . . . .43,200325,00026Przheval’sk
Naryn Oblast . . . . . . . .50,600198,00012Naryn
Osh Oblast . . . . . . . .73,9001,307,000915Osh
Raions of republic subordination . . . . . . . .30,700792,000212
Frunze (city) . . . . . . . .100452,0001

1972, was 3,074,000. The capital of the Kirghiz SSR is Frunze.

The republic is divided into three oblasts and eight raions of republic subordination. In Kirghizia there are now 15 cities (as compared to three in 1913) and 35 urban-type settlements. (See Table 1.)

The Kirghiz SSR is a socialist workers’ and peasants’ state, a Union soviet socialist republic, and a part of the USSR. The constitution now in effect was adopted by the Fifth Extraordinary Congress of Soviets of the Kirghiz SSR on Mar. 23, 1937. The highest body of state power is the unicameral Supreme Soviet of the Kirghiz SSR, which is elected to a four-year term under a system of representation that allots one deputy for every 8,000 inhabitants. Between sessions of the Supreme Soviet the highest body of state power is the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Kirghiz SSR. The Supreme Soviet appoints the government of the republic—the Council of Ministers—and legislates for the Kirghiz SSR. The local bodies of state power are the soviets of working people’s deputies of the oblasts, raions, cities, settlements, and the auly and sela (villages), which are elected to two-year terms by the population. Kirghizia is represented by 32 deputies in the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

The highest judicial body of Kirghizia is the Supreme Court, which is elected to a five-year term by the Supreme Soviet of the Kirghiz SSR. The Supreme Court comprises two collegiums (one for civil and one for criminal cases) and a Plenum. In addition, there is a presidium of the Supreme Court. The procurator of the Kirghiz SSR is appointed to a five-year term by the procurator-general of the USSR.

Kirghizia is located within two mountain systems. The larger northeastern part of the republic lies within the Tien-Shan, and the southwestern part, within the Pamir-Alai mountains. Most of Kirghizia’s borders run along the crests of extremely high ranges; only in the north and southwest do they extend along foothills and piedmont plains (the Chu Valley and the outskirts of the Fergana Valley).

Terrain. The entire area of the republic is more than 500 m above sea level. About half of it lies between 1,000 m and 3,000 m, and about a third between 3,000 m and 4,000 m. Parallel chains of mountains, most of which extend in latitudinal directions, cover about three-fourths of the area of Kirghizia. The chief ranges of the Tien-Shan come together in the east near the Meridianal’nyi Range, forming a thick knot. Pobeda Peak (7,439 m) rises in this region, on the border with China. Farther west the Akshiirak Massif separates the Central Tien-Shan from the Inner Tien-Shan, which is framed in the south by the Kokshaltau Range (Dankov Peak, 5,982 m), in the north by the Terskei-Alatau and Kirghiz ranges, and in the southwest by the Fergana Range. The Inner Tien-Shan includes ranges characterized by alpine reliefs and separated by valleys and basins. The eastern part of the Inner Tien-Shan, as well as the Central Tien-Shan, are characterized by vast stretches of flattened syrts (watersheds), most of them valley platforms, at high altitudes (up to 3,850 m). The Issyk-Kul’ Basin, where Lake Issyk-Kul’ is located, lies north of the Terskei-Alatau Range, between it and the Kungei-Alatau Range.

Western Kirghizia lies within the Western Tien-Shan, whose major orographic features are the Talas Valley and the Talas Alatau and Chatkal ranges. Located in southwestern Kirghizia are the northern, eastern, and southern outskirts of the Fergana Basin, with foothills and the adjoining parts of piedmont plains (adyry). Southern Kirghizia includes the northern slopes of the Turkestan Range, the Alai Range, the Alai Valley, and the northern slopes of the Trans-Alai Range (Lenin Peak, 7,134 m), which forms the northern border of the Pamirs.


Geological structure and mineral resources. Kirghizia is located in the Tien-Shan Folded Region, whose geosynclinal development was essentially completed by the end of the Paleozoic era. The relatively calm platform development that followed in the late Paleocene and Neocene epochs was interrupted by intensive tectonic movements, which are still going on and which explain the present high-mountain relief of the country. A distinction is drawn between the early Caledonian system of the Northern Tien-Shan, which dates from the Ordovician period and the beginning of the Silurian, and the Hercynian systems of the Middle and Southern Tien-Shan, which are divided by deeply faulted zones.

Caledonian mountains of the Northern Tien-Shan have been discovered in the Zailiiskii Alatau, Kungei-Alatau, Terskei-Alatau, Kirghiz, Talas Alatau, Dzhumgaltau, and Susamyrtau ranges. Hercynian mountains of the Middle Tien-Shan make up a number of ranges, including the Sarydzhaz, Keliutau, Dzhetim, Moldotau, Akshiirak (western), and Chatkal, and Hercynian mountains of the Southern Tien-Shan are found in the Inyl’chektau, Borkoldoi, Atbashi, Kokshaltau, Fergana, Alai, and Turkestan ranges. The intramontane depressions are made up of thick Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediments, which are, for the most part, continental. The structure of the Caledonian mountains of the Northern Tien-Shan includes Lower Paleozoic eugeosynclinal and miogeosynclinal folded complexes resting on a Baikal foundation, as well as large blocks of more ancient Proterozoic structures. The Hercynian structural layer is composed primarily of continental sedimentary and volcanogenic epigeosynclinal orogenic complexes. There are characteristic traces of powerful Caledonian granitoid magmatism.

The foundation of Paleozoic terrigenous and carbonaceous strata, which is typical of the Middle Tien-Shan, consists primarily of pre-Riphean gneisses, Riphean granitoids, and porphyries. The Hercynian mountains of the Southern Tien-Shan are distinguished by the broad development of folded squamate and, in some places, mantle structures. The development of the individual geosynclinal downwarps of this system began in the early Silurian period and was completed at different periods. The downwarps differ a great deal from each other owing to the varied composition of the volcanogenic sedimentary strata of which they are composed.

Among the industrially significant mineral resources of the Northern Tien-Shan are polymetallic ores and deposits of rare metals associated with late Paleozoic magmatism (Aktiuz and Bordu), as well as gold and sulfuric pyrite deposits. Located in the Middle Tien-Shan is the Dzhetim Basin, which is rich in sedimentary iron ores (in Wend sediments; estimated reserves, about 10 billion tons). In addition, the Middle Tien-Shan has poor molybdenum and vanadium mineralization in Lower Paleozoic siliceous black shale formations, as well as polymetallic ores in Devonian and Lower Carboniferous carbonaceous rocks (Sumsar and Moldotau). Gold and copper mineralization in the Middle Tien-Shan is associated with late Paleozoic skarns and zones where hydrothermal changes took place (Sumsar and the Sandalash Range).

The Southern Tien-Shan contains deposits of mercury, antimony, tin, and polymetals, and there are promising signs of gold and bauxite deposits in the Devonian and Middle Carboniferous carbonaceous formations of the Alai Range. Major reserves of mercury ores that ensure steady work for mining enterprises are found in the hydrothermal Khaidarken, Chauvai, and Chonkoi deposits, and reserves of antimony are found in deposits in Kasansai Raion and Kadamdzhai. In the Akshiirak-Sarydzhaz region there are tin deposits associated with the contact zones of Upper Paleozoic granitoid intrusions. Petroleum and gas are extracted from Cretaceous and Paleocene sediments in the Fergana Basin.

Located in Kirghizia are Middle Asia’s largest geological coal reserves (31 billion tons). The balance reserves of the prospected deposits total 2.3 billion tons, including 0.5 billion tons of coking coal. There is more hard coal than brown coal among the total reserves, but the latter prevails among the industrial reserves. The reserves of hard coal (from light to anthracite forms) are concentrated primarily in the East Fergana hard coal basin, which covers the southeastern Fergana Range and its southern foothills. Of the coal deposits of the Fergana and Issyk-Kul’ basins, the Suliukta, Shurab, Kyzyl-Kiia, Kok-Iangak, Naryn, Dzhergalan, and Soguty deposits are being exploited. Mesozoic and Cenozoic strata contain deposits of rock salt, gypsum, kaolin and bentonite clay, glass sand, and building materials, as well as fresh subterranean water. There are numerous thermal and mineral springs, some of which are used by the Issyk-Ata and Dzhalal-Abad resorts. Kirghizia is a seismically active zone, with foci at the Fergana, Atoinok, and other major faults.


Climate. Kirghizia has a continental climate characterized by great variations in the temperature of the air, moderate precipitation, dry air, and few clouds. There are between 2,500 and 2,700 hours of sunshine per year. Because of the mountain landscape and the great range of elevations, the climate varies from dry subtropical to high-mountain tundra. The average January temperature ranges from —1.5° C to — 8° C in the valleys and from -8° C to -20° C at medium elevations. It is -27.7° C in the high mountains (the Aksai Valley). The lowest absolute temperature recorded in the Aksai Valley is — 53.6° C (—34.4° C in Frunze). Except in the high-mountain belt, there are frequent thaws during the winter. The summers are dry and hot, with the average July temperature 20°-27° C on the outskirts of the valleys, 15°-17° C in the medium-elevation valleys, and 5° C or less in the high mountains. The highest absolute temperature recorded in the Chu Valley and the Fergana Region is 43° C.

The prevailing winds blow from the mountains to the valleys. Foehns have been recorded on the outer mountain slopes of the ranges of the Fergana Region, and breezes reinforce the mountain-valley winds in the Issyk-Kul’ Basin. In the broad valleys the prevailing winds blow from lateral gorges. Most of the precipitation is carried by northwestern, western, and southwestern air masses. The mountain slopes turned toward these currents receive the greatest amount of precipitation. The annual precipitation is 750–770 mm on the northern slopes of the Kirghiz Range; 900–1,000 mm on the southwestern slopes of the Fergana Range, but only 200–250 mm on the opposite slopes; and 300–400 mm in the Chu Valley. In the Issyk-Kul’ Basin the precipitation ranges from 100 mm in the west to 500 mm in the east, and in the Inner and Central Tien-Shan, from 265 mm in the west to 180 mm in the east. The maximum precipitation occurs in March-April on the outskirts of the valleys, in May on the slopes of the Kirghiz and Fergana ranges, and from May to July in the Inner Tien-Shan and the Issyk-Kul’ Basin.

Depending on the specific physical and geographic conditions in a given part of the Tien-Shan, the snow line lies between 3,600 m and 4,600 m. Because little snow falls in the intramontane depressions, they are used as winter pastures. The frostless period is 200–220 days long in the Fergana piedmont plains, 172–182 days long in the Chu Valley, 115–151 days long in the eastern Issyk-Kul’ area, and 90 days long in the Kochkor Valley of the Inner Tien-Shan.

Glaciation. Glaciers cover 6,578.3 sq km, of which 75 percent is in the Tarim and Syr Darya basins. Kirghizia has many mountain-valley glaciers which are fed primarily by avalanches. There are glaciers on the flat summits in syrts in the Tien-Shan. The main centers of glaciation are located in the extreme east of Kirghizia, the site of many glaciers: the Iuzhnyi Inyl’chek glacier (length, 59.5 km; area, more than 800 sq km), the Severnyi Inyl’chek or Reznichenko glacier (length, 38.2 km; area, 211 sq km), the Kainda glacier (length, 29 km; area, 84 sq km), the Semenov glacier (length, 20.2 km; area, 65 sq km), and the Mushketov glacier (length, 20.5 km; area, 69 sq km). In addition, there are major glaciers in the Kokshaltau and Akshiirak ranges (the Petrov glacier) and in the Terskei-Alatau, Trans-Alai, and Alai ranges.

Rivers and lakes. The rivers of Kirghizia belong to the Aral Basin (76.5 percent of the republic’s territory), the Tarim Basin (12.4 percent), the Issyk-Kul’ Basin (10.8 percent), and the Balkhash Basin (0.3 percent). The average annual flow of all the rivers is 52 cu km, which represents 3 percent of the total water flow of the USSR. The upper and middle reaches of many rivers flow through Kirghizia. The largest river in the republic is the Naryn, which rises near the Petrov glacier and merges with the Karadar’ia to form the Syr Darya. The chief tributaries of the Naryn are the Atbashi, Alabuka, and Kekemeren. The Karadar’ia’s main tributaries are the Karakul’dzha, Iassy, and Kugart (which flow from the Fergana Range) and the Tar and Kurshab (from the Alai Range). Other major rivers include the Chu in northern Kirghizia, the Talas in the northwest, and in the extreme south the Kyzylsu, which flows through the Alai Valley. The most important rivers emptying into Lake Issyk-Kul’ are the Dzhergalan and Tiup.

The Sarydzhas, Uzengegush, and Aksai rivers in eastern Kirghizia belong to the Tarim Basin. Only the Karkara River, which rises in the eastern part of the Terskei-Alatau, belongs to the Ili River system. The rivers that rise in the high mountains are fed mainly by glaciers and snow and have high-water periods in the summer. The small rivers rising at lower elevations are fed by snow, rain, and subterranean waters that begin as springs (karasu). The rivers are very valuable for the production of electric power and are used to irrigate the fields of Kirghizia, as well as those of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tadzhikistan.

Kirghizia has about 3,000 lakes, the largest of which are located in tectonic depressions. Among them are the Issyk-Kul’, one of the world’s largest high-mountain lakes, the Sonkel’, and the Chatyrkel’. There are dammed lakes, of which Lake Sarychelek in the Chatkal Range is one of the most beautiful.

Soils. Sierozems are widespread in the deserts of southern Kirghizia and the semideserts of northern Kirghizia, where irrigated farming is well developed. Meadow-sierozems are found in areas fed by subterranean waters, and alluvial, meadow, and meadow-boggy soils are distributed in the floodplains of rivers and the plains around Lakes Issyk-Kul’, Sonkel’, and Chatyrkel’. The desert-steppe belt of the Inner and Central Tien-Shan and of the western part of the Issyk-Kul’ Basin has brown soils; the dry steppe belt, chestnut soils; and the meadow-steppe belt on the wet slopes, mountain chernozems. In Kirghizia a great variety of mountain-forest soils are encountered: brown soils in spruce forests, dark cinnamonic soils in forests of nut and fruit trees, and light cinnamonic soils in savin forests. At higher elevations there are varieties of mountain-meadow, mountain meadow-steppe, and mountain-steppe subalpine soils. At the upper limits of vegetation the most prevalent types of soil are soddysemipeaty and high-mountain polygonal soils, and at still higher elevations, takyr-like desert soils, which are found, for example, on the syrts of the Inner Tien-Shan.

Flora. In Kirghizia there are about 3,500 plant species, whose distribution depends on the complexity of the terrain and on the location and elevation of the ranges and the exposure of their slopes. Deserts and semideserts cover small areas. Steppes and meadow-steppes are found everywhere and are used for irrigated and dry farming. High-grass meadows are used as hay fields, and lowgrass meadows as pastures. Forests cover 3.3 percent of the republic’s territory, with the largest tracts made up of spruce, savin, and nut and fruit trees. Tien-Shan spruce forests grow at elevations of between 1,600 m and 3,100 m in the Terskei-Alatau, Kungei-Alatau, Naryntau, Atbashi, and Kirghiz ranges and in the basins of a number of rivers, including the Chon-Kemin and Tar. The southern slopes of the Fergana and Chatkal ranges (1,500–2,800 m) are covered with unusual tracts of nut and fruit trees (area, 265,000 hectares), and the Turkestan and Alai ranges and the Talas Alatau (between 1,200 and 3,000 m), with savin forests. In addition, there are fir, willow, and poplar forests. At elevations of 3,600–4,000 m there are cold deserts and mountain tundras.

Fauna. The deserts are inhabited by many rodents, including the yellow suslik, jerboas, the Tolai hare, and the long-eared hedgehog; birds such as Pallas’ sand grouse, the trumpeter bullfinch, and the rose starling; and a number of reptiles, including the steppe tortoise, the eastern sand snake, and Ophisaurus apodus. Among the animals found on the steppe are the gray hamster, the common and social vole, the Siberian polecat, Pallas’ cat, the European bee-eater, the roller, the water snake, the patterned rattlesnake, the little bustard, the crane bustard, and the quail. The forests have abundant fauna, including the brown bear, lynx, wild boar, roe deer, ermine, gray wolf, forest marten, Caspian deer, and Himalayan tree creeper. Among the birds inhabiting Kirghizia’s forests are the goshawk, hobby, and sparrow hawk. Endemic species of rodents are the Tien-Shan birch mouse and Tien-Shan vole. The Tien-Shan nutcracker is among the endemic bird species.

The high mountains are inhabited by the mountain goat (teke), snow leopard, snow cock, stone marten, and relict suslik (Citellus relictus). Swans, geese, and ducks winter on Lake Issyk-Kul’ and mountain geese live on Lakes Sonkel’ and Chatyrkel’. There are 40 species of fish in Kirghizia’s bodies of water, of which 25 are caught for industrial use. Fur-bearing animals such as the raccoon, American mink, Sciurus vulgaris exalbidus (a species of red squirrel), muskrat, and nutria have been acclimatized.

Preserves. The Issyk-Kul’ and Sary-Chelek preserves are located in Kirghizia.

Natural regions. The Tien-Shan mountain region is subdivided into five geographic provinces. The Northern Tien-Shan province (the Talas Alatau and Kirghiz ranges and the Kemin Valley) has high-mountain landscapes, mountain steppes, and spruce forests on the northern slopes of the ranges. In the Issyk-Kul’ province of the Tien-Shan there are deserts in the west and mountain steppes and spruce forests in the east. The Inner Tien-Shan has mountain steppes and deserts, few forests, and high-mountain landscapes, whereas the Central Tien-Shan has elevated syrts, very high peaks, and extensive glaciation. The Southwestern Tien-Shan (Fergana Region) has high-mountain landscapes, forests of coniferous, nut, and fruit tree, and sub-tropical steppes.

The Pamir-Alai region is divided into two provinces. The Alai, which includes the Alai and Turkestan ranges, is characterized by high-mountain landscapes, savin forests, mountain meadows, and subtropical steppes. The Northern Pamir province contains the mountain-steppe Alai Valley and the high, ice-covered Trans-Alai Range.


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The native population are the Kirghiz. Numbering 1,285,000, the republic’s Kirghiz constitute 88.5 percent of all the Kirghiz in the USSR. (Figures here and below are based on the 1970 census.) In addition, Kirghizia’s population includes Russians (856,000), Uzbeks (333,000), Ukrainians (120,000), Germans (90,000), Tatars (69,000), Kazakhs (22,000), and Tadzhiks (22,000).

In terms of population, Kirghizia is the 11th largest Union republic, and it is the largest Union republic in Middle Asia after the Uzbek SSR. It is characterized by a high rate of natural and total population growth. (See Table 2.) Between 1913 and 1971, Kirghizia’s population increased 3.6 times.

The average population density was 15.5 persons per sq km in 1972, as compared to 4.4 per sq km in 1913. Almost four-fifths of the population is concentrated in the valleys and intramontane basins, which are up to 1,600 m above sea level and cover about 15 percent of the republic’s territory. On the plains of the Chu, Talas, and Ketmen’-Tiuba valleys the density is 30–50 persons per sq km; in the Osh-Karasui Oasis and in the valleys of the Kurshab and Kugart rivers, 70–80; and in the high-mountain pasture belt, fewer than one to two persons per sq km.

Industrial and office workers constitute 71.3 percent of the population, and kolkhoz workers 28.4 percent. Between 1929 and 1971 the population of the republic increased 3.1 times, but the number of industrial and office workers rose 25 times. In 1971, 816,000 industrial and office workers were employed in the national economy, including 212,000 in industry, 83,000 in construction,

Table 2. Population
 PopulationUrbanRuralPercentage of total
1913 (estimate at end of year) . . . . . . . .864,000106,000758,00012.387.7
1926 (census, Dec. 17) . . . . . . . .1,002,000122,000880,00012.287.8
1939 (census, Jan. 17) . . . . . . . .1,458,000270,0001,188,00018.581.5
1959 (census, Jan. 15) . . . . . . . .2,066,000696,0001,370,00033.766.3
1970 (census, Jan. 15) . . . . . . . .2,933,0001,098,0001,835,00037.462.6
1972 (estimate, Jan. 1) . . . . . . . .3,074,0001,164,0001,910,00037.962.1

126,000 in agriculture and forestry, and 82,000 in transportation and communications. Women make up 48 percent of the total number of industrial and office workers. As of 1972 only Frunze (452,000) and Osh (132,000) had populations of more than 100,000. Under Soviet power new cities have been built, including Kyzyl-Kiia, Rybach’e, Maili-Sai, Talas, Naryn, and Kara-Su.

Primitive communal and slaveholding system (until the sixth century A.D.).

Archaeological remains discovered in Kirghizia show that man began to make the region habitable about 300,000 years ago during the early Stone Age (the Lower Paleolithic period). Lower Paleolithic implements have been found in the On-Archa Valley in the Central Tien-Shan, at Boz-Barmak on the Issyk-Kul’, and in the gorge of the Khodzha-Bakirgansai River in the Fergana Valley. The Middle Paleolithic period—the Mousterian culture—is represented by several primitive sites, deposits of stone implements, and stone quarries (Khodzha-Gor and Kapchigai in the south and Tosor and the Georgievskii Bugor in the north). A small number of archaeological finds, including some in Kapchigai, date from the Upper Paleolithic period (35,000–10,000 years ago).

Primitive settlements unearthed near the cities of Frunze and Tokmak, near the village of Cholpon-Ata on the Issyk-Kul’, and around Chak and Kara-Shiva in the Alai Valley date from the Neolithic period. Two caves containing evidence of human habitation during the Neolithic period have been found: the Teke-Sekirik Cave near the city of Naryn and the Ak-Chunkur Cave on the Sarydzhaz River. In the latter, there are representations of animals painted in red on the rocks. The tribes that inhabited Kirghizia during the Neolithic period mastered a more refined technique for working stone (pressing, grinding, and boring), used the bow and arrow, and began to make earthenware. In addition, the same period (5000–3000 B.C.) saw the beginning of animal husbandry and farming and apparently, the transition from the matriarchal to the patriarchal clan.

Copper implements and later, bronze ones, were more widely used from the end of the third millennium and the beginning of the second millennium B.C. Archaeological materials suggest that two different population groups—farming and herding tribes—lived on the territory of Kirghizia in the Bronze Age (middle of the second millennium to early first millennium B.C.). Settlements unearthed by archaeologists at Boz-Tepe, Chimbai, and Kara-Kochkor offer evidence of the existence of Bronze Age farming tribes. Burial sites and settlements on the Chu, Talas, and Naryn rivers, on Lake Issyk-Kul’, and in the Central Tien-Shan show that herding tribes of the Andronovo culture inhabited Kirghizia during the Bronze Age.

During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. the economy and social structure of the population changed radically. The use of iron tools and weapons became more widespread, nomadic livestock raising became the prevailing form of economic activity, property stratification grew more intense, and class relations began to take shape. Among the nomads, tribal alliances developed, and in the farming regions slaveholding states appeared. Northern Kirghizia was the site of the Saki tribal alliance (seventh through third centuries B.C.), which was succeeded by the Usuni tribal alliance (second century B.C. through the fifth century A.D.). In the second and first centuries B.C. the southern regions were part of the Parkan state, and later, from the first through the fourth century A.D., they belonged to the Kushani kingdom.

Beginning and development of feudal relations (sixth through the 18th century). In the fourth and fifth centuries water-raising techniques came into use in the farming regions of southern Kirghizia, irrigation ditches were deepened and widened, water mills were built, and new agricultural crops such as cotton were sown for the first time. As a result of the changes in economic life and in social relations, the slaveholding states of the farming zones gave way to federations of feudal states, and early feudal states were formed among the nomadic tribes. In the fifth century the nomads of northern Kirghizia made the transition to settled farming. In the sixth and seventh centuries Kirghizia was the center of the West Turkic Kaganate, whose capital, the city of Suiab, was located in the Chu Valley near the city of Tokmak.

Migrants from other Middle Asian farming regions played some role in the development of permanent settlements in northern Kirghizia. The founding of cities and the social division of labor led to clearly manifested social and class differentiation, which in turn increased feudal exploitation, brought about the gradual enslavement of the free population, and caused the intensification of the class struggle. The growth of the productive forces of a class society contributed to the development of a variety of cultural phenomena. In the sixth to eighth centuries the nomadic Turkic tribes used Orkhon-Enisei writing, whereas the settled population used Sogdian writing. The population professed Shamanism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Christianity.

In the early eighth century political power in Kirghizia shifted to the Türgish (Türgäsh) aristocracy, but in the mid-eighth century the Karluk tribes moved from the Altai to the Tien-Shan, seized power there, and ruled the region until the mid-tenth century. The first written evidence of the presence of Kirghiz tribes in the Tien-Shan dates to the tenth century. By that time, the number of towns and permanent settlements in the Chu and Talas valleys had increased, and towns had also been founded on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul’. The inhabitants of the towns— artisans and merchants who maintained contact with other regions of Middle Asia—supplied the nomads with cotton cloth, ceramics, leather, wooden, and metal goods, grain, and dried fruit. The nomads supplied the towns with livestock products. The ancient caravan route from the Far East to Middle Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East passed through the center of the Karluk domains—the Chu Valley.

From the mid-tenth to about the mid-12th century the main appanage of the Karakhanid state was located in Kirghizia. The capital of this state, the city of Balasaghun (the present site of the fortified town of Buran), was located in the Chu Valley. During this period feudal relations were highly developed in Kirghizia. In the 11th century the iqta—the conditional granting of allotments of land—came into practice in Middle Asia and especially in Kirghizia, where it soon became the prevailing way to draw an income from the land. The iqta coexisted with private land ownership. Just as there were many forms of land ownership, there were many ways of exploiting the dependent rural and urban population. By contemporary standards the productive forces of Kirghizia were highly developed in the tenth to 12th centuries. The Talas Valley was an important center for the mining of silver and other metals, and handicrafts, trade, and culture flourished in many cities, including Balasghun and Uzgen.

The craftsmanship of the urban artisans and the development of culture are demonstrated in the architectural monuments that have been preserved and in great literary works in the Turkic languages, including the didactic poem Kutadghu bilig (Knowledge Which Gives Happiness) by Yusuf Balasaghuni. The feudal aristocracy adopted Islam, which was declared the state religion. During the 11th and 12th centuries a considerable cultural and economic rapprochement occurred among the various tribes and groups inhabiting Kirghizia. Although conditions for the formation of a nationality ripened during this period, the process was hindered for a long time by the Mongol-Tatar invasion, which began in the first quarter of the 13th century. By the early 14th century many of the towns and major settlements had been devastated by the invaders or had disappeared, and settled farming had declined. From that time seminomadic livestock raising became the prevailing branch of the economy in northern Kirghizia.

In the wake of the Mongol conquest many nomadic tribes moved to Middle Asia. Part of the Tien-Shan and Eastern Turkestan were included in Jagatai’s ulus (Tatar settlement), while the herding tribes of the Tien-Shan and Eastern Turkestan formed the separate ulus of the Moguls. (The nomads of Semirech’e and Kashgar called themselves Moguls—their pronunciation of the word “Mongols.”) Lacking a stable administrative or political structure, Mogulistan (the eastern part of Jagatai’s ulus) was divided into several independent feudal holdings. In the second half of the 15th century the alliance of Kirghiz tribes in northern Kirghizia led to the formation of the first independent khanate, which included most of the Kirghiz nationality, which had taken shape by that time. The rise of the khanate was accompanied by the elimination of the rule of the Mogul feudal lords. Throughout the first half of the 16th century the Kirghiz persevered in their struggle against raids by the Oirats. The influence of the Kirghiz on the administration and politics of Eastern Turkestan increased during the 17th century and the early 18th.

Incorporation into Russia; social and economic development in the 19th century. Prompted by the complex external political situation, unstable internal conditions, and commercial interests, the Kirghiz began to seek protection from Russia in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Diplomatic contacts with Russia were initiated by the embassy of the Chu Kirghiz to St. Petersburg in the late 18th century. In 1814 and 1824 delegations of the Issyk-Kul’ Kirghiz were sent to the Russian authorities in Western Siberia. The Kokand khans’ campaigns of conquest against the Kirghiz in the first third of the 19th century interrupted relations between the Russians and the Kirghiz, who fell under the rule of the Kokand Khanate, which had been established in the late 18th century. To maintain their rule, the Kokands erected fortresses in the lands of the Kirghiz nomads, including Pishpek (now near the city of Frunze), Tokmak, Kurtka, and Daraut-Kurgan.

In the first half of the 19th century the economy of the Kirghiz was based on extensive nomadic and seminomadic livestock raising. Farming, cottage industry, and handicrafts were of subsidiary importance. Trade with merchants from neighboring countries was conducted chiefly by means of barter. The economic development of Kirghizia was retarded by ruinous feudal strife. Its social and economic structure was dominated by patriarchal and feudal relations. Private land ownership (mul’k) had developed, clerical land ownership (waaf) had appeared, and communes and communal ownership of land (zamini dzha-moat) still existed.

The oppressive practices of the khans and feudal lords provoked rebellions against the Kokands, such as the uprisings of the Issyk-Kul’ Kirghiz in 1843, the Osh Kirghiz in 1845, the Talas and Chu Kirghiz in 1856–57, and the Alai Kirghiz in 1871, as well as the major uprising of the southern Kirghiz from 1873 to 1876.

In the mid-19th century very favorable conditions for a rapprochement between Kirghizia and Russia developed. The Issyk-Kul’ Kirghiz were the first to take an oath of allegiance to Russia. Subsequently, the Kirghiz of the Chu Valley, the Tien-Shan, and the Talas Valley voluntarily entered the Russian empire. By 1863 all of northern Kirghizia, where the majority of the Kirghiz population lived, had become part of the Russian Empire. The southern regions of Kirghizia were united with Russia after the destruction of the Kokand Khanate in 1876. After its incorporation into Russia, Kirghizia was part of the Turkestan Region (1856–67), and later, of the governor-generalship of Turkestan (1867–1917). The area inhabited by the Kirghiz was divided into four regions: Semirech’e (formed in 1867; part of the Governor-Generalship of the Steppes from 1882 to 1898), Syr Darya (1867), Fergana (1876), and Samarkand (1886).

The progressive aspect of Kirghizia’s voluntary union with Russia was the rapprochement of the Kirghiz and the Russian peoples. The common revolutionary struggle against tsarism and the local exploiters, as well as the strengthening of economic, political, and cultural relations with Russia, promoted the growing solidarity of the Kirghiz people with the Russians and with all the peoples of Russia. The toiling people of Kirghizia were freed from the cruel oppression of the Kokand feudal lords and saved from the possibility of enslavement by other backward states of the East and from the threat of British expansion. Slavery was outlawed, ruinous internecine feudal strife ceased, the natural economy began to disintegrate, and elements of capitalism emerged.

The importation from Central Russia of industrial goods, which were initially exchanged for livestock, grain, and other agricultural products, was one of the most favorable factors for the development of capitalist relations in Kirghizia. Subsequently, barter trade gave way to money trade. In addition, the development of capitalist relations was promoted by the colonization of many lands by cossacks and peasant-settlers from the central and southern provinces of the Russian Empire. This also had a beneficial effect on the transition from a nomadic to a settled way of life, encouraging the spread of more refined agricultural implements and the use of wheeled vehicles for transportation and promoting specialization in agriculture (truck farming and hay mowing, for example). Kulaks and affluent settlers who engaged in commodity farming sold their produce in Kirghizia and in the cotton-growing regions of Middle Asia.

The development of capitalism in Russia and the strengthening of commodity-money relations and of contacts with Russian markets promoted the economic specialization of the various regions of Kirghizia, as well as the establishment of manufacturing enterprises and cotton-ginning, vegetable-oil extraction, and leather plants, as well as creameries, breweries, rolling mills, hulling mills, and various small artisan enterprises. In the last third of the 19th century the mining industry—particularly, coal mining—became established in southern Kirghizia. (Kyzyl-Kiia and Suliukta were the largest coal mines.) Petroleum was extracted near Maili-Sai. The main branches of factory and plant production were associated with the processing of agricultural products. The development of capitalism led to the founding of credit institutions, joint-stock associations, and savings and loans banks in Kirghizia. A working class and a national bourgeoisie took shape, and there were several thousand hired workers of extremely diverse ethnic backgrounds. However, industrial capitalism did not develop in Kirghizia.

Although the incorporation of Kirghizia into Russia had progressive ramifications, it also brought about a further intensification of colonial oppression, increased taxes (collected in money from the second half of the 19th century), the expropriation of Kirghiz lands to add to the territory officially designated for colonization, and the entrenchment of a “native administration” composed of Kirghiz feudal chiefs—the manaps (clan leaders with judicial and military powers), biis (elders of clans or tribes), and bais (wealthy stock raisers or landowners).

Despite the domestic policy of tsarism, representatives of the Russian people brought advanced culture and the ideas of friendship among peoples to the Kirghiz. Cultural and educational institutions and secular schools were founded in Kirghizia, but only a small number of Kirghiz children, including very few working people’s children, attended them. The first hospitals were opened in Kirghizia during this period.

Period of imperialism and the bourgeois-democratic revolutions in Russia (1900–17). Inspired by the revolutionary movement of the Russian proletariat, the working people of Kirghizia embarked on a struggle for national and social liberation. In the early 20th century the ideas of Marxism-Leninism began to spread in Kirghizia, revolutionary literature was disseminated, and the first Social Democratic organizations were founded. With the outbreak of the Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia, disturbances broke out at the Kyzyl-Kiia and Suliukta mines in the spring of 1905. The workers made economic and political demands such as the eight-hour work day, higher wages, the abolition of fines, reduction of overtime work, freedom of assembly, and the right to form unions. Kirghiz and Russian working people fought side by side in the revolutionary movement. The Social Democrats of Pishpek organized political meetings on Aug. 6, Oct. 22, and Nov. 8, 1905, and in November the postal and telegraph employees of Pishpek, Tokmak, and Przheval’sk joined the October All-Russian Political Strike (1905).

In Bagish, Chatkal, Susamyr, Bazar-Kurgan, and other volosts (small rural districts) the dekhkans (peasants) rose against the volost administrators and the ail (village) elders. Refusals to pay taxes and to fulfill labor services assumed a mass character. At the end of 1905 the tsarist authorities placed three districts of Semirech’e Region under martial law, which was extended in September 1906 to all of the Turkestan Region, where it was lifted only in 1909. Russian settlers played a considerable role in the development of the agrarian movement in Kirghizia. Under Stolypin’s agrarian reform, lands were taken away from the peasants, leaving them in worse condition than before. In 1913, 4,167 out of 4,818 settled dekhkan farms in Pishpek District were owned by poor peasants. Bais and manaps owned a great deal of the livestock and agricultural implements, as well as vast sown areas.

For Kirghizia, World War I (1914–18) meant a reduction in sown areas and livestock and an increase in taxes and requisitions. In 1914 alone 34 million rubles’ worth of livestock and products of animal husbandry were shipped from Kirghiz and Kazakh farms in the Semirech’e Region, and bread prices rose six-fold between 1906 and 1916. The people’s indignation boiled over in an uprising that seized many regions of Kirghizia (the Middle Asia Uprising of 1916). Essentially an anticolonial, antifeudal, and national liberation movement, the uprising was suppressed by punitive detachments.

After the February Revolution of 1917, dual power—the soviets and the representatives of the Provisional Government—was established in Kirghizia, as in the rest of the country. Soviets of workers’ deputies, as well as soviets of soldiers’ deputies, were created in March in Kyzyl-Kiia, Pishpek, Osh, and other localities, and the Turkestan Committee of the Bourgeois Provisional Government was established in Tashkent on April 7. The committee appointed commissars to represent it in the regions and districts. The main centers of the revolutionary events were, in northern Kirghizia, Pishpek, where large groups of workers occupied in the irrigation of the Chu Valley were concentrated, and in southern Kirghizia, the Kyzyl-Kiia, Suliukta, and Kok-Iangak coal mines.

Kirghizia in the Great October Socialist Revolution, the Civil War, and the military intervention (1917–20). Among the events that gave impetus to the struggle of the toiling people of the borderlands for Soviet power were the victory of the armed uprising in the central parts of the country, the formation of the Soviet government, and the issuing of its first decrees—the Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia (November 1917) and the address of the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR To All the Toiling Muslims of Russia and the East. The establishment of Soviet power in Tashkent on Nov. 1 (14), 1917, played an important role in the triumphant march of the socialist revolution in the region. The Bolsheviks were the leaders of the popular masses. Because of variations in the relationships among class forces, the Soviets won at different times in various regions of Kirghizia. The miners of Suliukta and Kyzyl-Kiia were the first to take power in their hands (November 1917). In other localities, where the industrial proletariat was extremely small and where there were very few Bolshevik groups, the struggle was prolonged. The reactionary Muslim clergy, local feudal lords, and Russian kulaks offered fierce resistance. Soviet power was established in the Talas Valley in December 1917, in Osh District in January 1918, in Pishpek District in February, in Naryn in April, and in Przheval’sk District in May-June 1918. By mid-1918, Soviet power had triumphed in all of Kirghizia (in most areas, through peaceful means). The soviets of Kirghizia were composed mainly of dekhkans. A network of Bolshevik organizations took shape between November 1917 and July 1918, and the first League of Workers’ Youth was set up in early 1918.

The October Revolution freed the Kirghiz people from social and national oppression. After Soviet power had been established, the colonial administrative machine was dismantled, and new democratic governing bodies were created. The settlement administrations were abolished between February and May, and volost and ail land and water committees composed of representatives of the Russian and Kirghiz peasantry were organized. The committees confiscated lands from kulak colonialists and turned them over to poor peasants. By the decrees of Mar. 5 and Mar. 16, 1918, the Turkestan Council of People’s Commissars nationalized the Kyzyl-Kiia and Suliukta coal mines, the Fergana railroad, the petroleum fields, the cotton enterprises, and a number of plants. In late April 1918, Kirghizia became a part of the newly formed Turkestan ASSR.

The overthrown exploiters furiously resisted the political and economic measures of the Soviet government in Kirghizia. In the spring and summer of 1918, the bais and manaps and the Muslim clergy of southern Kirghizia organized Basmachi detachments, established contacts with foreign imperialists, and, relying on the latter’s help, opened an armed struggle against Soviet power. Large Basmachi bands plundered villages and cities, brutally killed party workers and Soviet activists, and destroyed enterprises, communications, and transportation. They were supported by K. Monstrov’s kulak “peasant army.” In the northern regions the bais and manaps fought side by side with Russian White Guards and kulaks.

Kirghizia’s working people rose to the defense of the revolutionary gains. Village, district, and city revolutionary committees were formed. On Aug. 29, 1918, the kulaks and White Guards raised a rebellion in the village of Dmitrievskoe in the Talas Valley, but it was suppressed with the help of a Red Army detachment from Chimkent. On Dec. 6, 1918, an anti-Soviet rebellion broke out in the village of Belovodskoe in the Chu Valley. The rebels tried to capture Pishpek, but they were routed on December 28 by volunteer detachments and by the 1st Pishpek Soviet Regiment, which had arrived from the Semirech’e Front. Between 1918 and 1920, White Cossacks made many raids from Sinkiang on the area around Przheval’sk. In July 1919 their raid was supported by a kulak rebellion in Tiup, but at the end of the month the rebels were dealt a crushing blow by volunteer detachments from Przheval’sk and by the Tokmak Detachment, which had arrived from the front.

In September 1919, Madaminbek’s and Monstrov’s bands captured Osh and Dzhalal-Abad in southern Kirghizia. Red Army detachments routed the combined forces of the counterrevolution, and Soviet power was restored in the liberated areas. One of the last big counterrevolutionary outbreaks in northern Kirghizia, the SR (Socialist Revolutionary) rebellion in Naryn, was crushed in November 1920. By that time, the main forces of the Basmachi had also been routed, although remnants of them were active as late as 1921–23. The 1st Pishpek Soviet Regiment (commander Ia. N. Logvinenko), detachments of Kyzyl-Kiia and Suliukta miners, and volunteer dekhkan detachments fought in the Civil War alongside Red Army units led by M. V. Frunze and V. V. Kuibyshev. Among the Kirghiz units that won distinction in combat were those led by M. Bulatov, E. F. Kuzhelo, S. Iu. Kuchukov, A. Osmonbekov, F. S. Dubovitskii, and V. Ia. Khripchenko.

Period of socialist construction (1921–40). At the end of the Civil War conditions in Kirghizia were extremely bad. In 1922 industrial output was about two-thirds the 1913 level. The sown area had been reduced by 45 percent, and the total number of livestock by 29 percent, as compared to 1916. The difficulties of the period of restoration were exacerbated by the complexity of the economic structure, the prevalence of patriarchal and feudal relations in the countryside, the lack of large-scale industry and a ramified railroad and highway network, and the low cultural level. Kirghizia had neither experienced economic personnel nor an experienced soviet.

The most important socioeconomic measure of the period was the land and water reform of 1921–22, which was carried out in northern Kirghizia and in the Dzhalal-Abad Region in the south and whose chief aim was to overcome the consequences of tsarist colonial policy. About 6,000 landless peasants and peasants with small holdings received 199,000 desiatinas (216,910 ha [hectares]) of irrigated lands and pastures. The second phase of the reform, whose bite was directed against feudal elements, was implemented in 1927–28. More than 17,000 poor peasants and farm laborers were given land that had been alienated from parasitic elements. Implemented in an atmosphere of fierce class struggle in the countryside, the reform struck a heavy blow at the bais, manaps, and kulaks and freed the poor peasants and farm laborers from their bondage. The middle peasant became the chief figure in the ail. In the struggle for the reform the Koshchi (Plowman’s League) played a prominent role.

The beginning of the socialist transformations in Kirghizia was accompanied by changes in the social relations, traditions, and way of life of the Kirghiz. With large-scale material aid from the state, the nomads began to adopt a settled way of life, prerevolutionary laws that made the Kirghiz woman virtually a slave were abolished, the legal equality of men and women was established (1917), and polygamy and the kalym (purchase of brides) were outlawed (1921). The work of the soviets was laid out, and except in some regions, the revolutionary committees were replaced by elected bodies of state power—the executive committees.

Among the major events that promoted the development of a national state of the Kirghiz people and their consolidation into a socialist nation were the formation of the USSR in 1922 and the demarcation of the Soviet republics of Middle Asia as separate national states in 1924–25. In addition, under the Oct. 14, 1924, resolution of the second session of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast became part of the RSFSR. By the May 25, 1925, resolution of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast was renamed the Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast, which became the Kirghiz ASSR on Feb. 1, 1926.

In 1928 the national economy of Kirghizia regained its prewar level. However, this was the level of a backward colonial borderland of prerevolutionary Russia. The sown area (674,000 ha) and the total number of livestock exceeded the prewar figures. The solution of the republic’s economic, national, and political tasks was complicated by the resistance of bourgeois nationalists and bai and kulak elements.

Through the prewar five-year plans the Communist Party and the government of the USSR industrialized the country, aiming at higher rates of industrial growth and capital investment in the once economically backward national republics than in the Soviet Union as a whole. Capital investments in Kirghizia’s national economy between 1925 and early 1941 exceeded 280 million rubles. Between 1928 and 1932 alone more than 90 percent of the funds for the construction of industrial enterprises in Kirghizia came from the budgets of the Union republic and the RSFSR.

From 1928 to 1940, 140 industrial enterprises, including power plants, were built and put into operation. Among them were the Kadamdzhai Antimony Combine, the Frunze and Kara-Su machine-repair plants, the Changyr-Tash oil field, meatpacking combines, tobacco factories, sugar refineries, the Kok-Iangak and Tash-Kumyr mines, new mines in Kyzyl-Kiia and Suliukta, and the Alamedin Hydroelectric Power Plant. New industries were created, including metalworking, petroleum, nonferrous metallurgy, textiles, sugar refining, and meatpacking. Between 1913 and 1940 gross industrial output increased 9.9 times, and heavy industrial output, 153 times.

An electric power base was established, and between 1928 and 1940 the generation of electric power rose from a mere 0.8 million kW-hr to 51.6 million kW-hr. By 1940 the Kirghiz SSR accounted for 88 percent of the coal produced in the republics of Middle Asia, and it had become the fourth largest producer of granulated sugar among the republics of the USSR, after the Ukrainian SSR, the RSFSR, and Kazakhstan.

The mass collectivization that was launched in 1929 led to socialist transformations in Kirghizia’s backward agriculture, which included about 100,000 small livestock farms, two-thirds of which were owned by nomads or seminomads. The transition from nomadic to settled farming—one of the most difficult problems and one that was specific to socialist construction in Kirghizia—was solved by collectivization. More than 300,000 nomadic livestock farms became permanently settled farms under Soviet power, and, as a result, hundreds of new settlements were built in Kirghizia. By early 1941, 98.9 percent of the peasant farms had been collectivized, and the kulaks, as well as the bais (the most numerous exploiting class in the region), had been liquidated. At the end of 1940 the republic had 65 MTS’s (machine and tractor stations) with 6,200 tractors (measured in 15-horsepower units) and 1,050 combines, the area of cultivated lands had increased almost 1.7 times since 1913, and since 1914 the area of irrigated lands had doubled, and that of cotton plantings had tripled. New industrial crops such as sugar beets, kenaf (fiber crops), southern hemp, tobacco, and sunflowers were grown. The kolkhoz system led to radical changes in the way of life of the dekhkans, and as a result of the social and economic transformations in the republic’s economy, the socialist way of life prevailed.

The economic and cultural achievements of the Kirghiz people consolidated them into a socialist nation (natsiia, nation in the historical sense). Under the Constitution of the USSR, which was adopted on Dec. 5, 1936, the Kirghiz ASSR became the Kirghiz SSR, and on Mar. 23, 1937, the Fifth Extraordinary Congress of the Soviets of the Republic adopted the Constitution of the Kirghiz SSR, which gave a legislative foundation to the victory of socialism. On Nov. 21, 1939, five oblasts were formed in Kirghizia: Osh, Issyk-Kul’, Tien-Shan (Naryn), Dzhalal-Abad, and Frunze. The prewar five-year plans transformed Kirghizia from a backward agrarian area into an advanced industrial-agrarian republic.

The working people of the industrial centers of the country extended help on a large scale to Kirghizia for the creation of the foundations of the socialist economy and the implementation of social and cultural transformations. The working people of Moscow, Leningrad, Ivanovo, Kazan, Kharkov, and Kiev sent skilled workers, engineers, and technicians as well as machines and equipment for the republic’s construction projects. In 1932 the working people of Leningrad assumed sponsorship of Kirghizia. National cadres for the national economy were trained in Kirghizia, in the big industrial centers of the country, and in the fraternal republics of the USSR. While building socialism under Soviet power, Kirghizia began to supply other regions of the country not only with coal and agricultural raw materials but also with products of the food-processing industry and light industry. At the same time, Kirghizia’s imports of machines, equipment, fertilizers, and industrial timber materials from the other Soviet republics increased.

The Leninist national policy of the CPSU and the friendly support of the entire Soviet people enabled the Kirghiz working people to carry out successfully the collectivization of agriculture, industrialization, and a cultural revolution. Illiteracy was eradicated, and a common literary language was introduced throughout the republic, which had been fragmented into various regions before 1917. The once powerful patriarchal and feudal vestiges were essentially destroyed. National cadres of a working class and of a people’s intelligentsia were trained. (In 1940, 36,000 people were employed in industry. According to the census of 1939, 17.9 percent of all the republic’s workers were Kirghiz.) Higher schools and scientific, cultural, and educational institutions were founded. During the period of socialist construction Soviet Kirghiz literature and art originated and developed. Among the major gains of the revolution was the involvement of women in all spheres of socialist construction.

Great Patriotic War (1941–45) and postwar period. The troops of Kirghizia fought heroically on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. The 316th (8th Guard) Infantry Division fought with great distinction in the battle of Moscow. Made up of conscripts from Kirghizia and Kazakhstan, the division was commanded by I. V. Panfilov, former military commissar of the Kirghiz SSR and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kirghizia. The 385th Infantry Division, which had been formed in Kirghizia and had been awarded several orders, marched from Moscow to Berlin. Orders and medals of the USSR were awarded to 42,892 soldiers of Kirghizia, and the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was conferred on 70 of them.

From the first days of the war the national economy of the republic switched to military production. The mining industry played an important role in supplying the defense industry with tungsten concentrate, mercury, and antimony. Kirghizia provided Middle Asia with an uninterrupted supply of coal. The republic’s food-processing industry and light industry, as well as its agriculture, worked to supply the needs of the front. During the war more than 189 million rubles in money and 964 million rubles in bonds were put into the defense fund in Kirghizia. More than 30 major plants and factories were moved from the European USSR to Kirghizia and put into operation in an extremely short time. During the summer and fall of 1941, 139,000 workers, kolkhoz workers, and employees from the front zones, Moscow, and Leningrad were evacuated to Kirghizia. The Communist Party, the government of the republic, and all the working people of Kirghizia received the evacuees as brothers and selflessly provided them with jobs, housing, and food. After the liberation of the country’s western regions, which had been temporarily occupied by the fascist German invaders, the working people of Kirghizia helped the people of the liberated regions to restore the economy, which had been destroyed by the enemy, and sent them a gift of 20,000 horses, 10,000 cattle, 100,000 sheep and goats, and a great deal of food.

In the postwar period the working people of Kirghizia, with all the peoples of the USSR, successfully solved the problem of further developing the republic’s national economy. The continuous solicitude of the CPSU and of the Soviet government and the socialist mutual aid of the peoples of the Soviet Union enabled Kirghizia, as well as the other Soviet republics, to complete the building of socialism and to begin creating the material and technical base of communism. In 1957 the Kirghiz SSR was awarded the Order of Lenin. The 1950’s and 1960’s were marked by large-scale industrial construction and the rapid growth of a multinational working class in the republic. Representatives of 80 nationalities and ethnic groups work in the enterprises and on the construction projects of Kirghizia. A diversified agriculture is developing, and the material and cultural standards of living of the working people are constantly rising. During the 1950’s and 1960’s the Kirghiz SSR broadened and strengthened its relations with all the republics of the Soviet Union and with many foreign countries.

For selfless labor and great contributions to the development of various branches of the republic’s national economy, 33,820 working people of Kirghizia had been awarded orders and medals of the USSR by 1972, and 238 citizens of the Kirghiz SSR were granted the title of Hero of Socialist Labor. The title of Hero of Socialist Labor has been conferred twice on Allia Anarov, Surakan Kainazarova, and Khaitakhun Tashirov.

On Oct. 30, 1963, the Kirghiz SSR was awarded its second Order of Lenin for the achievements of the Kirghiz working people in the development of industry, agriculture, and culture and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Kirghizia’s voluntary incorporation into Russia. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the USSR, the republic was awarded the Order of Friendship of Peoples on Dec. 29, 1972.


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Trudy Kirgizskoi arkheologo-etnograficheskoi ekspeditsii, vols. 1–5. Moscow-Frunze, 1956–68.
Bartol’d, V. V. “Kirgizy: Istoricheskii ocherk.” Soch., vol. 2, part 1. Moscow, 1963.
Petrov, K. I. Ocherk proiskhozhdeniia kirgizskogo naroda. Frunze, 1963.
Zadneprovskii, Iu. A. Drevnezemledel’cheskaia kul’tura Fergany. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
Kozhemiako, P. N. Rannesrednevekovye goroda i poseleniia Chuiskoi doliny. Frunze, 1959.
Usenbaev, K. U. Obshchestvenno-ekonomicheskie otnosheniia kirgizov ν period gospodstva Kokandskogo khanstva (XIX v., do prisoedineniia Kirgizii k Rossii). Frunze, 1961.
Khasanov, A. Kh. Vzaimootnosheniia kirgizov s Kokandskim khanstvom i Rossiei ν 50–70 gg. XIX ν. Frunze, 1961.
Dzhamgerchinov, B. D. Dobrovol’noe vkhozhdenie Kirgizii ν sostav Rossii. 2nd ed. Frunze, 1963.
Il’iasov, S. I. Zemel’nye otnosheniia ν Kirgizii ν kontse XIX-nachale XX vv. Frunze, 1963.
Usenbaev, K. U. Vosstanie 1916 v. Kirgizii. Frunze, 1967.
Usenbaev, K. U. Priobshchenie trudiashchikhsia Kirgizii k revoliutsionnoi bor’be ν; Rossii. Frunze, 1971.
Zima, A. G. Pobeda Oktiabr’skoi revoliutsii ν Kirgizii. Frunze, 1966.
Sherstobitov, V. P. Novaia ekonomicheskaia politika ν Kirgizii (1921–1925). Frunze, 1964.
Duishemaliev, T. Ocherk istorii kollektivizatsii sel’skogo khoziaistva Kirgizii. Frunze, 1965. (Bibliography.)
Baibulatov, B. Bor’ba partorganizatsii Kirgizii za provedenie osedaniia kochevogo naseleniia. Frunze, 1965.
Il’iasov, S. I. Pobeda sotsialisticheskikh otnoshenii ν sel’skom khoziaistve Kirgizii. Frunze, 1961.
Istoriia sovetskogo rabochego klassa Kirgizstana. Frunze, 1966.
Istoriia sovetskogo krest’ianstva Kirgizstana. Frunze, 1972.
Orozaliev, K. K. 40 let Kirgizskoi SSR: Istoricheskii ocherk. Frunze, 1966.
Tatybekova, Zh. S. Zhenshchiny Sovetskogo Kirgizstana ν bor’be za sotsializm i kommunizm. Frunze, 1967.
Karakeev, K.-G. K., and D. A. Alyshbaev. V. I. Lenin i sotsialisticheskoe stroitel’stvo ν Kirgizstane. Frunze, 1970.
Kirgizstan ν bratskoi sem’e narodov. Frunze, 1972.
Bibliografiia Kirgizii, vols. 1–4. Frunze, 1963–72.


The Communist Party of Kirghizia is part of the CPSU. The first Marxist propagandists in Kirghizia were Russian revolutionaries who had been exiled from the central and western provinces of the country. Under the influence of the Revolution of 1905–07, the exile V. Osobo formed the first Social Democratic group in Osh in 1907, but the group was broken up by the police during the same year. In early 1908 the Middle Asian railroad workers I. S. Svinukhov and F. E. Panfilov organized a Social Democratic group in Pishpek (now Frunze). The Pishpek group had 25–30 members in 1913. D. T. Dekanov, a member of the RSDLP who had been exiled from the Donbas in 1903, did revolutionary work at the Suliukta mine in 1910. The Social Democratic groups were small and isolated and lacked a unifying center and experienced leaders.

After the February Revolution of 1917, Pishpek, where many workers were concentrated, was the center of events in northern Kirghizia, where the Bolsheviks A. I. Ivanitsyn and T. S. Gudkov were active in party work. However, the Mensheviks had the majority in the RSDLP organization that was founded in Pishpek in April 1917. The Bolsheviks’ position was greatly strengthened when they established contacts with the Central Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) and obtained party literature from the center. In late April 1917, F. Virchenko and A. Sidorov set up a party group composed of soldiers of the Pishpek garrison, and in late May, A. G. Anoshin, K. Kabuldzhanov, and M. Sarymsakov set up a similar group in Osh. A Social Democratic group led by Dekanov was established at the Suliukta mines in March 1917, and by the middle of the year the first Bolshevik group was founded at the Kyzyl-Kiia mine. Among its members were I. I. Edrenkin, V. S. Voronin, L. G. Solnyshko, and Iu. S. Kotlomamedov.

The Bolsheviks’ activities were stymied because the united RSDLP organizations included both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. However, the Bolsheviks began to differentiate themselves ideologically from the Mensheviks, and by mid-1917 separate Bolshevik organizations had been established in Pishpek and Osh, uniting the most revolutionary sections of the soldiers, workers, and artisans. The Bolsheviks participated in the formation of local soviets and in the organization of the miners’ trade union. Soldiers returning from the army and Kirghiz workers who had been on the home front played an important role in disseminating Bolshevik ideas among the local population. The Bolshevik Dekanov represented the working people of Kirghizia at the Second Congress of Soviets in Petrograd.

After the October Socialist Revolution of 1917 independent Bolshevik organizations were founded throughout Kirghizia—in Suliukta (November 1917), Kyzyl-Kiia (February 1918), Osh (March), Pishpek (April), and Przheval’sk (July). Their leaders were Ivanitsyn, Kh. Khasanov, K. Sarykulakov, Dekanov, Edrenkin, and Anoshin. The young party organizations worked under the guidance of the krai committee of the RCP(B) of Turkestan.

During the Civil War (1918–20) the Kirghiz party organizations mobilized the toiling masses for the defeat of the domestic and foreign counterrevolution, confiscated the estates of the landlords and big capitalists, distributed land to landless and land-poor peasants and to Kirghiz refugees who had returned from China, nationalized industrial enterprises, strengthened the soviets, vanquished hunger, and set up party cells in some villages and aily. Between 1921 and 1924, Kirghiz Bolsheviks fought for the restoration of the national economy, the creation of centers of socialist culture, and the final rout of the Basmachis in southern Kirghizia.

When the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast was formed, an oblast party bureau was created (late 1924) and the district and city committees were transformed into okrug (large district) party committees. The first oblast party conference, which was held in Pishpek on Mar. 23–27, 1925, elected an oblast party committee, control commission, and revolutionary committee. Under the guidance of the Middle Asian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP(B), the Communists of Kirghizia worked to create a strong alliance between the working class and the toiling peasantry, fought to strengthen their ranks ideologically and organizationally, and unmasked bourgeois nationalists.

The bitter struggle against the bais, manaps, and kulaks during the land and water reforms was a school of political struggle for the Kirghiz Communists. Eliminating feudal vestiges and the influence of the Muslim clergy, they brought about the liberation of women and drew them into active public life. The Communists of Kirghizia did a great deal to restore old industrial enterprises, to build new ones, and to organize kolkhozes and sovkhozes. By the 1930’s the total collectivization of agriculture had been successfully completed, nomadic and seminomadic farms had become permanently settled, and illiteracy had been eradicated. A great deal of progress was also made in building new centers of socialist industry.

In connection with the establishment of the Kirghiz SSR (Dec. 5, 1936), the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) resolved on Apr. 23, 1937, to transform the Kirghiz oblast organizations of the ACP(B) into the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Kirghizia. The First Congress of the Communist Party (B) of Kirghizia, which was held in Frunze on June 5–16, 1937, elected the governing bodies of the party and mapped out plans for the further development of the republic’s economy and culture. Among those members of the Communist Party of Kirghizia who did important work in the 1920’s and 1930’s were M. D. Kamenskii, D. Sadaev, N. A. Uziukov, V. P. Shubrikov, T. Tokbaev, M. M. Kul’kov, A. O. Shakhrai, B. Isakeev, M. L. Belotskii, Kh. Dzhienbaev, and T. Aitmatov.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) all the forces of the Communist Party (B) of Kirghizia and of the Kirghiz people were directed toward the defeat of fascism. Thousands of Communists went to the front, and the party sent more than 1,500 leading workers in the party, the Soviet, the economy, and the Komsomol to be commanders of the Soviet Army. Kirghiz Communists fought heroically at the front and worked selflessly in the rear.

In the postwar period the party has directed its efforts toward completing the building of socialism and toward beginning communist construction. The Communist Party of Kirghizia has overcome shortcomings in work, and since the decisions of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU (1956) it has done a great deal to restore the Leninist norms of party life, strengthening socialist legality and increasing the activity of the Communists. Under the guidance of the Central Committee of the CPSU and in conformity with the decisions of the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth congresses of the CPSU and the plenary sessions of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Communist Party of Kirghizia saw to it that the postwar five-year plans for the development of the republic’s national economy and culture were successfully fulfilled.

At the time of its Fifteenth Congress the Communist Party of Kirghizia was organizationally and ideologically tempered, and it rallied around the Central Committee of the CPSU. The Communist

Table 3. Membership in the Communist Party of Kirghizia
Year (as of January)MembersCandidate membersTotal
1925 . . . . . . . .7811,7482,529
1930 . . . . . . . .3,5783,3916,969
1940 . . . . . . . .6,3868,37514,761
1950 . . . . . . . .37,1377,65344,790
1960 . . . . . . . .56,5135,13361,646
1970 . . . . . . . .98,8444,184103,028
Party congresses
First . . . . . . . .June 5–16, 1937
Second . . . . . . . .July 3–16, 1938
Third . . . . . . . .Feb. 22–25, 1939
Fourth . . . . . . . .Mar. 13–16, 1940
Fifth . . . . . . . .Feb. 10–14, 1949
Sixth . . . . . . . .Sept. 20–23, 1952
Seventh . . . . . . . .Feb. 10–12, 1954
Eighth . . . . . . . .Jan. 24–26, 1956
Ninth . . . . . . . .Mar. 21–23, 1958
Tenth Extraordinary . . . . . . . .Jan. 12–13, 1959
Eleventh . . . . . . . .Feb. 25–27, 1960
Twelfth . . . . . . . .Sept. 19–21, 1961
Thirteenth . . . . . . . .Dec. 27–28, 1963
Fourteenth . . . . . . . .Mar. 3–4, 1966
Fifteenth . . . . . . . .Mar 3–5. 1971

Party of Kirghizia includes 104,632 Communists, more than 72 percent of whom work in material production. In 1973 the party was made up of three oblast committees, 3,498 primary and 2,576 shop party organizations, and 2,100 party groups. The party organizations’ contacts with the masses are growing stronger, and the party’s influence on the economic, public, and political life of the republic is increasing. Armed with the decisions of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU, the Communists of Kirghizia engage in large-scale ideological work, direct the efforts of the working people toward the implementation of the program of the CPSU, and march in the vanguard of the masses, who are fighting for the creation of the material and technical base of communism.


Kompartiia Kirgizii ν rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov obkoma i TsK, vols. 1–2. Frunze, 1958–68.
Ocherki istorii kommunisticheskoi partii Kirgizii. Frunze, 1966.
Iz istorii kommunisticheskoi partii Kirgizii, issues 1–4. Frunze, 1963–71.


The Lenin Communist Youth League (Komsomol) of Kirghizia is part of the All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League. The first Workers’ Youth League was organized on the initiative of the Bolsheviks in Kyzyl-Kiia in early 1918. At the same time, branches of the league were established in Pishpek, Tokmak, Przheval’sk, and Naryn, and as early as mid-1919 there were Communist Workers’ Youth League organizations in all the cities and coal mines. Branches of the league began working in rural localities, recruiting young farm laborers and poor livestock breeders. Among the most active Komsomol organizers were K. Kurbanov, D. Churakov, A. Iusupov, A. Zorin, and L. Brui. In 1920 congresses of the Youth League were held in all districts of Kirghizia.

During the Civil War and military intervention Komsomol members participated in the struggle for Soviet power. The constituent conference of the Komsomol of Kirghizia, which was held from late May to early June 1925, united the district branches into an oblast organization. The Komsomol of Kirghizia fought heroically against class enemies, helped the party and the Soviet government to liquidate the Basmachis, and was active in the implementation of the land and water reforms and in the transition from nomadic and seminomadic farms to settled agriculture. The Komsomol played an important role in carrying out the cultural revolution, contributing to the eradication of illiteracy and to the creation of a network of schools, institutions of higher learning, reading rooms, and libraries.

Under the party’s guidance, the Komsomol of Kirghizia participated in strengthening the bodies of Soviet power, in carrying out socialist construction, and in organizing ideological work. Komsomol members built plants, factories, irrigation installations, railroads, and water reservoirs and worked in industrial enterprises. They took a direct part in the collectivization of agriculture and the elimination of the kulaks and bais as a class. In the 1930’s, O. Aliev, S. Kul’matov, A. Tagaev, and S. Egimbaev were the organizers and leaders of the Komsomol of Kirghizia.

In 1937, after the formation of the Kirghiz SSR, the oblast Komsomol organization became the Lenin Communist Youth League of Kirghizia. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) more than 80,000 members of the Komsomol of Kirghizia went to the front, and about 30 of them were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, including K. Usenbekov, D. Asanov, Ch. Tuleberdiev, D. Shopokov, and A. Chortekov.

The Komsomol of Kirghizia directs the republic Pioneers organization, which unites 448,000 children (1973). Many Komsomol members move up into the ranks of the Communist Party of Kirghizia. For example, in 1972, 1,366 Komsomol members joined the party, accounting for 61 percent of all the new members of the Communist Party of Kirghizia in that year.

In the postwar period the Komsomol of Kirghizia has participated in the development of the national economy of the republic. In order to implement the Communist Party’s decisions, the Komsomol fights for technological progress and assumes sponsorship of the major construction projects in Kirghizia. Komsomol members work in industry and transportation. In agriculture they have managed to raise the productivity of farming and animal husbandry and to mechanize labor-consuming processes. Hundreds of young men and women have been awarded orders and medals for labor exploits, and more than 40 Komsomol members have received the title of Hero of Socialist Labor, including K. Ermatova, M. Dzhanybaeva, Sh. Isaev, B. Kokobaev, and K. Mukasheva. Under the guidance of the Communist Party, the Komsomol of Kirghizia is participating in the construction of a communist society.

Table 4. Membership in the Komsomol of Kirghizia
1937 . . . . . . . .32672 1960 . . . . . . . . 141 300
1940 . . . . . . . .97,332 1973 . . . . . . . . 306,577
Congresses of the Komsomol of Kirghizia
First . . . . . . . .Oct. 21–22, 1937
Second . . . . . . . .Feb. 7–8, 1939
Third . . . . . . . .Sept. 27–28, 1940
Fourth . . . . . . . .Nov. 25–26, 1946
Fifth . . . . . . . .July 20–21, 1948
Sixth . . . . . . . .Jan. 20–22, 1949
Seventh . . . . . . . .July 25–26, 1950
Eighth . . . . . . . .Feb. 27–28, 1952
Ninth . . . . . . . .Jan. 27–28, 1954
Tenth . . . . . . . .Dec. 22–23, 1956
Eleventh . . . . . . . .Mar. 3–4, 1958
Twelfth . . . . . . . .Jan. 28–29, 1960
Thirteenth . . . . . . . .Jan. 26–27, 1962
Fourteenth . . . . . . . .Jan. 23–24, 1964
Fifteenth . . . . . . . . Mar. 10–11, 1966
Sixteenth . . . . . . . . Feb. 12–13, 1968
Seventeenth . . . . . . . .Feb. 27–28. 1970
Eighteenth . . . . . . . .Mar. 3–4, 1972


Tabyshaliev, S. Stranitsy istorii komsomola Kirgizii. Frunze, 1960.
Tabyshaliev, S. Boevoi pomoshchnik partii. Frunze, 1969.


The trade unions of Kirghizia are a part of the trade unions of the USSR. The republic’s first trade unions were organized after the February Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution. In March 1917 unions of teachers and postal workers were founded in Pishpek (Frunze), and in April and August trade unions of the Kyzyl-Kiia and Suliukta miners were organized. After the victory of the October Revolution the organization of trade unions began to take place on a mass scale. Trade unions of construction workers, steelworkers, leather workers, printers, garment workers, workers in education, postal and telegraph workers, and medical and sanitation personnel were organized in 1918 and 1919. District trade-union councils were established in 1919 in Pishpek, Przheval’sk, Osh, and Dzhalal-Abad. By early 1920 there were 14 branch trade unions with 10,300 members.

During the Civil War and military intervention the trade unions helped to mobilize the working people for the speediest possible defeat of the class enemy and took part in the formation of Red Army units and volunteer people’s detachments. On Mar. 31, 1925, the First Constituent Congress of the Trade Unions of Kirghizia (Pishpek) elected the Oblast Council of Trade Unions, which became the Republic Council of Trade Unions at the Second Congress of Trade Unions (November 1926).

During the period of socialist construction the trade unions of Kirghizia, under the guidance of party organizations, participated in carrying out socialist transformations, the industrialization of the country, the collectivization of agriculture, the organization of workers’ sponsorship of the dekhkans, and the cultural revolution. The trade unions organized socialist competition and the shock workers’ and Stakhanov movements. By the time of the Fifth Congress of the Trade Unions of Kirghizia in February 1932, there were about 56,000 trade-union members.

During the Great Patriotic War the trade unions directed their efforts toward converting the republic’s economy for war production, increasing war output, and relocating evacuated citizens and enterprises.

During the postwar period Kirghizia’s trade unions have participated in the further development of the economy and culture and have organized all-people’s socialist competitions, the movement for a communist attitude toward labor, and the rationalizers’ and inventors’ movements. The trade unions of Kirghizia make an effort to organize the working people’s leisure time and to conduct educational work.

On Nov. 15, 1948, the Kirghiz Republic Council of Trade Unions was elected. In 1970 there were 17 branch trade unions in Kirghizia, with more than 800,000 members. The social insurance budget of the trade unions totaled 64.3 million rubles in 1971. By the end of that year the trade unions were running 239 clubs, 160 libraries, 2,220 red corners, eight sanatoriums and workers’ resorts, 33 people’s universities, and three voluntary sports societies.


Musin, Kh. Profsoiuzy Sovetskogo Kirgizstana. Moscow, 1962.

General characteristics. In the all-Union division of labor Kirghizia specializes in the production of nonferrous metals (antimony and mercury), agricultural machines, electrical engineering goods and instruments, wool and silk fabrics, and granulated sugar. In 1971 industry accounted for 55.7 percent of the gross social product, agriculture for 22.5 percent, construction for 12.8 percent, transportation and communications for 2.2 percent, and trade and public catering for 2.9 percent. In 1971 the gross social product was 2.6 times higher than in 1961. Capital investments in the economy totaled 8.4 billion rubles between 1925 and 1971. In 1971 alone 2.7 times more capital was invested in the economy than in all the prewar years. Kirghizia accounts for 0.7 percent of all the people employed in Soviet industry, 0.9 percent of all the nation’s capital investments, and 1 percent of the gross agricultural output (1971).

Under Soviet power Kirghizia’s mineral and hydroelectric resources have been exploited, providing the basis for the development of the electric power and fuel industries, nonferrous metallurgy, and the building materials industry. The systematic implementation of Lenin’s national policy and the accelerated development of the economy of the once backward region led to the rise of a modern industry and a highly mechanized collectivized agriculture.

Kirghizia maintains close economic relations with all the Union republics, especially Kazakhstan, the RSFSR, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, and Turkmenia, which account for more than 96 percent of the total freight turnover. Kazakhstan, which ships more than 40 percent of the freight entering Kirghizia, supplies the latter with coal, petroleum products, mineral fertilizers, building materials, ferrous metals, and grain. The RSFSR, which accounts for about 35 percent of the imports, provides Kirghizia with lumber, hard coal, mineral fertilizers, ferrous metals, hardware, petroleum products, machines, technological equipment, machine tools, precision instruments, motor vehicles and spare parts, wool and cotton fabrics, and footwear.

From the republics of Middle Asia Kirghizia imports petroleum products, mineral fertilizers, cotton-harvesting machines, products of light industry, and gas, and from the Ukraine, ferrous metals and machines. Byelorussia exports tractors, dump trucks, and radio engineering equipment to Kirghizia, and the Baltic republics supply the latter with radio engineering equipment, canned fish, and textiles. Kirghizia supplies the Middle Asian republics with coal, petroleum, turning lathes, pick-up balers, dump trucks, physics instruments, washing machines, bicycles, granulated sugar, and textiles. Kirghizia’s exports to Kazakhstan are building materials, lead concentrates, agricultural machines, dump trucks, granulated sugar, and wool and silk fabrics. Among the products imported by the RSFSR from Kirghizia are cotton fiber, machines, instruments, mercury, and antimony.

Kirghizia exports goods to almost 60 foreign states, including the socialist countries and developed capitalist countries such as Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany. (Among the republic’s exports are electrical engineering goods, agricultural machines, machine tools, technological equipment for the food-processing industry, physics instruments, nonferrous metals, cotton fiber, cured tobacco, and spun silk.)

The five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the USSR for 1971–75 provides for increasing the industrial output of Kirghizia by 45–48 percent and for developing further the electric power industry, machine building, nonferrous metallurgy, and light industry. The plan also provides for expanding fine-fleece and semifine-fleece sheep raising, for increasing the output of meat, milk, tobacco, fruit, and vegetables, and for expanding the areas of irrigated lands and watered pastures.

Industry. More than 500 major enterprises have been built, and many new industries have been created in Kirghizia under Soviet power. In 1971 the gross output of Kirghizia’s industry was 210 times that of 1913 and 21 times that of 1940. Machine building and metalworking are developing especially fast. Light industry, which was first established under Soviet power, is almost

Table 5. Rates of growth in industrial output (1940 = 1)
All industry . . . . . . . .
Electric power . . . . . . . .4.114.7143.6
Petroleum . . . . . . . .0.9610.3 9.3
Coal . . . . . . . .
Machine building and metalworking . . . . . . . .5.827.2183.3
Lumber, woodworking, and pulp and paper . . . . . . . .
Building materials . . . . . . . .1.511.759.0
Light industry . . . . . . . .
Food processing . . . . . . . .

160 times larger than at the time of its introduction. Kirghizia’s nonferrous metallurgy has all-Union significance.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, the electric power industry accounted for 22.5 percent of Kirghizia’s fixed industrial-production capital, the fuel industry for 11.2 percent, machine building and metal-working for 21.7 percent, the building materials industry for 8.5 percent, light industry for 11.7 percent, and the food-processing industry for 13.5 percent. (These figures are based on enterprises with independent balance sheets. See Table 5 and Table 6.)

The territorial distribution of industry has changed a great deal. Before the Revolution numerous artisan enterprises were concentrated primarily in the southern part of Kirghizia. In contemporary Kirghizia there are two major industrial regions: the north and southwest. Northern Kirghizia accounts for two-thirds of the republic’s industrial output. Typical industries include highly developed machine building and metalworking, electric power production, and the manufacture of building materials, as well as light industry (especially knit goods, clothing, and footwear) and food processing. Southwestern Kirghizia produces one-third of the republic’s industrial output and is outstanding for its highly developed nonferrous metallurgy, fuel industry, and textile industry, which produces cotton fabrics and silk.

The fuel industry is one of Kirghizia’s most important industries. The exploitation of coal deposits began in the late 1860’s in southwestern Kirghizia. Under Soviet power a modern coal industry has been created, which produces two-fifths of the coal mined in Middle Asia. Almost all the coal is mined in southwestern Kirghizia at the Kyzyl-Kiia, Suliukta, Kok-Iangak, Naryn, and Almalyk mines. The most promising and important of the unexploited coal-bearing basins are the Uzgen Basin (coking coals) in the eastern Fergana Range and the Kavak brown coal

Table 6. Production of basic types of industrial goods
1In wholesale prices as of July 1, 1955 2In wholesale prices as of July 1, 1967
Electric power (million kW-hrs) . . . . . . . .51.6197 8723,877
Coal (thousand tons) . . . . . . . .1031,4751,8483,5023,741
Petroleum (thousand tons) . . . . . . . .2447464292
Gas (million cu m) . . . . . . . .41383
Electric lamps (million units) . . . . . . . .186
AC electric motors (0.25–1 00 kW; thousand units) . . . . . . . .75.0136.7
Motor vehicles (thousand units) . . . . . . . .15.1
Agricultural machines (without spare parts; million rubles) . . . . . . . .3.4111.7132.12
Pick-up balers (thousand units) . . . . . . . .2.0 18.1
Washing machines (thousand units) . . . . . . . .11.3140
Asbestos cement sheeting (million conventional plates) . . . . . . . .102.0
Construction bricks (million units) . . . . . . . .36078388591
Cotton fabrics (million m) . . . . . . . .
Wool fabrics (million m) . . . . . . . .
Silk fabrics (million m) . . . . . . . .
Knit outer wear and underwear (million units) . . . . . . . .
Leather footwear (million pairs) . . . . . . . .
Meat (thousand tons) . . . . . . . .16.823.859.688.5
Granulated sugar (thousand tons) . . . . . . . .65.580.8131.7171.1

basin (especially the Kara-Kechin deposit) in the Inner Tien-Shan, where open-cast mining is possible.

There are petroleum and gas deposits in the adyr zone and in the low foothills that frame the Fergana Valley from the northeast. Petroleum is extracted at the Maili-Sai, Izbaskent, and Changyr-Tash deposits, and gas deposits are being worked near Izbaskent.

Kirghizia has the fifth largest hydroelectric power resources in the USSR (after the RSFSR, the Tadzhik SSR, the Kazakh SSR, and the Georgian SSR). The potential reserves amoung to 15.5 million kW. Among the facilities now in operation are the Alamedin Hydroelectric System (six plants), the Uchkurgan Hydroelectric Power Plant (capacity, 180,000 kW), and the Atbashi Hydroelectric Power Plant (capacity, 40,000 kW). The Toktogul hydroengineering complex, which is under construction on the Naryn River, will have a hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 1.2 million kW and a water reservoir with a volume of 19.3 billion cu m. The construction of a hydroelectric power plant at Kurpsai is under consideration. The Frunze Heat and Electric Power Plant is the biggest of its kind. High-voltage electric power transmission lines connect the Chu Valley raions with Issyk-Kul’ and Naryn oblasts.

The exploitation of Kirghizia’s nonferrous metal deposits began in the 1930’s. Nonferrous metallurgy is represented by the production of mercury and antimony in southwestern Kirghizia, which ranks first in the USSR in the production of these metals, as well as by the mining and dressing of lead and zinc ores. Kirghizia produces high-quality antimony. The high-purity antimony of the Kadamdzhai antimony combine is used as a standard on the international market.

The first machine-building and metalworking enterprises were founded in the 1930’s, and machine-tool manufacturing and agricultural machine building developed during the Great Patriotic War. Later, the availability of labor resources promoted the production of metal-cutting machine tools, automatic lines for machine building and metalworking, electric motors, medical instruments, physics instruments, electronic equipment, and radiators for motor vehicles. During the 1950’s and 1960’s the share of instrument making and the electrical engineering, motor vehicle, and electronics industries in machine building rose rapidly. Most of the enterprises of this branch of industry are located in Frunze. The largest are the Frunze Agricultural Machinery Plant, which produces, in particular, pick-up balers for export, the Kirghiz Automatic Machinery Plant, the physics instruments plant, the heavy electrical machinery plant, and a motor vehicle assembly plant. In addition, there are electrical enterprises in a number of cities, including Przheval’sk, Maili-Sai, and Kadzhi-Sai, and there are motor vehicle repair plants in Tokmak and Osh.

The building materials industry began to develop in the mid-1920’s, when brick, lime, and refractory materials plants were built. Between 1955 and 1960 the cement industry emerged, and prefabricated reinforced concrete, gypsum building materials, and facing sheets were manufactured. In the 1960’s major plants were built for the manufacture of prefabricated reinforced concrete and large panels for the construction of houses. A cement and slate combine was opened in Kant in the 1960’s, and the Dzhil’-Aryk Lime Plant and shops for the production of porous concrete, porous clay filler, and supports for electric transmission lines were built during the same decade. The most important enterprises of the construction industry are located in the Chu Valley, primarily in Frunze, and in Osh in southern Kirghizia.

In Kirghizia light industry is first in gross output and second only to machine building in the number of its industrial production personnel. The Kara-Su Cotton-ginning Plant was built in 1927, and by 1971 there were five such plants in the republic. The textile industry is the most highly developed branch of light industry. The most important enterprises are the 50-letiia Oktiabria Kirghiz Textile Combine (projected capacity, 94.5 million sq m of cotton fabrics) and the All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League (VLKSM) Silk Combine, both of which are located in Osh, and a worsted cloth combine and spinning-and-weaving and knit goods factories in Frunze. In the Chu Valley there are many enterprises of the garment and leather footwear industries. Kirghizia produces more than nine-tenths of the wool fabrics, more than one-fourth of the leather footwear, and more than one-fourth of the knit underwear manufactured in the Middle Asian economic region.

The food-processing industry includes meatpacking, dairy, flour-milling, and sugar-refining enterprises. However, there are also confectionery, liquor and spirits, canning, and tobacco enterprises, as well as enterprises producing champagnes and vintage wines. In the Chu Valley there are sugar refineries. (Three-fourths of the granulated sugar produced there is exported to the other Middle Asian republics and the eastern regions of the country.) A butter plant is located in Kara-Su in southwestern Kirghizia. There are tobacco-curing plants in Frunze and Kyzyl-Kiia, and in 1973 another was under construction in Dzhalal-Abad.

Agriculture. Socialist transformations in Kirghizia have resulted in the development of highly mechanized agricultural production. In 1971 there were 236 kolkhozes and 109 sovkhozes, and 45,200 tractors (in terms of standard 15-horsepower units), 3,500 grain-harvesting combines, 1,700 cotton-harvesting machines, and many other agricultural machines were being used in Kirghizia.

In 1971 the total area of land at the disposal of agricultural enterprises and farms was 15.3 million ha of which 9.7 million ha was farmland. Pastures make up 85 percent of the farmland (8 million ha), and hay fields occupy 230,000 ha. Of the pasture lands, 41 percent are used in summer, 32 percent in spring and fall, and 27 percent in winter. The largest of them are in Susamyr, Sonkel’, Arpa, Aksai, Karakudzhur, the syrts of the Central Tien-Shan, and the Alai and Chatkal valleys. Distant-pasture animal husbandry prevails. However, the limited area of winter pastures and the need to fence in the livestock either partially or entirely makes it necessary to grow fodder crops. This practice has, therefore, increased in recent years, somewhat reducing plantings of cereal crops. (See Table 7.) Plowlands occupy 13.3 percent of the agricultural lands.

In a dry climate the development of potentially arable land is closely related to the development of irrigation. Under Soviet power old irrigation systems have been restored, and new irrigation systems, water-damming installations, and canals have been built, such as the Bol’shoi Chu and Otuz-Adyr canals and the Orto-Tokoi, Bazar-Kurgan, and Naiman water reservoirs. The

Table 7. Pattern of crop cultivation (in hectares)
Total area . . . . . . . .639,7001,055,5001,060,7001,195,8001,253,600
Cereal crops . . . . . . . .555,500777,900704,400593,000561,600
   Wheat . . . . . . . .350,700449,900442,600339,400310,700
   Maize (for grain) . . . . . . . .31,10027,20040,30027,30033,800
Industrial crops . . . . . . . .31,100113,900124,200132,700144,200
   Sugar beets . . . . . . . .15,500 20,100 34,800 45,500
   Cotton . . . . . . . . 21,600 64,000 65,200 71,20076,700
   Tobacco . . . . . . . .4,9005,7006,10014,200
Vegetables, melons, and potatoes . . . . . . . . 13,100 23,000 27,20031,00043,900
Fodder crops . . . . . . . .40,000140,700204,900439,100503,900
Table 8. Livestock (as of January 1)
Cattle . . . . . . . .519,000555,400661,800738,700924,600
Cows . . . . . . . .188,000219,600222,400292,900382,000
Sheep and goats . . . . . . . .2,544,0002,529,1004,514,4006,251,4009,521,000
Hogs . . . . . . . .27,00087,20089,500199,400291,100
Horses . . . . . . . .708,000407,700495,400233,400271,000
Table 9. Output of basic products of animal husbandry
Meat (carcass weight; tons) . . . . . . . .39,00041,00046,000100,000137,000
Milk (tons) . . . . . . . .91,000210,000213,000401,000562,000
Eggs (millions) . . . . . . . .194758163297
Wool (tons) . . . . . . . .4,7003,3006,80014,60028,300

present irrigation installations can irrigate three-fifths of the plantings. The construction of the Toktogul, Tortgul’, and Kirov water reservoirs will make it possible to irrigate an additional 65,000 ha of land, water 260,000 ha of pastures, and increase the water supply on 154,000 ha of land.

In terms of gross and commodity output, animal husbandry is the leading branch of agriculture. The creation of a strong fodder base and the introduction of scientific methods of animal husbandry have resulted in high livestock productivity. Kirghizia has 16 livestock breeding enterprises, 15 breeding sovkhozes, and 166 kolkhoz, sovkhoz, and other livestock breeding sections, republic, interraion and raion state breeding stations, and state stud farms. Sheep raising accounts for 60 percent of the income from animal husbandry. Kirghizia holds third place in the USSR (after the RSFSR and Kazakhstan) in the number of sheep and the output of wool. (See Table 8.)

In mountain animal-husbandry regions, nine-tenths of the income of the farms is derived from sheep raising. (See Table 9.) As of Jan. 1, 1969, Kirghiz fine-fleece and Tien-Shan semifine-fleece sheep made up 99 percent of the sheep on Kirghizia’s kolkhozes and sovkhozes. Well-suited to distant-pasture animal husbandry, they yield much more wool and meat than coarse-fleece fat-tailed sheep. Dairy and beef cattle breeding is well developed in the Chu and Talas valleys, in the Issyk-Kulia region, and to a lesser extent, on the steppes of southwestern Kirghizia. The Alatau and Aulie-Ata breeds prevail.

In the mountain regions horse breeding is well developed. The animals are raised primarily for meat and koumiss. The most common breeds are the Don and New Kirghiz. Poultry raising has developed on an industrial level, and apiculture is also being developed. The most poorly developed branch of animal husbandry is hog raising. In the Alai Valley in Osh Oblast and on some farms in Naryn and Issyk-Kul’ oblasts yaks are raised, and in the Fergana Region in southern Kirghizia, silkworms.

Farming yields 47 percent of the gross output of Kirghizia’s agriculture. The leading branch is the cultivation of industrial crops. The Chu Valley is the only region in Middle Asia where sugar beets are grown. Cultivated there since the 1930’s, their yield is 370–380 centners per ha. Since the prerevolutionary period cotton has been grown in the Fergana Region. Between 1913 and 1971 the harvest of cotton doubled, totaling 26.7 centners per ha in 1971. (See Table 10.) Yellow aromatic tobacco is grown in the Talas Valley and in the foothill regions of south-western Kirghizia (yield, 15 centners per ha), essential oil crops in the western Chu Valley, and medicinal poppies in the Issyk-Kul’ Basin and some valleys of the Inner Tien-Shan. (Kirghizia has the largest sown area of the latter crop in the USSR.)

Among the crops planted throughout Kirghizia are grains (primarily winter wheat, to which spring wheat is second in importance, as well as barley and maize), potatoes (the largest fields are in the Chon-Kemin Valley and in the eastern Issyk-Kul’ region), and fodder crops, among which perennial grasses prevail. Truck farming and orchards have developed primarily in the Issyk-Kul’ Basin, the Chu Valley, and southwestern Kirghizia. (Viticulture has also developed in the last two regions.) Melons are also grown. Specialized vegetable, orchard, and viticulture sovkhozes have been established around and near major cities. (See Table 11.)

Table 10. Gross harvest of major agricultural crops (in tons)
Cereal crops . . . . . . . .435,800588,500434,500648,100868,000
Sugar beets (factory) . . . . . . . .628,400586,9001,193,800 1,562,100
Raw cotton . . . . . . . .28,300 95,000 1,20,000125,800204,400
Tobacco . . . . . . . .3,5004,2006,60025,100
Vegetables . . . . . . . .44,80044,70084,000218,000
Potatoes . . . . . . . .18,800105,300135,400113,400280 000
Table 11. State purchases of major agricultural products (in tons)
Cereal crops . . . . . . . .207,700204,500125,300196,400
Sugar beets . . . . . . . .618,200560,7001,168,5001,486,400
Raw cotton . . . . . . . .95,000120,000125,800204,400
Tobacco . . . . . . . .3,2004,2006,50025,100
Potatoes . . . . . . . .11,7008,50017,80062,800
Vegetables . . . . . . . .7,70011,30046,600141,200
Livestock and poultry (liveweight) . . . . . . . .23,50037,400117,700174,100
Milk and dairy products . . . . . . . .26,60045,800156,100330,600
Eggs1 . . . . . . . .7.742.7162.5
Wool (registered weight) . . . . . . . .3,7005,90017,70034,200

Transportation. Motor vehicles, which handle most of the freight inside the republic, are the chief type of transportation. (The freight turnover was 3,153,300 tons per km in 1971, or 40 times the 1940 turnover.) In 1971 there were 19,600 km of roads, of which 11,800 km were paved (as compared to 1,200 km of paved roads in 1940). For every 1,000 sq km there are 59.4 km of roads. The major routes are Frunze-Naryn-Torugart, Rybach’e-Przheval’sk, and Osh-Khorog. Of great importance is the 592-km long Frunze-Osh highway. Completed in 1965, it gives speedy access to the mineral resources of central Kirghizia, the pastures of Susamyr, and the construction site of the Toktogul Hydroelectric Power Plant.

In 1971 there were 371 km of railroad tracks in Kirghizia. Branches of the major Middle Asian trunk railroads pass through the republic, including the Lugovaia-Frunze-Rybach’e line, and several run from the Fergana ring to a number of cities and settlements in southwestern Kirghizia. Railroads handle almost all of the interrepublic freight turnover. In 1971, 6.6 million tons of freight were shipped out of Kirghizia by rail, and 13.4 million tons of freight were shipped into the republic. There is regular navigation on Lake Issyk-Kul’. Airplanes (especially passenger flights) play an important role in interrepublic transportation. Air routes connect Frunze with Moscow, Leningrad, Sverdlovsk, Novosibirsk, Sochi, Kiev, and the cities of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan.

The most important pipelines are the Bukhara-Tashkent-Frunze and Maili-Sai-Dzhalal-Abad-Osh gas pipelines.

Economic regions. The Chu Valley includes the piedmont plain from the Chu River to the foothills of the Kirghiz Range and its northern slopes and the Chon-Kemin and Kichi-Kemin basins. Although it covers less than 10 percent of Kirghizia’s territory, the region has a well-developed manufacturing industry that produces about two-thirds of the republic’s industrial output, dairy and meat animal husbandry, and highly developed irrigated farming specializing in the cultivation of industrial crops. (The Chu Valley is the only region in Middle Asia where sugar beets and essential oil crops are grown.) In addition, the Chu Valley is a major region for raising fine-fleece sheep, primarily in the distant pastures of the Susamyr Valley. The capital of the republic is located almost in the center of the Chu Valley.

The Talas Valley, which occupies the Talas Basin, is outstanding for fine-fleece and semifine-fleece sheep raising and for tobacco and grain farming. Industry, however, is poorly developed.

The Issyk-Kul’ Basin is known for medicinal poppies, potatoes, and grains. Distant-pasture sheep raising is well developed. Electrical engineering, food processing, and light industry are important to the region, which is also being developed as a very important and promising health resort area.

The Central Tien-Shan—the eastern, highest part of Kirghizia, situated between the Terskei-Alatau and Kokshaltau— has summer pastures (on the syrts), tin deposits, and hydroelectric power resources.

The Inner Tien-Shan is outstanding for mountain animal husbandry. Farming is limited, but medicinal poppies are grown in some valleys. The region has iron ore and coal deposits and hydroelectric power resources.

Southwestern Kirghizia occupies the same territory as Osh Oblast. Among the well-developed facets of its economy are nonferrous metallurgy, the fuel industry, light industry, machine building and metalworking, irrigated farming (a major cotton-growing region), dairy and beef cattle breeding (in the Fergana Region), and fine-fleece and semifine-fleece sheep raising (in mountainous areas). Osh is the economic and cultural center of the region.

Standard of living.Kirghizia has made great strides in raising the living standard of its population, particularly in the postwar period. In 1971 the national income was 2.3 times greater, the per capita income 1.7 times greater, and the cash income of the population 2.6 times greater than in 1961. The population of Kirghizia received 655 million rubles in payments and services from public funds in 1971 (3.2 times more than in 1960). The retail merchandise turnover of state and cooperative trade, including public catering amounted to 1,495,000,000 rubles in 1971—11.7 times the figure for 1940 and 8.4 times that for 1950 (in comparable fixed prices).

In late 1971 the savings banks deposits totaled 349.9 million rubles, or 100 times more than in 1940 and 40.2 times more than in 1950. Between 1925 and 1971 state and cooperative enterprises and organizations, the kolkhozes, and the population of Kirghizia built 24,513,000 sq m of usable housing space. In 1971 alone, 1,275,000 sq m of housing were opened for tenancy (1.6 times more than the total housing supply of urban settlements in Kirghizia in 1926).


Riazantsev, S. N., and V. F. Pavlenko. Kirgizskaia SSR. Moscow, 1960.
Razvitie narodnogo khoziaistva Kirgizii. Frunze, 1966.
Kirgizstan za 50 let Sovetskoi vlasti: Statistich. Sb. Frunze, 1967.
Rastsvet ekonomiki Sovetskogo Kirgizstana. Frunze, 1968.
Transport i transportno-ekonomicheskie sviazi Kirgizskoi SSR. Frunze, 1968.
Kirgiziia. Moscow, 1970. (Part of the series Sovetskii Soiuz.)
Naselenie i trudovye resursy Kirgizskoi SSR. Frunze, 1965.
Kirgizstan ν tsifrakh: Statistich. sb. Frunze, 1971.
Suiumbaev, A. S. Krepnet ekonomika Sovetskogo Kirgizstana. Moscow, 1972.
Sredneaziatskii ekonomicheskii raion. Moscow, 1972.
Usubaliev, T. U. Frunzestolitsa Sovetskogo Kirgizstana. Moscow, 1971.
Kirgizstan ν bratskoi sem’e narodov. Frunze, 1972.
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Kirgizskoi SSR: Iubileinyi stat. sb. Frunze, 1973.


Medicine and public health. In 1971 the birthrate was 31.6 and the death rate 7.0 per 1,000 inhabitants. (The corresponding figures for 1940 are 33.0 and 16.3.) The death rate was 4.7 times lower in 1971 than in 1913. Under Soviet power plague and smallpox and the natural foci of relapsing fever and visceral leishmaniasis have been eradicated. In the south, the nidi of ancylostomiasis have been eliminated. Cases of malaria have not been encountered since 1960. In 1972 the number of fresh out-breaks of brucellosis was 27 times lower than in 1950, and for anthrax the figure was 11 times lower. Between 1960 and 1971 the incidence of tuberculosis dropped by 63.4 percent in the cities and by 64.1 percent in rural areas, and the incidence of diphtheria was 352 times lower in 1971 than in 1960.

There are three medicogeographic regions: northern Kirghizia (the Chu and Talas valleys and the Issyk-Kul’ Basin), central Kirghizia (Naryn Oblast), and southern Kirghizia (Osh Oblast). The incidence of helminthiases declines from southern to northern to central Kirghizia. In northern Kirghizia cases of leptospirosis and anthrax have been recorded in the Chu Valley, and isolated cases or small outbreaks of Q fever, in the Issyk-Kul’ Basin. Cases of leptospirosis are usually “bathing outbreaks” caused by the pollution of bodies of water. In southern Kirghizia there are anthropogenic foci of Q fever in irrigated farming areas, natural foci of Q, Middle Asian, and dengue fevers in semidesert areas, and natural foci of rabies and leptospirosis in the medium-elevation mountains. There are natural foci of tularemia and acarian encephalitis in Naryn Oblast.

Before the October Revolution quacks and bakshi (sorcerers who “cure” diseases by means of exorcism) treated diseases with barbaric methods. There were only six hospitals with 100 beds and only 30 outpatient clinics and 21 physicians in Kirghizia in 1913. By 1971 the republic had 268 hospital institutions with 33,500 beds, or 10.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants. (By comparison, in 1940 there were 112 hospitals providing 2.4 beds per 1,000 inhabitants.) Outpatient service is provided by 339 medical dispensaries and polyclinics and 851 feldsher-obstetric stations. The shepherds of the distant pastures are serviced by 22 section hospitals with 400 beds, 78 feldsher-obstetric stations, and 20 mobile medical dispensaries. Airbone health personnel provide medical aid in inaccessible mountain regions.

In 1971, Kirghizia had 4,000 hospital beds for pregnant women and women in childbirth and 279 women’s consultation offices and children’s polyclinics and dispensaries (66 in 1940). Pharmaceutical services are provided by 220 pharmacies, 922 pharmacy offices, and 19 mobile drug units. In 1971 there were 6,600 physicians (one per 468 inhabitants), as compared to 600 physicians (one per 2,600 inhabitants) in 1940. There were more than 20,000 intermediate-level medical personnel in 1971, as compared to 2,600 in 1940. More than 300 holders of doctoral degrees and candidates in medical science work at the Kirghiz Medical Institute and five institutes for scientific research in medicine.

Kirghizia has 26 sanatoriums with 5,500 beds and 73 workers’ resorts and boarding houses with accommodations for 15,300. Among the popular health resorts are Aksu, Dzhalal-Abad, Dzhety-Oguz, Issyk-Ata, Cholpon-Ata, and Tamga. Between 1966 and 1971 expenditures on public health totaled 503 million rubles, of which 34.9 million were spent on the construction of public health facilities.

Sports and tourism. In 1971 about 500,000 people, including more than 170,000 women, participated in physical culture and sports. Kirghizia had 2,289 physical culture groups in 1971, as well as 16 stadiums, about 5,000 sports halls and athletic grounds, 17 swimming pools, and 107 sports therapy camps and hunters’ and fishermen’s homes.

Tourism and alpinism have been greatly developed under Soviet power. There are popular tourist routes along the Chu Valley, around Lake Issyk-Kul’, where water sports are practiced, and along Lake Sarychelek and the Talas Valley. The sports and tourist facilities at Chop-Tash near Frunze and in the Karakol’ Gorge attract many skiers. With its world renowned mountain peaks (Lenin, Pobeda, and Konstitutsiia), the Central Tien-Shan is a major center for alpinism in the USSR. The Alaarcha Alpinism Camp is located 40 km from Frunze on the upper course of the Alaarcha River. A total of 46,600 tourists and alpinists visited Kirghizia in 1971.


Alekseev, P. A. “Osnovnye itogi bor’by s vazhneishimi infektsiiami ν Kirgizskoi SSR za 50 let Sovetskoi vlasti.” Zhurnal mikrobiologii, epidemiologii i immunobiologii, 1967, no. 11.
Sidorova, L. N., Kh. R. Ruziev, and R. G. Urmanova. “Gel’mintozy naseleniia Kirgizii i perspektiva bor’by s nimi.” Sovetskoe zdravookhranenie Kirgizii, 1968, no. 3.


Veterinary services. Under Soviet power many of the most dangerous diseases of farm animals have been eradicated, including epidemic pneumonia in cattle, plague in horned cattle, glanders, equine infectious anemia, and equine contagious pleuropneumonia. The incidence of erysipelas and classic hog fever, smallpox in sheep, pleuropneumonia in goats, and equine trypanosomiasis has been sharply reduced. In most of the Chu Valley and some regions of the lower mountain belt natural conditions make piroplasmosis potentially dangerous. There are natural breeding grounds of several types of rickettsial disease of animals, leptospirosis, listerellosis, and spirochetosis of fowl (Fergana, Talas, and Chu valleys), and of several anaerobic infections. Due to the abundance of helminths, cases of coenurosis, echinococcosis, fascioliasis, monieziosis, and several other helminthiases are still being recorded.

In 1972 the Kirghiz SSR had 1,258 veterinary doctors, 1,819 intermediate-level veterinary personnel, and 453 veterinary institutions, including 34 stations for combating animal disease, about 300 veterinary divisions and offices, and more than 20 veterinary laboratories. The Central Administration for Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kirghizia administers veterinary services for the republic as a whole. In the administrative regions services are supervised by the chief veterinary doctor. Veterinary specialists with higher qualifications are trained at the Kirghiz Agricultural Institute. The leading veterinary research center is the Kirghiz Scientific Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services.

In the first third of the 19th century, when Kirghizia was part of the Kokand Khanate, the Muslim clergy set up religious schools (mektebs), with a view to implanting the ideology of Islam in the people. Instruction was limited to memorization of passages from the Koran in Arabic. Clerical schools providing more advanced education (madrasas) were founded in the second half of the 19th century in areas where the population had established permanent settlements. After Kirghizia joined Russia, Russian lay elementary schools were founded. (The first of them was opened in 1874 in Karakol—now Przheval’sk.) In the 1880’s a network of Russian schools emerged. In objective terms, they played a somewhat progressive role, inasmuch as they acquainted Kirghiz youth with the Russian language and Russian culture. The progressive people of Kirghizia fought for the development of the Russian schools and for an increase in the number of Kirghiz students enrolled in them. In prerevolutionary Kirghizia there were 107 schools with 7,000 students, only 574 of whom were Kirghiz, all of them the children of bais and manaps. There was only one men’s Gymnasium and two Progymnasiums in all of Kirghizia, and none of them admitted Kirghiz students. On the eve of the October Revolution less than 1 percent of the Kirghiz population was literate.

The October Revolution opened to the Kirghiz people the means of obtaining an education and of developing a national culture. The Central Executive Committee of the Turkestan Republic (of which Kirghizia was a part in that period) confirmed the Statute on Organizing Public Education in the Turkestan Region (Aug. 17, 1918) and issued a declaration on the introduction of universal free education in the native language and on the secularization of schools in the republic. The Council on Education was organized, as well as commissions to prepare curricula and textbooks. The first teachers’ training courses were opened in the middle of 1919, the Osh and Dzhalal-Abad pedagogical technicums in 1924 and 1925, the Central Pedagogical Technicum in 1926, and the first higher educational institution—the Kirghiz State Pedagogical Institute—in 1932.

The 1920’s were marked by a struggle to eradicate illiteracy among the adult population. Under the first five-year plan alone more than 650,000 people were taught to read and write, and by 1940 illiteracy had virtually been eliminated. During the academic year 1927–28 the schools changed from the Arabic to the Latin writing system, and in 1940 the writing system for the Kirghiz language was changed to an alphabet based on Russian.

In view of the mores of the local population, mobile schools for the children of shepherds and special schools for girls were established in Kirghizia. The women’s departments of the party bodies played a great role in developing education for women. In 1930 the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the Kirghiz ASSR adopted the statute On the Introduction of Universal Compulsory Elementary Education in the Kirghiz ASSR, which was essentially implemented by 1936. The transition to universal seven-year education was completed in the postwar period.

According to the census of 1970, 99.8 percent of the male population and 99.6 percent of the female population of Kirghizia were literate. During the Ninth Five-year Plan the transition to universal secondary education will be completed in Kirghizia, as well as throughout the USSR. In the academic year 1971–72, Kirghizia had about 1,800 general education schools, including 176 evening schools. The total student body was 799,-100, about 40,000 of whom were enrolled in the evening schools. Because many of Kirghizia’s communities are widely scattered, 37 boarding schools attended by more than 16,000 children have been established. Before the October Revolution there were only 216 teachers in Kirghizia, and not one of them was a native Kirghiz with a specialized pedagogical education. By comparison, the republic’s schools were staffed by more than 40,000 teachers during the academic year 1971–72. Educational and cultural services for schoolchildren are also provided by 39 palaces and houses of Pioneers, 54 children’s and young people’s sports schools, a republic excursion station for children, and stations for young technicians and naturalists.

A vast network of institutions for preschool children has been created under Soviet power. In 1971, 83,300 children were enrolled in 727 kindergartens and crèche-kindergartens (combined institutions for children from two months to seven years of age).

Vocational training has developed considerably. In the academic year 1971–72 there were 55 vocational and technical schools with 29,400 students and 36 specialized secondary schools with 41,500 students. In prerevolutionary Kirghizia there were no high schools, whereas in the academic year 1971–72, there were nine such institutions, including Kirghiz University, the agricultural institute, the polytechnic institute, the institute of art, the medical institute, the physical culture institute, and the women’s pedagogical institute, all of which are located in Frunze. In addition, there are pedagogical institutes in Osh and Przheval’sk. There were 49,000 students enrolled in Kirghizia’s institutions of higher learning in the academic year 1971–72. In the same academic year 13,500 students were enrolled in specialized secondary schools, and 21,000 people were attending higher educational institutions and holding jobs at the same time. Since their founding the higher and specialized secondary educational institutions of Kirghizia have trained more than 132,000 specialists for the national economy.

Before the revolution there were almost no cultural-educational institutions in Kirghizia, whereas on Jan. 1, 1972, the republic could boast of 1,378 public libraries with 11.9 million copies of books and magazines. The most important library is the N. G. Chernyshevskii State Library of the Kirghiz SSR. Among the major museums located in Frunze are the Historical Museum of the Kirghiz SSR, the Museum of Fine Arts of the Kirghiz SSR, and the M. V. Frunze Museum-House. There is an oblast museum of regional studies in Osh. Located in Przheval’sk are the N. M. Przheval’skii Memorial Museum and museum of regional studies. There are 1,039 club institutions in Kirghizia.


Amateur arts. In 1971 there were 197 choral, 152 drama, and 178 dance circles, 146 propaganda theater groups, 87 folk instrument orchestras, and 23 wind orchestras. Kirghizia has 19 people’s amateur drama theaters, including one affiliated with the V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture in Frunze (since 1959) and theaters in Tokmak and Dzhalal-Abad (1961), Przheval’sk and Osh (1962), and Rybach’e (1971). One of the people’s amateur drama theaters is affiliated with the Osh Pedagogical Institute (1971), and there are theaters in a number of raions—Alai and Kirovskoe (1960), Kochkorka and Uzgen (1962), Talas and Kant (1963), Sokuluk (1964), Issyk-Kul’ (1966), Sovetskoe and Toktogul (1969), and Dzhumgal (1971). In addition, there has been a people’s amateur theater in the settlement of Kosh-Tegirmen since 1961.

The Alga Sovkhoz in Uzgen Raion has had a people’s amateur philharmonic society since 1967. The leading music groups in Frunze—all prize winners at republic amateur arts festivals—are the choral groups of the Kirghiz Women’s Pedagogical Institute and the Kirghiz Institute for Agriculture, the dance group of the V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture, and the vocal-instrumental ensembles of the polytechnic institute and of Kirghiz University. Republic festival prizes have been awarded to the choral group and the folk instrument orchestra of the Osh City House of Culture, the choral groups and folk ensembles of Naryn Oblast and Talas Raion, and the choral group of the House of Culture in Tokmak. In addition, republic festival prizes have been won by the Nariste vocal-instrumental ensemble of Dzhumgal Raion, the ensemble of komuz players from Naryn and Issyk-Kul’ oblasts, and the ensemble of temir-komuz players from the Rybach’e City House of Culture. (The komuz is a Kirghiz longnecked stringed pizzicato instrument related to the lute. The temir-komuz is a metal komuz.) The people’s amateur theaters of Talas, Alai, and Dzhumgal raions and of the city of Rybach’e have won prizes at republic theater group festivals.

Natural and technical sciences. Monuments of material culture and archaeological finds such as samples of Orkhon-Enisei writing, pottery, and artifacts made of copper, bronze, and iron show that in antiquity the population of Kirghizia had developed an original culture, possessed technical knowledge and skills, and engaged in crafts. In the Middle Ages mining, metallurgy, casting, ceramics, and construction, which are impossible without rudimentary scientific and technical knowledge, flourished in Kirghizia.

After it became a part of Russia in the second half of the 19th century, Kirghizia had the opportunity to enter the mainstream of Russian science. P. P. Semenov-Tian-Shanskii, N. M. Przheval’skii, N. A. Severtsov, I. V. Mushketov, A. P. Fedchenko, G. D. Romanovskii, and A. N. Krasnov were among the first to explore Kirghizia’s natural wealth. Before World War I, V. N. Veber and D. I. Mushketov summarized the regional geologic explorations that had been conducted before the Revolution. However, the reactionary policy of tsarism hindered the development of education, culture, and science in Kirghizia, which therefore had no scientific institutions.

DEVELOPMENT AFTER THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION (TO 1946). The exploration of Kirghizia’s natural wealth and productive forces began after the establishment of Soviet power. At first, scientific work was sporadic and small-scale and was conducted primarily by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AN SSSR), because Kirghizia had no scientific personnel of its own. Between 1924 and 1926, Academician A. E. Fersman directed the prospecting of several minerals in southern Kirghizia, and in 1925 the Institute of Soil Science of the AN SSSR organized a geobotanical expedition and the Moscow Zootechnical Institute a zootechnical expedition to explore the mountain regions. The Academic Center was founded in Kirghizia in 1924, and a scientific commission was established in 1925 under the oblast Department of Education, which coordinated prospecting projects.

The network of local scientific institutions began to expand rapidly after the establishment of the Kirghiz ASSR. The Institute of Regional Studies was founded in 1928, and in 1930 the Scientific Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services was established, an outgrowth of the regional studies institute’s zootechnical and soil science and botany divisions and its veterinary service centers. In addition, experimental agricultural stations were organized.

Scholars of the AN SSSR made a great contribution to the study of Kirghizia’s natural resources and their use in building a socialist economy. From 1928 annual expeditions in mineralogy, ichthyology, medicine, and animal husbandry were sent to Kirghizia. Geologic and geochemical research was conducted there in the 1930’s, particularly by the Tadzhik-Pamir Expedition of the AN SSSR, which included A. P. Markovskii and D. I. Shcherbakov. In the same decade a planned investigation of the republic’s productive forces was undertaken, with the participation of top specialists from Moscow and Leningrad. An interdisciplinary expedition to study Kirghizia’s productive forces was organized in 1932. Its work greatly expanded the scope of the planned study of the territory of the republic. The major research concerned the tectonics and neotectonics of the Tien-Shan (D. V. Nalivkin, V. A. Nikolaev, A. V. Pieve, V. I. Popov, and S. S. Shul’ts), the antimony and mercury deposits of southern Kirghizia (V. I. Smirnov), and geomorphology and geological engineering (the Chu Valley). In addition, the expedition did major research on the hydrology of Lake Issyk-Kul’ (L. S. Berg), glaciers, the development of the Tien-Shan mountain regions, and the organization of settled animal husbandry,

The Kirghiz Geology Administration, which was founded in 1938, began to conduct systematic regional surveying and to make thematic generalizations. It also continued the prospecting of already known and newly discovered mineral deposits. When the Kirghiz ASSR became a Union republic, the network of scientific institutions expanded further. Among the newly organized institutions was the Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology, Microbiology, and Hygiene. Research on animal husbandry and pasture farming, the fish fauna of Lake Issyk-Kul’, and physical and economic geography (by B. A. Lunin, for example) was important to the republic.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the evacuation of a number of scientific institutions of the AN SSSR and higher educational institutions to Kirghizia resulted in a sharp increase in the volume of research in the republic. Academician K. I. Skriabin was for a long time the director of the Kirghiz Branch of the AN SSSR, which was established in 1943. The institutes of the Kirghiz branch of the academy and specialized scientific research institutes worked on problems of geology, biology, medicine, chemistry, geography, seismology, soil science, selection, and ichthyology. Top Soviet scientists, including V. L. Komarov and S. I. Vavilov, contributed a great deal to the development of science in Kirghizia during the war.

POSTWAR DEVELOPMENT. The Kirghiz Branch of the AN SSSR continues to do research in the natural sciences. The Institute of Geology has studied the laws governing the stratigraphy of mineral ores and elaborated the principles of hydrogeological regionalization and measures for intensifying mining operations and improving the quality of the raw materials obtained. The Institute of Chemistry has investigated reduction-oxidation in nonferrous metallurgy and developed the technology for processing mineral fuels, as well as the technology of the sugar-refining industry. Several monographs and maps have been published by the Institute of Botany, and significant work has been done on reforestation and the acclimatization of plants. The results of research conducted by the Institute of Zoology and Parasitology on the fishing industry and on combating pests of agricultural plants and animals have been put into practice. The Institute of Water Resources and Power Engineering has worked to solve problems in using Kirghizia’s water resources for irrigation and electrification and has drawn up climatic maps.

The Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR—an outgrowth of the Kirghiz Branch of the AN SSSR—was established in 1954. In the 1950’s, Kirghiz scientists directed their research to the needs of the national economy. Thus, A. E. Dovzhikov, E. I. Zubtsov, V. I. Knauf, V. G. Korolev, V. N. Ognev, D. P. Rezvoi, and N. M. Sinitsyn were among scientists who conducted interdisciplinary prospecting and surveys and specialized thematic geologic research. The establishment of several new scientific institutions within the republic academy, as well as the opening of branch scientific research institutes in the 1960’s, led to an increase in the proportion of research in physics, mathematics, the technical sciences, and chemistry.

Geology and hydrogeology. Since the 1960’s the scientists of Kirghizia have further elaborated schemata of the stratigraphy and tectonics of formations of various ages, studied the principal patterns of the location of Kirghizia’s major mineral resources (for example, mercury, antimony, coal, petroleum, and polymetals), and drawn up prognostic metallogenic maps. Theoretical problems in geology have been worked out, for the most part, in three major directions: the theory of sedimentary ore formation, the theory of the magmatogenic origin of ores and a number of problems of metallogenetics, and the comprehensive study of the plutonic structure of the earth’s crust in the Tien-Shan. Schemata of the hydrogeological regionalization of the Tien-Shan have been worked out in order to provide a foundation for the practical use of subterranean waters. In regions where industrial and civil construction projects are planned, scientists have estimated the degree of seismic danger. Kirghizia has also been divided into seismic and microseismic regions. Among those who have made a great contribution to the development of geology in Kirghizia are M. M. Adyshev, V. M. Popov, F. T. Kashirin, E. A. Rozova, P. G. Grigorenko, and K. D. Pomazkov.

Mining. Theoretical and experimental research has established the influence of the time factor, the initial stress, and the structure of rock massifs on the stability of the sinks produced in them and has given rise to new methods of calculating the stability of the sinks. Mining experts have studied how to destroy rocks with different methods of blasting. Taking into consideration economic indexes, they have laid the foundation for a new technology for exploiting complex ore deposits. Drilling equipment for the underground mining of ore and coal deposits is being created. Scientists have discovered the principles that correlate the drilling instruments’ resistance to wear and their reliability with the physical and mechanical properties of the rocks, the parameters of the machines, and the technology of producing hard alloys. On the basis of research on the effect of shock on the area to be destroyed, recommendations for designing radically new models of mining machines have been drawn up. A number of progressive trends in the development of small-gauge drilling equipment have appeared. In the development of the science of mining S. G. Avershin and O. D. Alimov have played a significant role.

Geography. In the early postwar years the development of geography in Kirghizia was significantly promoted by the combined Northern Kirghiz and Southern Kirghiz expeditions of the AN SSSR, which inaugurated comprehensive geographical study in the Issyk-Kul’ Basin and in the nut and fruit forests in southern Kirghizia. The Tien-Shan High-Mountain Physics and Geography Station of the Institute of Geography of the AN SSSR was established in 1948 as an outgrowth of the Northern Kirghiz Expedition in the Chon and Kyzylsu basins (Terskei-Alatau Range). The station undertook the first comprehensive investigation of all the components of the natural environment at different altitude belts, from the dry steppe to the glaciersnowline belt. In addition, a quantitative study of the dynamics of natural processes was done by a number of scientists, including G. A. Avsiuk, M. A. Glazovskaia, and M. I. Iveronova. The station became part of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR in 1955. In 1957 interdisciplinary research was conducted in mountain hydrology, glaciology, and geocryology as part of the program of the International Geophysical Year. (Among the scientists participating in this research were R. D. Zabirov, I. D. Tsigel’naia, and A. P. Gorbunov.) Since 1960 the Tien-Shan High-Mountain Physics and Geography Station has conducted comprehensive research on the characteristics of the Issyk-Kul’ Basin and its balneological resources, in connection with the organization of an all-Union health resort on Lake Issyk-Kul’.

Research on Kirghizia’s natural environment has also been conducted at a number of institutions, including the Division of Geography of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR, Kirghiz University, Moscow State University, and the Institute of Geography of the AN SSSR. The scholarly output on Kirghizia’s natural environment includes studies of the republic as a whole (E. M. Murzaev and V. M. Chupakhin), studies of its various regions, and monographs on the climate, terrain, water flow (Z. A. Riazantseva, D. I. Isaev, M. N. Bol’shakov, and A. T. Il’iasov), and history of geographic research in Kirghizia (S. U. Umurzakov).

Other publications include research on the economic geography of Kirghizia as a whole (S. N. Riazantsev and V. F. Pavlenko) and on the economic geography of some regions of the republic (K. O. Otorbaev on southern Kirghizia and M. M. Kartavov on the Chu Valley). A. I. Isaev, B. Sh. Chormonov, and G. S. Guzhin have made economic estimates of the republic’s natural resources and have examined problems associated with the development of the major economic centers. Since the mid-1960’s the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR (in particular, the scientists K. O. Otorbaev and D. A. Alyshbaev) has been conducting research on the development and distribution of the republic’s productive forces.

Biology, agricultural science, and medicine. Many years of research in botany have been generalized in the basic 13-volume work Flora of the Kirghiz SSR (1950–70) and in a number of works by scientists such as I. V. Vykhodtsev and E. V. Nikitina. Work is being done on the introduction and acclimatization of plants, and botanists are devoting a great deal of attention to the breeding and study of hybrid fruit and berry crops. (Among those engaged in botanical research are E. Z. Gareev, E. I. Sosina, and U. G. Arakelian.) A. I. Ianushevich and F. A. Turdakov are among those who are concentrating on the study of fauna, including helminths of animals, and on ichthyology.

Research on the physiological and biochemical basis for raising the productivity of animals and the yield of agricultural crops began in the 1960’s. The work of A. A. Volkova, N. I. Zakhar’ev, M. N. Lushchikhin, R. S. Sadykov, P. S. Fedorov, and V. G. Iakovlev has contributed to the development of animal husbandry and the cultivation of field crops, and A. Mamytov has done significant work in soil science. Important results have been obtained in physiology (V. A. Isabaeva), pathological physiology (G. L. Frenkel’), and in particular, in the study of the effect of high altitudes on the human body (M. A. Aliev). In thoracic and oncological surgery, medical researchers such as I. K. Akhunbaev, K. R. Ryskulova, Z. E. Egemberliev, and A. I. Saenko have made significant progress. Research is being conducted by M. M. Mirrakhimov on the climatic treatment of various diseases.

Chemistry. In contemporary Kirghizia inorganic chemistry, to whose development I. G. Druzhinin made a great contribution, is focusing on the directed synthesis of inorganic compounds with specific properties (M. K. Kydynov) and on studies of natural salts, clay, and mineral springs (I. E. Batyrchaev and K. Sh. Shatemirov). Chemists have done research on processing antimony oxide sulfide and antimony oxide ores and have found a method of obtaining especially pure antimony. (M. Usubakunov and A. G. Batiuk were the chief researchers on this project.)

In addition, Kirghizia’s chemists (for example, K. Sulaimankulov and I. D. Fridman) have been studying the chemistry of complex compounds and solutions of rare and accompanying elements. S. V. Bleshinskii discovered the phenomenon of magnetic adsorption, which provides a method for separating complex mixtures.

In organic chemistry scientists such as V. I. Ivanov and R. I. Sarybaeva are doing research on mono- and poly-saccharides. K. K. Koshoev is studying natural steroids, and research is being done on the chemistry of coal and the oxidation reactions of carbohydrates. The synthesis of antihelminthic medicines is being studied by K. Dzhundubaev and A. Akbaev, G. B. Aimukhamedova is doing research on pectines and anesthetics, and A. A. Altymyshev is focusing on the pharmacology of natural and synthetic compounds.

Mathematics. Work on the theory of differential and integral-differential equations has developed through the efforts of M. Imanaliev and Ia. V. Bykov, and new results on the qualitative theory of integral-differential equations have been obtained. Kirghizia’s mathematicians are also working on some problems of nonlinear convex programming and its application to the development of agriculture.

Physics. In physics, research has been oriented primarily toward the problems of developing electric-arc generators of plasma, problems in atomic spectroscopy, the propagation of ultrashort waves, mass spectroscopy, growing single crystals, and the study of the upper strata of the atmosphere. M. Ia. Leonov, P. I. Chalov, Zh. Zheenbaev, I. Biibosunov, and A. Alybakov have contributed a great deal to the development of research in physics. Data on the propagation of ultrashort waves in the mountains and under different meteorologic conditions have been experimentally studied and theoretically generalized by M. T. Turusbekov. Physicists have worked out a method of nuclear geochronology of natural formations using nonequilibrium uranium, as well as new methods of spectrum analysis. Kirghizia’s physicists have designed plasmotrons that generate high-temperature and stable plasma jets. The growth of crystals and the effect of admixtures and ionizing radiation on the optical and mechanical properties of crystals are being studied.

Automation. Since the early 1960’s scientists working under the direction of N. N. Shumilovskii and Iu. E. Neboliubov have been expanding their research on the theoretical basis of building automatic systems and have been solving the theoretical and engineering problems of automating information processing and of controlling irrigation and industrial facilities by means of computer technology. A theory of optimal control has been developed for conditions where information is incomplete. In addition, for the control of technological facilities, methods of synthesis have been worked out, and algorithms that are convenient for use in automated systems have been obtained. Research has been done on mathematical models of standard items in irrigation systems with distributed parameters. Kirghizia’s scientists are also working on the theory of the telemechanization of irrigation as well as on geophysical apparatus for prospecting minerals.


Social sciences.PHILOSOPHY. Before the Great October Socialist Revolution the Kirghiz had no written literature. Their spiritual culture was expressed in oral poetry, and their world view and ethical concerns were enunciated in legends, the earliest of which date to the fifth century. From the 16th through the 18th century the legendary thinkers Tolubai Synchy, Asan Kaigy, and Sanchy Synchy searched for universal harmony that would eliminate “the evil of the world,” which reigned, in their opinion, because the universal ethical norm—mutual respect— had been broken.

After Kirghizia became part of Russia, the views of democratic ideologists such as Toktogul Satylganov, Togolok Moldo, and Barpy Alykulov and conservative ideologists such as Kalygul, Arstanbek, and Moldo Kylych reflected the contradictions in Kirghiz society at that time. Kalygul, Arstanbek, and Moldo Kylych idealized the patriarchal-clan and feudal relations. By contrast, the work of the democratic akyns (folk poets and singers) Toktogul, Togolok Moldo, and Barpy expressed naïve materialist and Enlightenment trends, fought against religious concepts of an afterlife, and asserted the value of human life on earth.

Although the Kirghiz people’s acquaintance with the values of Russian and world culture resulted in the introduction of Marxist-Leninist ideas into Kirghizia in the early 20th century, these ideas were widely disseminated only after the establishment of Soviet power, when the works of Marx, Engels, and Lenin were translated into Kirghiz. Nevertheless, the training of native philosophers began only after the Great Patriotic War, with the rise of educational and scholarly work in the philosophy departments of higher educational institutions and with the formation of the Department of Philosophy and Law (1958) and later, the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR (1964).

The philosophers of Kirghizia are working on several of the current problems of historical materialism, including the principles of building socialism in the republics of the Soviet East. In addition, they are doing research on the accelerated development of a society from patriarchal and feudal backwardness to socialism. A. Altmyshbaev and M. Dzhunusov are among those who have examined Kirghizia’s noncapitalist path of development, and philosophers such as Iu. Iu. Veingol’d and A. Tabaldiev have studied the categories of historical materialism. Changes in the psychology of the Kirghiz people because of the interpenetration of the Kirghiz and Russian cultures have been analyzed by A. Kakeev and S. Dzhumagulov. In the work of a number of philosophers, including A. Chotonov and K. Ismailov, the major themes are the shaping of socialist patriotism and internationalism among formerly backward peoples and the place and role of progressive national traditions in the development of society.

Contemporary forms of religiosity are being comprehensively examined by such Kirghiz philosophers as S. Mambetaliev, S. Dorzhenov, and S. Abdyldaev. Closely associated with problems of atheistic propaganda and the elaboration of methods of bringing up the young generation in the spirit of scientific atheism is the investigation of the social, epistemological, and cultural factors in the formation of a materialist world view among the Soviet people.

In the history of philosophy considerable attention is devoted to problems of the republic’s cultural heritage by scholars such as A. Altmyshbaev. Kirghizia’s philosophers are working out philosophical problems in the natural sciences, primarily cybernetics and semantics (A. Brudnyi and R. Sheralieva). Among those who have examined the philosophical and natural-science aspects of species and the formation of species is T. Abdyldaev. In aesthetics Kirghiz philosophers are studying the character of aesthetic relationships and of the artistic image, as well as problems of artistic convention. A. Saliev and K. Moldobaev are among those whose work focuses on problems in aesthetics.


HISTORY. Historical and ethnologic information on the Kirghiz, who had no national written language before the October Revolution, is available in their folklore, particularly the major epic trilogy Manas and short epics such as Kurmanbek. Fragmentary information on Kirghizia’s ancient and medieval history is found in Turkic tomb epitaphs, chronicles, and the works of Arabic, Persian-language, and other ancient Oriental writers. Orientalists and scholarly explorers such as P. P. Rychkov, N. Ia. Bichurin, P. Semenov-Tian-Shanskii, Ch. Ch. Valikhanov, and V. V. Bartol’d have made a great contribution to the historical study of the Kirghiz.

The origin and development of Kirghiz historiography is associated with the victory of the October Revolution. Educational and scientific research institutions in centers of scholarly activity such as Moscow, Leningrad, and Tashkent significantly helped the Kirghiz people in the initial study of the region, the creation of scholarly units, the development of historical scholarship, and the training of scholars. In 1924 the Kirghiz Scientific Commission for Recording Kirghiz Folklore was founded, and in 1927 the Central Museum of Kirghizia was established, and a census of ancient monuments and works of art was conducted. The Kirghiz Scientific Research Institute for Regional Studies was founded in 1928.

From 1932 the center of scientific work was the Kirghiz State Pedagogical Institute, which trains historians. The Committee on Science, which was formed in 1937 under the Council of People’s Commissars of the Kirghiz SSR, also investigated problems of historiography. The Kirghiz Branch of the AN SSSR, which was opened in 1943, included the Institute of Language, Literature, and History, which became the Institute of History on the founding of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR in 1954. The subject matter of history is also studied at the Institute of Party History of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kirghizia, as well as at the department of history of Kirghiz State University and other institutions of higher learning. The Republic Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture was founded in 1967.

The development of Kirghiz historical scholarship has been closely linked with Soviet historical scholarship as a whole. In the early 1940’s the first phase in the development of historical scholarship in Kirghizia was completed. The second phase covered the 1940’s through the first half of the 1950’s. The Twentieth Congress of the CPSU opened a new phase—the study of history on a higher level of scholarship and theory, covering a broader range of problems and embracing all the periods and major historical problems of Kirghizia, with emphasis on the contemporary period. In contemporary Kirghizia historical research tends to focus on the October Revolution of 1917, the Civil War of 1918–20, socialist and communist construction, the regularities of the historical development of society, and the transition from one social and economic formation to another.

In the 1920’s through the 1940’s memoirs of participants in the revolutionary events in Kirghizia and the first works on the history of Kirghizia in the Soviet period were published. Monographs by A. G. Zim, S. B. Zhantuarov, and P. P. Nikishov, which were published in the 1950’s through 1970’s, show the struggle of the working people of all the nationalities of Kirghizia for the establishment and consolidation of Soviet power in Kirghizia. In addition, research has been done on Soviet, economic, and national development, on the Kirghiz people’s noncapitalist development toward socialism, and on the triumph of the ideas of friendship among peoples and proletarian internationalism. (M. S. Dzhunusov, V. P. Sherstobitov, K. K. Karakeev, K. K. Orozaliev, D. M. Malabaev, S. T. Tabyshaliev, M. Ia. Sushanlo, and T. U. Usubaliev, for example, have worked on these subjects.)

Several works on the land and water reforms and on the nomads’ transition to settled agriculture have been published, including those of B. B. Baibulatov. A number of works have been issued on the kolkhoz and cooperative movement, industrialization, and achievements of the republic’s industrial development by S. Il’iasov, T. Duishemaliev, and I. Ibraimov. Large-scale research on the cultural revolution in Kirghizia has been done by Karakeev, Altmyshbaev, A. E. Izmailov, A. K. Kanimetov, and S. S. Daniiarov.

In their works, Karakeev and V. M. Petrovets have shed light on the activity of the Communist Party of Kirghizia in directing socialist and communist construction and on the development of science. A. A. Aidaraliev elucidates the history of public health in his works. The works of Kirghiz historians such as S. T. Tabyshaliev, Kh. M. Musin, S. K. Kerimbaev, and Zh. S. Tatybekova reflect the formation of the new structure of Soviet society: the kolkhoz peasantry, the working class, the intelligentsia, and the Kirghiz socialist nation (natsiia, nation in the historical sense). Collections of documents on the victory of Soviet power and the socialist transformations in Kirghizia have also been published.

Academician V. V. Bartol’d’s work The Kirghiz, which was published in 1927, initiated research on problems of Kirghizia’s prerevolutionary history. B. D. Dzhamgerchinov studied a number of problems in the republic’s prerevolutionary history. In the postwar period Dzhamgerchinov, A. Kh. Khasanov, and K. U. Usenbaev have studied problems such as the unification of Kirghizia with Russia, and a number of historians, including I. Il’iasov and M. P. Viatkin, have done research on Kirghizia’s social and economic system in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Among those whose work has greatly advanced the study of the ethnogeny of the Kirghiz people are S. M. Abramzon and K. I. Petrov. Historians and ethnologists (for example, D. O. Aitmambetov and K. I. Antipina) do interrelated research on the Kirghiz people’s historical and cultural past, ideology, and relations with their neighbors. Since 1946 the archaeological study of Kirghizia, which was first undertaken in the late 1920’s, has become more intense. Associated with this field of research are A. N. Bernshtam, M. P. Griaznov, A. K. Kibirov, and P. N. Kozhemiako.

The achievements of the Soviet historiography of Kirghizia are summarized in the three editions of the History of the Kirghiz SSR (1956, 1963, and 1967–68). Kirghizia’s historians are making an in-depth study of all the periods of the republic’s history, paying special attention to the problems of socialist and communist construction and to the achievements of Leninist national policy in Soviet Kirghizia.


ECONOMICS. Economics began to develop as a scholarly discipline in Kirghizia after the Great October Socialist Revolution. Above all, economic research focuses on the solution of problems connected with the development and distribution of Kirghizia’s productive forces. The strengthening of the national economy and the training of Kirghiz scholars broadened the scope of economic research, changed its orientation, and refined its methodology. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Dzh. A. Alyshbaev, K. O. Otorbaev, A. M. Moldokulov, and K. O. Soodanbekov studied the distribution of the most important branches of the economy, K. S. Sydykov did research on rational methods of exploiting the republic’s natural resources, N. S. Esipov and E. P. Chernova investigated ways of improving the use of labor resources, and T. M. Moldustanov, M. R. Ryskulbekov, and B. T. Murataliev studied the republic’s economic ties. The conclusions of this research and the recommendations based on it have been used by planning and economic bodies.

Kirghizia’s economists have studied the regularities and rational ways of development of agricultural production under kolkhoz and cooperative ownership. They have discovered the characteristics and ways of raising the efficiency of social production. Among those who have done research on the problems of the production and distribution of the gross social product is S. U. Islamov. A. U. Oruzbaev has studied the history of Kirghizia’s national economy.

In the 1960’s the implementation of the economic reform gave prominence to new problems in economic research, such as economic accountability and incentives (studied by K. Sh. Abdullaeva, for example), new techniques, the refinement of the methodology of determining the efficiency of new machinery, and the discovery of reserves for raising the efficiency of capital investments. M. B. Balbakov and S. U. Islamov studied fixed capital, and G. D. Dzhamankulova did research on the social and economic consequences of scientific and technological progress.

In determining the prospects for the development of the national economy, it is important to ensure optimal rates and proportions of expanded reproduction. Thus, the Institute of Economics of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR has conducted research to discover a way to substantiate these rates and proportions in economic terms, taking local characteristics into consideration. (D. S. Lailiev and T. K. Koichuev are the major researchers on this problem.)

The Kirghiz Scientific Research Institute for Regional Studies had administrative-economics and social departments. In 1947 an economics and geography group was established under the Kirghiz Branch of the AN SSSR. It was reorganized in 1949 as an independent economics sector, which was in turn expanded and transformed into an economics department in 1954. Founded in 1956, the Institute of Economics, an outgrowth of the department of economics, became the scientific and coordinating center for economic research in the republic. A major economics institution of Kirghizia is the Scientific Research Institute of Economics and Mathematical-Economics Methods of Planning of the Gosplan (State Planning Commission) of the Kirghiz SSR (founded in 1970).

Economic research is also done by the economics departments of branch institutes, including the Kirghiz Scientific Research Institute of Farming (since 1956), the Kirghiz Scientific Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (since 1939), the Kirghiz Scientific Research Institute of Soil Science (since 1967), and the Kirghiz Scientific Research Institute of Water Resources (since 1963).

A great contribution to scholarly research has been made by the instructors in the economics departments at institutions of higher learning (Kirghiz University and agricultural and polytechnic institutions, which in 1971 employed 58.2 percent of the republic’s economists who held academic degrees).


JURISPRUDENCE. Until the mid-1950’s there were no institutions of legal scholarship and no higher law schools in Kirghizia. There was only a two-year law school organized under the Ministry of Justice of the Kirghiz SSR and a branch of the All-Union Correspondence Institute of Law, which had opened in Frunze in 1943. In 1954 a permanent law division was opened at Kirghiz University, initially as part of the department of history and later as part of the economics department. The Department of Philosophy and Law, which was organized as part of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR in 1958, became the Institute of Philosophy and Law in 1964. These measures laid the foundation for work in various branches of jurisprudence in Kirghizia.

For the development of jurisprudence in the republic, the resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU On Measures for the Further Development of Jurisprudence and the Improvement of Legal Education in the Country (June 16, 1964) was decisive. An independent department of law was established at Kirghiz University in 1964, and a department of state and law, which became the coordinating center for legal scholarship in Kirghizia, was organized at the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR in 1966.

Between 1954 and 1972 jurists published a number of works on the history of establishing state bodies. They are working on current problems of criminology, criminal law and criminal procedure, kolkhoz and land law, family law, and civil law and civil procedure. In addition, several works on labor law have been published. Legal scholars participate in drawing up major legislative acts. For example, they helped prepare the republic codes on various branches of law, which were adopted between 1962 and 1971.

Scientific institutions. Under Soviet power a ramified network of scientific institutions has been created in Kirghizia. There were more than 60 scientific institutions in the republic in 1972, including higher educational institutions. More than 6,300 scientific workers were employed in them, including 47 academicians, members and corresponding members of academies, and more than 2,000 holders of doctoral degrees and candidates in the sciences. (In 1940, by comparison, there were only 16 scientific institutions and 323 scientific workers, and in 1960, 47 scientific institutions and 2,315 scientific staff workers.)

The leading scientific center, which conducts and coordinates most of the scientific research in the republic, is the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR, which has 18 branch scientific research institutions. Since 1955 the academy has published the journal Izvestia AN Kirgizskoi SSR on a regular basis (since 1959, in separate series).

The scientific institutions of the academy maintain scholarly relations with the scientific research institutions of the USSR and foreign countries. With the academies of science and branch institutes of other Middle Asian republics, they engage in joint work on a number of problems in theoretical and applied science and exchange scientific information on geology, physics, the automation of irrigation systems, the development of mountain regions, and problems of the economy, history, language, and folklore of the Middle Asian peoples. Kirghizia’s academy of science also cooperates with the Siberian Branch of the AN SSSR in research on mining, spectroscopy, and biology. Systematic contacts between Kirghiz scientists and scientists from the socialist countries are growing stronger.

Research done at higher educational institutions and branch scientific research institutes on farming, animal husbandry, land reclamation, the management of water resources, and power is important to Kirghizia’s national economy. Scientific research institutes on oncology and radiology, health resorts, and physical therapy, as well as other medical institutions, are playing an important role in the development of public health.



Lenin i nauka Sovetskogo Kirgizstana. Frunze, 1970.
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Amanaliev, B. Iz istorii filosofskoi mysli kirgizskogo naroda. Frunze, 1963.
Sherstobitov, V. P., K. K. Orozaliev, and D. F. Vinnik. Ocherk istorii istoricheskoi nauki ν Sovetskom Kirgizstane (1918–1960). Frunze, 1961.

Before the October Revolution the Kirghiz people did not have their own press. The scope of the publishing business became broader under Soviet power. In 1926 the Kyrgyzstan Mamlekettik Basmasy (Kirghiz State Publishing House) was established in Frunze. Between 1925 and 1971 more than 20,000 books and pamphlets were published (more than 128 million copies). The Kyrgyzstan, Mektep, Ilim, and other publishing houses issued 951 books and pamphlets in 1971 (6,362,000 copies), including 446 books and pamphlets in Kirghiz. From 1925 to 1969 the works of V. I. Lenin were printed in the Kirghiz language 156 times (about 1.4 million copies). The translation into Kirghiz and the publication of the fourth edition of Lenin’s collected works was completed in 1970.

Before the Revolution there was only one primitive printing press, which served primarily the needs of the Russian administration. In 1972 there were 20 printing enterprises in Kirghizia, including the Frunze Printing Combine, which is one of the largest in Middle Asia.

The first Kirghiz newspaper, Erkin-Too (Free Mountains), was published in Tashkent on Nov. 7, 1924, launching Kirghiz national journalism. In 1971 there were 90 newspapers, including eight republic, six oblast, nine city, 32 raion, 17 local, and 18 kolkhoz newspapers, most of them published in Kirghiz. The total annual circulation was 184.4 million copies. Among the republic newspapers are the Kirghiz-language Sovettik Kyrgyzstan (Soviet Kirghizia, since 1924), Leninchil zhash (Leninist Youth, since 1926), Mugalimder gazetasy (Teachers’ Gazette, since 1953), Kyrgyzstan madaniiaty (Culture of Kirghizia, since 1967), and Kyrgyzstan pioneri (Pioneer of Kirghizia, since 1933). The Russian-language republic newspapers are Sovetskaia Kirgiziia (1925) and Komsomolets Kirgizii (1938). The Dungan-language Shyiuedi chi (Banner of October, 1957) is also a republic newspaper.

Periodical and serial publications such as magazines, agitator’s notebooks, works, proceedings of various organizations, and bulletins have developed considerably. In 1971 there were 46 magazines, including 16 in Kirghiz and 30 in Russian, with a total annual circulation of 21,563,000 copies. Sociopolitical, literary-artistic, satirical, and young people’s magazines include the Kirghiz-language Kommunist (1926), Kyrgyzstandyn aiyv chartasy (Agriculture of Kirghizia, 1955), Kyrgyzstan aialdary (Woman of Kirghizia, 1951) Ala-Too (Snow Mountains, 1931), Chalkan (Nettle, 1955), Den sooluk (Health, 1960), and Zhash leninchi (Young Leninist, 1952). Among the Russian-language magazines published in Kirghizia are Literaturnyi Kirgizstan (1956) and Zdravookhranenie Kirgizii (1952).

The Kirgiz Telegraph Agency (KirTAG) was opened in 1936.

The first radio broadcasts were made in Frunze in 1931, and the Frunze Television Center has been in operation since 1958. In 1970 the republic’s radio and television systems were broad-casting two radio programs (in Kirghiz, Russian, German, and Dungan) and two television programs. Broadcasts are also relayed from Moscow, Alma-Ata, and Tashkent. A television studio and a radio studio have been organized in Osh (oblast center).


The oral poetry of the Kirghiz people dates to deep antiquity, as evidenced by extant samples of a number of archaic literary forms, including original cosmogonic myths, shepherds’ songs, and koshok wails. (The koshok was a song of the clergy.) Kirghiz folklore is characterized by a great variety of genres. The Manas, a monumental heroic epic, was first mentioned in literary sources in the 16th century. In addition, there were “small epics” such as Kedeykhan, Kodzhodzhash, Dzhanyl Myrza, and Er-Työshtyuk. Kirghiz folklore, like that of many other Turkic peoples, abounds in fairy tales, sayings and proverbs, ceremonial and lyrical songs, and popular anecdotes.

The most important sociopolitical event in late 19th-century Kirghiz history was the incorporation of Kirghizia into Russia, which greatly accelerated the disintegration of the patriarchal and feudal way of life and led to the penetration of progressive Russian culture into Kirghizia. Reacting to these events, Kirghiz akyns (folk poets and singers) such as Kalygul, Arstanbek, and Moldo Kylych (1866–1917) idealized the patriarchal relations of their homeland and fought zealously for the purity of Islam. However, the spirit of the people was most genuinely expressed by democratic poets, above all by Toktogul Satylganov (1864— 1933), who exposed the predatory character of the clan elite (bais, manaps, and biis). His works link the prerevolutionary people’s poetry with the poetry of the Soviet period. After 1917, Toktogul devoted his works to defending the gains of the Revolution (for example, What Kind of Woman Gave Birth to a Son Like Lenin?, Hold the Banner High, and The Epoch).

The prerevolutionary songs of the folk poet and improvisator Barpy Alykulov (1884–1949), including “The Cruelty of the Cunning Khans,” “Shepherd’s Song,” and “The Orphan,” protest social injustice, exploitation, and the humiliation of the Kirghiz woman. Togolok Moldo (1860–1942), an akyn who wrote down his poetry, drew on the oral traditions of Kirghiz literature but imbued them with a new, social spirit. Thus, the satirical poem “The Tale of the Birds” portrays the members of different social strata in fairy-tale allegorical images of birds and brilliantly depicts the oppression of the poor Kirghiz peasants by the feudal-bai elite. Under Soviet power Togolok Moldo called on the Kirghiz people to be active in building a new life (for example, “Precept to the Poor”).

Toktogul’s disciples Kalyk Akiev (1883–1953), Alymkul Usenbaev (1894–1963), and Osmonkul Bolebolaev (1888–1967) continued the best traditions of akyn poetry, celebrating the ideas of the Revolution and appealing for selfless labor. The pioneers of written Kirghiz literature had their works printed in Erkin-Too (Free Mountains), the first Kirghiz newspaper. Published in the first issue of the newspaper, the poem “October Epoch” (1924) by the poet Aaly Tokombaev (born 1904) marked the beginning of the development of Soviet Kirghiz literature. In the 1920’s, Kirghiz poetry was still fettered by the traditions of oral poetry. Following the principles of socialist realism, Kirghiz Soviet literature subsequently made a spectacular leap toward mastering new creative methods in prose and dramaturgical genres. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, Kirghiz writers did a great deal of translation work. The birth of dramaturgy was due to a broadening of creative relations with Russian realist literature, as exemplified by M. Tokobaev’s (born 1905) play The Ill-fated Kakei (produced in 1927). The first Kirghiz prose work, K. Baialinov’s (born 1902) Adzhar (1928), depicts the prerevolutionary status of Kirghiz women, who had no rights.

During the 1930’s all literary genres developed considerably. Writers strove for a more profound psychological analysis and attempted to free themselves from the canons of oral poetry and to create realistic, full-blooded characters. Gifted Kirghiz writers of the 1930’s include Tokombaev, Dzh. Bokonbaev (1910–44), Dzh. Turusbekov (1910–43), M. Elebaev (1905–43), A. Osmonov (1915–50), T. Umetaliev (born 1908), T. Sydykbekov (born 1912), K. Dzhantoshev (1904–68), and K. Malikov (born 1911). In addition the Russian writer N. Chekmenev (1905–61) and the Dungan poet Ia. Shivaza (born 1906) wrote in Kirghizia during this decade. Turusbekov’s play Not Death, but Life (1935) and Bokonbaev’s play The Golden Girl (1937) were important landmarks in the development of Kirghiz dramaturgy. The monumental realist prose created during this period is represented by Sydykbekov’s novels Ken-Suu (1937–38) and Temir (1939–40) and Dzhantoshev’s Kanybek (1939–48). Kirghizia’s poets strove to embody the characteristics of the new epoch and the dynamism of the revolutionary events in their works.

The collections of poetry published during the Great Patriotic War—Tokombaev’s Forward!, Bokonbaev’s The Native Land, and Elebaev’s The Great March—are imbued with profound patriotism. Also written during the war were patriotic plays about the heroism of Soviet soldiers and plays that drew on folklore motifs.

In the postwar years and the early 1950’s, Soviet Kirghiz literature made significant progress in the development of all types and genres of work. Osmonov published the collections of poems Love (1945), My Country—Country of Songs (1948), and New Poems (1949), in which he enriched Kirghiz poetry with new themes and a new verse technique. Umetaliev praised Soviet man in the collection Melody of the Homeland (1949). In the poem With My Own Eyes (1952), Tokombaev, who is still writing poetry, depicted the Kirghiz peasants’ road to socialism. In 1962 he published the second edition of the novel in verse Before the Dawn, on which he had begun work in the late 1930’s. It portrays the life of the Kirghiz people on the eve of and during the uprising of 1916, as well as the struggle of the masses for freedom.

Prose is developing rapidly. Among the novels that have been published are Baialinov’s Happiness (1947) and Sydykbekov’s People of Our Time (1948).

Contemporary Kirghiz literature is characterized by the growth of artistic mastery, the rise of a wide range of topics, and a deepening realism. The theme of the people and the Revolution is treated in a number of novels, including Sydykbekov’s Among the Mountains (books 1–2, 1955–58), The Last Cartridge (1955) by N. Baitemirov (born 1916), The Front (parts 1–2, 1961–66) by U. Abdukaimov (1909–63), and I Want to Live (books 1–2, 1960–65) by M. Abdukarimov (born 1910). The same theme inspired Sh. Beishenaliev (born 1928) to write the novella The Swallow (1961). T. Kasymbekov’s (born 1931) novel The Broken Sword (books 1–2, 1966–71) is devoted to the historical events of the 19th century. Among the plays written in the late 1950’s and 1960’s that have won recognition are Malikov’s On High Land (1956), The Father’s Fate (1961) by B. Dzhakiev (born 1936), and Conscience Does not Forgive (1964) by T. Abdumomunov (born 1922).

The talented prose writer Ch. Aitmatov (born 1928), People’s Writer of the Kirghiz SSR (1968) and winner of the Lenin Prize (1963), focuses on the life and inner world of contemporary man. Most of his works are short stories and short novellas—genres that are widely favored in Kirghiz literature, especially by writers who have achieved prominence in the postwar years—for example, Mar Baidzhiev (born 1935), K. Bobulov (born 1936), and Sh. Abdyramanov (born 1930). Aitmatov’s prose (for example, the novellas Dzhamilia, 1958, The First Teacher, 1961, Good Bye, Gul’sary, 1966, and The White Ship, 1970) won fame for Kirghiz literature throughout the Soviet Union as well as the entire world.

S. Eraliev (born 1921) is a brilliant poet. His poem Ak meer (1959), which is based on motifs drawn from folklore, shows the tragic fate of Kirghiz girls before the Revolution. Eraliev introduced blank verse into Kirghiz poetry (the collection White Odors, 1969). Among the gifted authors of children’s literature are M. Dzhangaziev (born 1921), Beishenaliev, and A. Aitbaeva (born 1917).

Kirghiz literary criticism has been developing since 1926. Among the republic’s most prominent literary critics and scholars have been K. Rakhmatullin (1903–46), O. Dzhakishev (born 1909), B. Kerimdhzanova (born 1920), A. Saliev (born 1926), K. Asanaliev (born 1928), Bobulov, Sh. Umetaliev (born 1926), M. Borbugulov (born 1930), and Dzh. Tashtemirov (born 1913).

A number of professional translators have emerged in Kirghizia, including Abdukaimov, S. Bektursunov (1909–62), O. Orozbaev (born 1919), and K. Eshmambetov. They have made the Russian and foreign classics and books by writers from the fraternal republics available to Kirghiz readers. In addition, works by Kirghiz writers have been translated into many of the languages of the peoples of the USSR, including Russian, Azerbaijani, Latvian, Tatar, Uzbek, and Ukrainian. Creative relations between Kirghiz writers and writers from other republics are maintained through joint meetings of writers, especially during the ten-day festivals, weeks, and days devoted to literature and art.

The literary circle Kyzyl Uchkun(Red Spark) was founded in 1927, and the Kirghiz Association of Proletarian Writers in 1930 (part of RAPP [Russian Association of Proletarian Writers]). In 1932 the First Conference of Soviet Writers of Kirghizia was held. Subsequently, the Union of Soviet Writers of Kirghizia was founded. Its First Congress was held in 1934, the Second in 1954, the Third in 1959, the Fourth in 1966, and the Fifth in 1971.


Kerimdzhanova, B., and Sh. Umetaliev. Kirgizskaia sovetskaia literatura. Frunze, 1955.
Kerimdzhanova, B. “Kirgizskaia sovetskaia literatura za 40 let.” In Iubileinaia nauchnaia sessiia AN Kirgizskoi SSR. Frunze, 1958.
Samaganov, Dzh. Gorkii i kirgizskaia literatura. Frunze, 1958.
Borbugulov, M. Puti razvitiia kirgizskoi sovetskoi dramaturgii. Frunze, 1958.
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Sadykov, A. Kyrgyz sovet adabiyatyndagy uluttuk zhana internatsionaldyk problema. Frunze, 1969.


The oldest artistic monuments discovered on the territory of Kirghizia—representations of animals in the Ak-Chunkur cave —date to the Neolithic period. The Bronze Age is represented by modeled pottery with geometric ornamentation pricked or stamped on it. Such pottery has been found in southern Kirghizia and in the Chu, Talas, and Ketmen’-Tiuba valleys. Dating also from the Bronze Age are fragments of drawings on rocks of animals and plowing and hunting scenes, which have been found in the Saimaly-Tash gorge in the Fergana Range. Permanent settlements with structures made of pisé or sun-dried clay and fortified with walls and towers have been unearthed in the south in Shurabashat (fourth through the first century B.C.) and in the Chatkal Valley in the northwest. Dating from the end of the first millennium B.C., art works found in southern and southwestern Kirghizia include colored and painted pottery, gold and bronze ornaments, and expressive drawings on rock, such as silhouettes of horses (Aravan) and ritual dance scenes (Saimaly-Tash). In northern Kirghizia and the Tien-Shan the Saki nomads (seventh through the third century B.C.) and the Usuni (second century B.C. to fifth century A.D.) used cast bronze figurines of yaks, goats, lions, and snow leopards to ornament sacrifice tables. They also had lamps and kettles (finds on the coast of Lake Issyk-Kul’), and metal parts of harnesses made by them have been discovered.

Before the Mongol-Tatar invasion the cultures of the settled and nomadic populations of Kirghizia developed parallel to each other. The fortresses and castles of feudal lords were built between the fifth and tenth centuries. Also founded during this period were the towns, which consisted of a citadel, a shakhristan (the city proper, enclosed by walls), and a fortified artisans’ suburb (for example, in the south, the towns of Uzgen and Osh, and in the Chatkal Valley, the town of Kiul’beskhan). Sogdian colonies were established in the Talas and Chu valleys, with buildings made of pakhsa (beaten clay) and roofed with sun-dried bricks or flat pieces of wood. In the ruins of the fortified town of Ak-Beshim monuments of architecture, sculpture, painting, and pieces of decorative applied art (openwork bronze gilded metal plates with representations of Buddha and Buddhist deities) from the fifth through the tenth century have been found.

The remains of the headquarters of Turkic khans have been discovered in the Tien-Shan (for example, Koshoi-Kurgan). Rectangular areas enclosed by pakhsa walls with towers but almost entirely lacking other structures, the headquarters were used by the nomads as places of refuge during wars. Fortified karavan-sarais with “corrugated” walls were also built (for example, Chaldyvar on the Manakel’dy River). In the fortified town of Krasnorech’e, where a Sogdian castle from the fourth and fifth centuries has been excavated, a huge (more than 12 m) poured clay statue of Buddha with finely worked drapings and multicolored painting has been found. Many carved images of people with coarsely modeled figures and faces have also been found on tombs in Kirghizia. The settled population made earthenware dishes painted with engobe and decorated with a few large patterns (plaits, triangles, zigzags), schematic clay figurines of animals and people (Sokuluk finds), and ossuaries with carved ornamentation (sometimes human figures). In addition, they made finely modeled sculptures—for instance, seals with representations of the head of the king (found, for example, at Sokuluk). The nomads (Turkic tribes) made metal buckles, metal plates for harnesses, and medallion pendants with finely interlaced geometric designs or plant motifs. Sometimes they decorated their metal work with representations of reindeer, snow leopards, and goats (finds from Ak-Beshim, Sokuluk, and the Kochkor Valley, for example).

Under the Karakhanid Muslim state the characteristic art form was the monumental religious building: the mosque, minaret (11th-century structures in the fortified town of Buran and in Uzgen), and mausoleum. (Usually, mausoleums had portals and domes—for example, the group of three mausoleums in Uzgen, dating from the 11th and 12th centuries.) The architectural ornamentation of the period consisted of laying bricks in patterns and carving geometric patterns, inscriptions, and plant motifs on ganch (a mixture of burned gypsum and clay). Ceramics was the main form of decorative applied art. Karakhanid artists made unglazed vessels with stamped, carved, or molded ornamentation and glazed vessels with underglazed dark brown or olive designs on white backgrounds or with engravings (ribbon braids, rosettes, inscriptions, and sometimes, figures of pheasants, bears, and frogs).

The Mongol-Tatar conquest in the first quarter of the 13th century led to a decline of the towns. Most of the monumental structures erected between the 13th and the 20th centuries were mausoleums (the Manas Mausoleum, 14th century) and karavan-sarais (Tash-Rabat on the Karakoium River, 15th century).

After the incorporation of Kirghizia into Russia (1860’s and 1870’s), cities began to develop, and city plans were drawn up for Pishpek (now Frunze), Karakol (now Przheval’sk), and Tokmak. Built on a rectangular plan, the cities were divided into small quarters. The one-story houses were made of pisé or sun-dried clay. Rug making was important among the decorative applied arts of the period. The Kirghiz made shirdak rugs out of felt, using different techniques (mosaic, appliqué, and rolling in) to execute the patterns. Pile rugs and hanging rug bags for yurts were also made. Among the items embroidered by the Kirghiz were velvet and fabric wall panels (tush-kiiizy), bags for dishes, garments, and blankets. Patterned mats were woven of Lasiagrostis grass. From silver the Kirghiz made ornaments (for example, saddle and harness plates, bracelets, rings, earrings, fibulae, and braid clips), which were covered with engraved patterns, etchings, stampings, and niello. Kirghiz decorative applied art is characterized by understated ornamentation, balanced composition, lively rhythm, and bright colors (red, blue, orange, brown, and white). Large spherical forms and the ram’s horn motif prevail in the patterns.

During the Soviet period well-planned, well-built, landscaped cities and settlements and modern apartment houses and public and industrial buildings have been constructed. A number of buildings erected during the second half of the 1920’s and the early 1930’s were in the modern style. Since the mid-1930’s architecture has been inspired by classicism and is characterized by colonnades, porticos, and large arched apertures. National styles of ornamentation have been widely used in architectural decor since the late 1930’s (for example, the Summer Theater in the I. V. Panfilov Park in Frunze, 1940, architect G. A. Gradov). Unfortunately, the uncritical use of the classical and national heritage led at times to eclecticism. General plans have been drawn up for many cities of Kirghizia since the late 1940’s, including the general plan for the city of Frunze (1948–58), which takes into consideration the terrain, the water supply, and air currents and provides for a clear, functional zoning of residential and industrial districts. Since the late 1950’s the most widely used building materials have been reinforced concrete and glass (for example, the buildings of the Academy of Sciences of the Kirghiz SSR [1960’s] and the N. K. Krupskaia Theater of Russian Drama, 1971, all in Frunze).

Many resorts are being built. The most noteworthy is the large resort area on Lake Issyk-Kul’. Architects are drawing up general plans for cities (new general plan of Frunze, 1971, architects V. I. Nenarokov and V. P. Sherstnev) and sovkhoz and kolkhoz settlements (Chek-Kimen’, architect M. V. Klimov). Among the recently constructed irrigation facilities is the Orto-Tokoi water reservoir and dam (1963; engineer, V. A. Vasil’ev). The first neighborhood units were built in the early 1960’s, first in Frunze and later in Osh and other cities. The architects working in Kirghizia include E. G. Pisarskoi, V. E. Nusov, G. P. Kutateladze, V. V. Lyzenko, and L. G. Kutsemelov.

The birth of the fine arts in Soviet Kirghizia owes a great deal to the Russian painters V. V. Obraztsov and S. A. Chuikov, the painters I. P. Gal’chenko and A. A. Ignat’ev, who came to Kirghizia in the 1930’s, and the sculptor O. M. Manuilova. G. Aitiev, one of the founders of the Kirghiz national school of painting, began his artistic career in the 1930’s. An art studio that was opened in Frunze in 1935 became the School of Art in 1939. In the 1930’s the main developments in the fine arts occurred in painting—primarily landscape painting, although genre painting and portraits were of some importance. (Among the most outstanding painters of the period were Chuikov, Aitiev, and S. Akylbekov.) The graphic artists L. A. Il’ina, A. N. Mikhalev, and A. A. Sgibnev began working in the late 1930’s.

During the Great Patriotic War agitational and satirical graphic art (posters and caricatures) developed, and Kirghizia’s artists created sculptures and paintings devoted to the war heroes (for example, the monument to I. V. Panfilov, Frunze, 1942, by A. A. and O. M. Manuilov). Portrait and landscape painting continued to develop in the 1950’s (Aitiev, D. Kozhakhmetov, and Akylbekov). The painting of that decade is characterized by a desire to show man in an inseparable relationship with the surrounding landscape. There has been a growing interest in topical painting and in the image of the new, free laboring man (for example, L. F. Deimant and F. M. Stuko-shin). Among the gifted artists of the late 1950’s and 1960’s were M. Omorkulov, A. Usubaliev, S. Ishenov, D. Dzhumabaev, A. Osmonov, E. G. Kuzovkin, Z. Khabibulin, and M. Sydykbaev. In the 1960’s, sculpture developed more intensively than ever before, and Kirghiz sculptors with a specialized education (T. Sadykov and A. Mukhutdinov) achieved prominence. Significant works of monumental and decorative art have been created, including the reliefs on the M. V. Frunze Memorial Museum in Frunze (1967; artists A. F. Voronin, A. N. Kamenskii, and S. Bakashov). Kirghizia’s successful stage designers include A. V. Aref’ev and A. Moldakhmatov.

The rich traditions of Kirghiz decorative applied art continue to develop in rug making, embroidery, leather work, and the textiles and ceramics industries.

Architects are trained at the Polytechnic Institute in Frunze. The Union of Architects of the Kirghiz SSR was founded in 1941, and the Union of Artists, in 1958. (The organizational committee of the latter was formed in 1933.)


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Kozhemiako, P. N., and D. F. Vinnik. “Arkheologicheskie issledovaniia na territorii Kirgizii.” Vestnik AN SSSR, 1962, no. 7.
Nusov, V. E. Pamiatniki arkhitektury Kirgizstana. Frunze, 1963.
Cherkasova, N. “Put’ ν sorok let.” Tvorchestvo, 1967, no. 7.
Popova, O. “Molodye monumentalisty Kirgizii.” Tvorchestvo, 1969, no. 9.
Nusov, V. E. Arkhitektura Kirgizii s drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei. Frunze, 1971.


Before the October Revolution the Kirghiz people had only oral folk music. They did not know any principles of polyphony, nor were they familiar with instrumental ensembles. Vocal music was represented by the monophonic song. Kirghiz folk music was based on seven-step diatonic harmonies (natural and Mixolydian major, as well as natural and Dorian, and more rarely, Phrygian minor). The meter varied greatly, with frequent alternations of complex beats. The melodies of the folk songs were broad and had a warm, singing quality, whereas epic and ritual songs were closer to recitatives. The genres included ritual songs (koshok, or songs of the clergy, and zharamazan, or religious holiday songs), work songs (bekbekei, night songs of women guarding the flock of sheep; shyryldan, the herdsman’s song; and op-maida, the song of the muledriver at threshing). Among the lyrical songs were the kiuigen, seketbai, and seket (all love songs) and arman (songs of complaint, melancholy, and grief). Other Kirghiz folksongs were the beshik yry (lullabies), sel’kinchek (“swings,” game songs), kaiyim-aityshuu (musical jests at contests), and baldar yry (songs for children).

In instrumental music a popular genre was the kiuu, a long, programmatic piece. Among the Kirghiz folk instruments are the komuz (three-string pizzicato instrument), kyl kyiak (two-string bowed instrument), zhygach ooz komuz (a wooden instrument), and temir komuz (an iron instrument similar to the Jew’s harp). Other Kirghiz folk instruments are the choor (shepherd’s reed pipe), surnai (oboe type), kernei (copper wind instrument), and dobulbas or dool (similar to the kettledrum).

The traditions of Kirghiz folk music were preserved by the akyns and by players of such instruments as the komuz, and kyiak. Among the greatest musicians of Kirghizia were the akyns Toktogul Satylganov, K. Akiev, A. Usenbaev, O. Bolobalaev, and Atai Ogonbaev, the folk singers A. Temirov and M. Baetov, and the folk instrumentalists Murataly Kurenkeev, K. Orozov, I. Tumanov, Ch. Imankulov, S. Bekmuratov, and Sh. Sherkulov. Outstanding among Kirghiz composers of folk melodies are Dzh. Sheraliev and B. Eginchiev. Since 1925 scholars have been writing down Kirghiz folk music, and collections have been published by A. V. Zataevich and V. S. Vinogradov.

The art of the akyns and musicians flowered after the October Revolution, and works by professional Kirghiz musicians appeared. Russian composers, including People’s Artists of the Kirghiz SSR V. A. Vlasov, V. G. Fere, and M. R. Raukhverger, participated in the creation of music as a profession in Kirghizia. During the 1930’s the professional Kirghiz composers A. Maldybaev, B. Abdraev, A. Tuleev, and A. Amanbaev published pieces. The opera, ballet, and symphony were introduced into Kirghizia. The establishment of opera as an important musical form was preceded by the creation of the musical dramas Altyn kyz (The Golden Girl) by Vlasov and Fere, which was staged in 1937 by the Kirghiz Theater of Musical Drama, and Adzhal orduna (Not Death, but Life) by Vlasov, Maldybaev, and Fere, which was staged in 1938 by the same theater. The first Kirghiz opera, Aichurek (The Lunar Beauty) by Vlasov, Maldybaev, and Fere, which was staged in 1939, was based on themes from the folk epic Manas.

Kirghiz operas and musical dramas have been composed on a great variety of topics. The struggle for freedom and independence is the theme of the musical drama Adzhal orduna and of the operas Toktogul (staged in 1958) and Manas (staged in 1946), both by Vlasov, Maldybaev, and Fere, and Ak Shumkar (The White Falcon) by S. N. Riauzov (staged in 1957). In the operas The Patriots by Vlasov, Maldybaev, and Fere (staged in 1941) and The Mother’s Heart by S. L. Germanov (staged in 1965), the plots are based on the Great Patriotic War. The liberation of women is the theme of Aidar and Aisha by A. Amanbaev and Germanov (staged in 1952) and Dzhamilia by Raukhverger (staged in 1961). On the Shores of Issyk-Kul’ by Vlasov, Maldybaev, and Fere (staged in 1951) and The Young Hearts by Abdraev (staged in 1953) focus on the building of the kolkhozes.

Abdraev’s opera Oldzhobai and Kishimdzhan (staged in 1965) reflects the influence of the lyric epos.

Among the ballets and musical comedies on contemporary themes are Kim-kantti (Who Did What) by Abdraev, Maldybaev, Amanbaev, and A. Tuleev (staged in 1943), Amanbaev’s The Bachelors (staged in 1960), and N. Davlesov’s Careful, Bride! (staged in 1971).

Symphonic works inspired by Kirghiz folklore were written in the 1940’s and 1950’s (symphonies by N. P. Rakov and Fere and symphonic poems by Vlasov). Somewhat later, the Kirghiz composer Tuleev, who wrote a symphony (1961) and the Heroic Poem (1954), as well as T. Ermatov, A. Dzhanybekov, Abdraev, and Amanbaev, began writing symphonies. The cantata and oratorio have become more popular forms among Kirghiz composers, and have developed a great deal. Contemporary themes are embodied in Abdraev’s vocal symphonic poems The Great Dawn (1967) and Leninist Kirghizia (1970), K. Moldobasanov’s cantata Prosper, Kirghizia (1967), and Abdraev and Maldybaev’s oratorio Son of the Kirghiz (1967). Instrumental chamber works, popular songs, art songs, and choral works have also been written.

Many performing artists have achieved prominence under Soviet power, including the singers, S. Kiizbaeva, A. Maldybaev, and A. Myrzabaev, all of whom are People’s Artists of the USSR, and K. Chrodronov, M. Mustaeva, M. Makhmutova, A. Dzhumabaev, I. Derkembaeva, and S. Toktonaliev, all of whom are People’s Artists of the Kirghiz SSR. Among Kirghizia’s conductors, A. Dzhumakhmatov, K. Moldobasanov, and N. Davlesov have been named People’s Artists of the Kirghiz SSR. The stage directors A. Kuttubaev and V. Ia. Vasil’ev have also been awarded that title.

Kirghizia’s Theater of Opera and Ballet was founded in 1942, its philharmonic society in 1936, and the Great Symphony Orchestra of the Kirghiz Radio and Television in 1970. The Institute of Art was opened in 1967. There are music schools in Frunze and Osh. Located in the republic are 48 children’s music schools and the House of People’s Art. The Union of Composers of the Kirghiz SSR was founded in 1939.


Zataevich, A. V. 250 kirgizskikh instrumental’nykh p’es i napevov. Moscow, 1934.
Vinogradov, V. S. Kirgizskaia narodnaia muzyka. Frunze, 1958.
Vinogradov, V. S. Muzykal’noe nasledie Toktogula. Moscow, 1961.
Vinogradov, V. S. Murataly Kurenkeev. Frunze, 1962.
Alagushov, B. Kyrgyz Komuz chulary zhana komuz kuuloru. Frunze, 1961.
Alagushov, B. Kyrgyz kompozitorloru. Frunze, 1964.
Alagushov, B. Tanshy, komuz! Frunze, 1968.
Abdraev, M., and B. Alagushov. Oktyabrdyn nuru menen. Frunze, 1966.
Istoriia kirgizskogo iskusstva: Kratkii ocherk. Frunze, 1971.


Musical phrases and melodies with a dancelike, rhythmic structure show that the Kirghiz possessed elements of the folk dance in the very remote past. Additional evidence of the early origins of the dance in Kirghizia is the symmetry of the national style of ornamentation, which reflects the fluidity of the dance, the mention of dances in the Manas epic, and many lexical terms (bii—the dance, bii le e—to dance, biichi—the dancer, and el biileri—folk dances). The development of the dance was held back by the nomadic way of life. Moreover, dance was not considered a respectable occupation. Nevertheless, despite the complexity of its historical development, the dance retained its roots among the people. It was associated with rituals, games, and rhythmically structured pantomime, which reflected the work, living conditions, and everyday life of the people.

The dances created during the Soviet period reveal the inborn grace and vigorous temperament of the Kirghiz people. The women’s dance is smooth and is characterized by flexible movements and proud bearing, whereas the men’s dance displays the dashing quality of the djigits (bareback riders). The characteristics of the men’s and women’s parts are found in both group and solo dances. The outline of pair and women’s dances is flowing and soft.

The most popular folk dance, the kiiiz, which re-creates the making of a folk rug, was performed for the first time in N. S. Kholfin’s production of the musical drama Altyn kyz, by V. A. Vlasov and V. G. Fere (1937). Other well-known dances include Dance in the Pasture (1939), Beshyrgai (1952), Dance of the Barebacked Riders (1954), The Poppy Harvest (1955), Komuzchu (1958), and Akbilek (1966). In 1938 the first dance ensemble was organized at the philharmonic society, and the first professional dance group was formed in 1957. A folk ensemble was organized in 1966 under the artistic director N. Tugelov and the choreographer S. Kabekov, both of whom are Honored Art Workers of the Kirghiz SSR.

The establishment of the national music theater spurred the development of the professional ballet. The first productions of the music theater— Altyn kyz by Vlasov and Fere (1937) and Adzhal orduna by Vlasov, Maldybaev, and Fere (1938)—included dance scenes that were performed by a ballet group organized by Kholfin in 1937. In 1934, 1936, and 1937 gifted children were sent to study at the Leningrad School of Choreography. By 1938 the theater had a troupe of 70 dancers, all of whom had been trained in amateur groups. In 1939 they performed dance scenes in the opera Aichurek by Vlasov, Maldybaev, and Fere.

Before a Kirghiz national ballet was created, Kirghiz dancers learned to perform classical works, including The Rivals by P. Hertel (1939) and Coppélia by L. Delibes (1940). In 1940 the first national lyrical romantic ballet— Anar by Vlasov and Fere —was produced. Different versions of it were staged in 1950 and 1957. Vlasov and Fere’s one-act ballet Sel’kinchek was staged in 1943, and in 1944 the most significant of the new national ballets was performed—the fairy-tale Cholpon, by M. R. Raukhverger, which was also presented in two slightly different versions in 1953 and 1958. Both Sel’kinchek and Cholpon were performed in 1958 in Moscow at a ten-day festival of Kirghiz art and literature.

The ballet Spring in Ala-Too by Vlasov and Fere (1955) is devoted to the struggle for the consolidation of Soviet power in Kirghizia. Episodes from the life of the popular folk comedian Kuiruchuk provided the thematic material for the ballet Kuiruchuk by K. Moldobasanov and G. G. Okunev (1960). Inspired by problems of the ethics and duty of Soviet man, Vlasov’s ballet Asel’ (1967) draws on themes from Ch. Aitmatov’s novella My Little Poplar in the Red Scarf. Ch. Nurymov’s ballet Immortality (1972) is devoted to the memory of Hero of the Soviet Union Ch. Tuleberdiev. The repertoire of the Kirghiz ballet theater includes many Soviet, Russian, and foreign classical works, such as ballets by Tchaikovsky, A. K. Glazunov, A. Adam, B. V. Asaf’ev, R. M. Glière, S. S. Prokofiev, D. D. Shostakovich, and L. Minkus.

In 1971, Kirghizia’s leading ballet artists included People’s Artist of the USSR B. Beishenalieva, People’s Artists of the Kirghiz SSR U. Sarbagishev and R. Chokoeva, Honored Artists of the Kirghiz SSR B. Alimbaev, S. Dzhokobaeva, B. V. Suslov, and A. Tokombaeva, and the ballet masters N. Tugelov and E. Mademilova, who are Honored Art Workers of the Kirghiz SSR, and People’s Artist of the Kirghiz SSR U. Sarbagishev.

The M. Kurenkeev State School of Music and Choreography was opened in 1943.


Kholfin, N. S. “Tanets.” In Iskusstvo Sovetskoi Kirgizii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
Kirgizskie tantsy, vols. 1–3. Frunze, 1959–66.
Brudnyi, D. Kirgizskii baletnyi teatr. [Frunze, 1968.]
Abakirov, A., and A. Komarov. Simfoniia gor. Frunze, 1969.
Istoriia kirgizskogo iskusstva: Kratkii ocherk. Frunze, 1971.
Urazgel’diev, R. Kh. Bibisara Beyshenalieva. Frunze, 1972.


The origins of the national theater of Kirghizia lie in art forms that have been practiced by the people for centuries. Ceremonies and popular games, contests among akyns (aityshuu), presentations by narrators of fairy tales (dzhomokchu) and of the Manas epic (manaschi), and performances by komuz players and kuuduls (folk comedians) contained brilliantly expressed elements of the theater such as dialogues, short satirical scenes, gestures, and mime, which were distinguished by their fluidity and were performed to the accompaniment of folk instruments.

The people’s aspiration to artistic creativity developed after the Great October Socialist Revolution. In the early 1920’s the first amateur Kirghiz-language theater performances took place in the village of Cholpon, in Karakol (now Przheval’sk), and in Naryn District, and the theater circle of the city’s pedagogical technicum gave performances in Pishpek (now Frunze). The foundation for the rise of the professional Kirghiz theater was laid by the work of the musical drama studio organized in 1926 under the direction of N. N. Elenin, which became a school of art for the first Kirghiz actors, including K. Aibasheva, A. Botaliev, K. Eshimbekov, A. Kuttubaev, and Sh. Tiumenbaev. The studio staged the first works of national dramaturgy —M. Tokobaev’s The Ill-fated Kakei and Dzhantoshev’s Karachach and Alym and Mariia. In 1930 the studio became a professional drama theater, with a repertoire including plays by Dzh. Turusbekov, R. Shukurbekov, and A. Kuttubaev. However, the musical drama held the most important place in the art of the first Kirghiz theater. Called the Musical Drama Theater from 1936, it was later renamed the Kirghiz Theater of Opera and Ballet.

Founded in 1936 and closed in 1941, the Theater for the Young Audience staged plays in Kirghiz. Its troupe was made up of actors from the Musical Drama Theater, including O. Sarbagishev and G. Orozbaeva, as well as members of amateur art organizations (S. Dzhamanov, D. Kuiukova, and B. Kydykeeva, for example). Among the plays in its repertoire were works by Dzhantoshev, K. Malikov, and K. Eshmambetov.

The Kirghiz Drama Theater troupe was founded in Frunze in 1941. The outbreak of the Great Patriotic War imparted a heroic, patriotic character to such plays as A. Tokombaev’s The Oath, Shukurbekov’s Revenge, Dzhantoshev’s Kurmanbek, and Kuttubaev and Malikov’s Dzhanyl. In the second half of the 1940’s and the first half of the 1950’s the theater staged a number of important plays on contemporary themes, including T. Abdumomunov’s The Sandy Slope (1947), The Narrow Gorge (1953), and Atabek’s Daughter (1955), Shukurbekov’s My Village (1948), and Malikov and Kuttubaev’s We Are Not What We Were (1951). The Kirghiz Drama Theater’s productions during the 1960’s were devoted to the life of the Kirghiz people. Among its presentations were B. Dzhakiev’s The Father’s Fate (1960), Sh. Beishenaliev’s Kychan (1961), Abdumomunov’s Conscience Does Not Forgive (Not Subject to Appeal, 1964) and He Who Laughs Last (1969), M. Toibaev’s The New Daughter-in-law (The Daughter-in-law From Moscow, 1967), and M. Baidzhiev’s Four Men (1968). The Kirghiz theater also staged adaptations of Aitmatov’s Face to Face (1961) and The Maternal Field (1964). The repertoire of the Kirghiz Drama Theater includes many Kirghiz plays on revolutionary themes, as well as Russian and foreign classics.

Among the outstanding productions staged by the S. M. Kirov Uzbek Theater of Musical Drama of Osh Oblast (founded in 1929) are The Mighty Wave, based on a work by Sh. Rashidov, Ganga’s Daughter, based on a work by R. Tagore, M. F. Shatrov’s In the Name of the Revolution, and A. Abdugafurov’s Greed. Founded in 1958, the Tien-Shan Musical Drama Theater, which is in Naryn, has produced My Little Poplar in the Red Scarf, based on a work by Aitmatov, Dzhantoshev’s Kurmanbek, Toibaev’s Field Flowers, Dzh. Turusbekov’s Not Death, but Life, Careful, Bride! by N. Davlesov and N. Baitemirov, and V. V. Vishnevskii’s Optimistic Tragedy. In 1973 there were six theaters in the republic: the Kirghiz Drama Theater and the N. K. Krupskaia Republic Russian Drama Theater (founded in 1935), both in Frunze, the Uzbek Theater of Musical Drama, and the Kirghiz Drama Theater (founded in 1972), both in Osh, the Tien-Shan Theater of Musical Drama in Naryn, and the Puppet Theater (founded in 1938; Russian and Kirghiz troupes).

Among Kirghizia’s most distinguished theater artists are D. Kuiukova, B. Kydykeeva, and M. Ryskulov (all People’s Artists of the USSR), S. Balkybekova, A. Botaliev, S. Dzhamanov, A. Dzhankorozova, V. F. Kazakov, G. G. Karkotskii, N. Kitaev, A. Kobegenov, S. Kumushalieva, A. Kuttubaeva, L. Maidova, R. Muminova, V. S. Ofitserov, T. Khasanova, and L. L. Iasinovskii (all People’s Artists of the Kirghiz SSR). Other outstanding theater people are People’s Artist of the Kazakh SSR N. K. Angarov and Honored Art Worker of the Kirghiz SSR D. Abdykadyrov.


Istoriia sovetskogo dramaticheskogo teatra, vols. 2–6. Moscow, 1966–71.
L’vov, N. Kirgizskii teatr. Moscow, 1953.
Borbugulov, M. Puti razvitiia kirgizskoi sovetskoi dramaturgii. Frunze, 1958.
Brudnyi, D. Teatral’noe iskusstvo Kirgizii. Moscow, 1959.
Istoriia Kirgizskogo iskusstva. Frunze, 1971.


Circus. Ancient Kirghiz popular festivities always included elements of circus art, such as various forms of wrestling and bareback riding. The professional circus emerged in 1963 with the founding of the Young Kirghizia group of gymnasts and acrobats, directed by E. A. Dzhanybekov. Another group organized in 1967 prepared the program Prosper, My Native Kirghizia, which was directed by N. M. Tsertelev. In 1969 the two groups merged to form the Young Kirghizia Circus Group, which is directed by K. T. Orziev.

Until Soviet power was established, no motion pictures were produced in Kirghizia. In 1914 there was one motion picture installation in Pishpek (now Frunze). A newsreel correspondents’ office was organized in Frunze in 1939. An outgrowth of the office, the Frunze Newsreel Studio was founded in 1942, reorganized as the Motion-Picture Studio of Documentary and Feature Films in 1956, and renamed Kirgizfil’m in 1961.

At first, Kirghizia produced only newsreels. Later, its motion pictures developed as a means of propaganda and agitation. Kirghizia’s studios produced the motion pictures Kirghizia in the Patriotic War and The Highest Reward (both in 1944), Soviet Kirghizia (1947), In the Valley of Susamyr (1954), and They Were Born in the Tien-Shan (1957). Among the documentary films made in the 1960’s are The Melody of the Komuz, The River of the Mountains, The Birth of a Song, The Artist Chuikov, Fac-tory Encounters, Address to the Sun, and The Tale of Mikhail Frunze. Other documentaries made in the republic are PSP, In the Mountains of Alai, The Manaschi, Dreams, Sermon on Instruction, The Hippocratic Oath, The Garden, Castles on Sand, The Akyn, The Heritage, and The Cradle. The directors of these films include Sh. Apylov, Iu. Gershtein, I. Gershtein, B. Novikov, A. Vidugiris, I. Morgachev, I. Kokeev, G. Degal’tsev, I. Gorelik, B. Abdyldaev, Ia. Bronshtein, and K. Kydyraliev.

Artistic cinematography began to develop in Kirghizia in the 1950’s. The first film in this genre was Saltanat. Directed by V. M. Pronin and produced jointly with the Mosfilm Cinema Studio in 1955, it starred B. Kydykeeva, M. Ryskulov, and other actors from the Kirghiz theater troupe. Subsequent productions included My Mistake (1958), Far in the Mountains (1959), The Girl From the Tien-Shan (1960), Cholpon—the Morning Star (1960, jointly with the Lenfil’m cinema studio), and Toktogul (1961).

Kirghiz cinematography’s growing interest in themes from the national literature presaged a significant new phase in its development. The creative work of Aitmatov played an important role in this new trend. Several motion pictures were based on his works or screenplays, including The Mountain Pass (1961), The Heat (1963), The First Teacher (1965), and Dzhamilia (1969, jointly with the Mosfil’m Cinema Studio).

A notable contribution to the development of Kirghiz motion pictures was made by film directors trained at specialized educational institutions in Moscow and Leningrad. Among the most distinguished directors are G. Bazarov, K. Kydyraliev, T. Okeev, K. Omurkulov, M. Turatbekov, and B. T. Shamshiev, who directed the films The Difficult Crossing, The Bakai Pasture, The Maternal Field, The Shot in Karash Pass, Urkuia, and The Scarlet Poppies of the Issyk-Kul’ all of which were made in the 1960’s and 1970’s. These motion pictures are characterized by the quest for new methods of expression and by national color. Kirgizfil’m dubs in films from other republics and foreign films.

The Union of Cinematographers of Kirghizia was founded in 1962. In 1971 there were 1,103 motion-picture facilities in Kirghizia.


Ashimov, K. Rozhdenie kirgizskogo kino. Frunze, 1969.
Istoria kirgizskogo iskusstva: Kratkii ocherk. Frunze, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.