Kyrgyz Republic - Country Commercial Guide
Political and Economic Environment

Links to the State Department’s website for background on the country’s political environment.

Last published date: 2022-08-09

The Kyrgyz Republic’s history of political upheaval negatively impacts its investment environment. Since independence, the country has had five presidents and 26 different prime ministers.  In October 2020, after protests over highly flawed parliamentary elections led to the resignation of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, Sadyr Japarov, an opposition figure imprisoned since 2017, took office amid political tumult, and was subsequently elected president in January 2021.  President Japarov introduced a new constitution, approved by referendum in April 2021, that transitioned the country to a presidential system, consolidated power in the executive branch, and weakened checks and balances. The Japarov administration undertook an extensive government reorganization, and several ministries were reorganized in 2021, resulting in high turnover.  Freedom House and the Economist Intelligence Unit dropped their ratings of the Kyrgyz Republic’s democracy in 2021, citing the now-annulled October 2020 parliamentary elections and the subsequent concentration of power within the presidency.  

The security environment can be unpredictable in several parts of the country. In the days following the October 2020 tumult, local marauders looted and raided the offices and facilities of multiple foreign joint-venture mining enterprises.  The Kyrgyz-Tajik border is a flashpoint, although localized in the remote southwestern Batken region.  Fighting between the countries’ border guards broke out in April 2021 in Batken resulting in dozens of casualties and the forced temporary evacuation of thousands of Kyrgyz citizens.  Smaller skirmishes have continued to break out periodically along the border.  Water resources and the border demarcation remain disputed in these areas. 

Foreign-affiliated companies, primarily Chinese-owned and in the mining sector, have been subject to local protests, at times resulting in vandalism and violence. Local populations tend to view Chinese investment projects with more scrutiny, due to perceptions that these companies’ activities degrade the environment, such as water sources.   

In 2019, the majority Chinese company Zhong Ji Mining suspended operations at the Solton-Sary gold mine following violent clashes with hundreds of local residents who blamed the company for environmental degradation. The same year, the Kyrgyz government canceled a tender for the Naryn Free Economic Trade Zone, which had been awarded to a Chinese-Kyrgyz enterprise in response to protests by hundreds of local residents.

For background information on the political and economic environment of the country, please visit the Kyrgyzstan page on the U.S. Department of State Countries & Areas website.