August 31 – Independence Day in Kyrgyzstan

Posted on August 31, 2014

Another “-stan” nation that used to be part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Kyrgyzstan is landlocked and mountainous and politically unstable.

Like most of the nations that became independent when the USSR broke apart, Kyrgyzstan declared its independence in 1991. Since then there have been ethnic and political party conflicts, two different “colored revolutions,” and general unrest.

You may be wondering, what's a ”colored revolution?”

These are widespread movements that have used nonviolent resistance such as demonstrations and strikes to protest authoritarian and corrupt governments. Students tend to big in these protest movements. The reason that they are called “colored” is because each revolution adopted a flower or color as its symbol. From the Yellow Revolution in the Philippines in 1986 to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 Lotus Revolution in Egypt in 2011, there have been many of these movements worldwide.

Kyrgyzstan's colored revolution is called the Tulip Revolution, or sometimes the Pink Revolution. It rose up in response to an unfair election in 2005, and unfortunately it was more violent than many colored revolutions. It suffered from less communication and coordination, with students in one area adopting the color pink as a symbol and students in another area adopting yellow.

Still, the movement did succeed in forcing the president to resign, and a new government was formed. However, the capital was looted during the demonstrations, and the new government fell prey to conflicts between various factions and, probably, a connection to organized crime.

There were more protests in 2010, and another president eventually left his job (and the country). Unfortunately, the transitional government was not able to control the violent clashes occurring around the country, and the nation seems to be hanging onto its status as a parliamentary republic by a thread.


Horse riding is important in Kyrgyz culture. It is said that Zyrgyz people are born on a horse, and an ancient proverb maintains that horses are the “wings of the Kyrgyz.”

One reason that the horse is so important is that the traditional Kyrgyz life is nomadic, and people go from place to place with their herds and their horses and their yurts.

The national sports of Kyrgyzstan reflect the importance of horses in that culture. In one sport, teams of horse riders wrestle for possession of the headless carcass of a goat; in another, riders try to shoot at and break a thread, dropping a metal jumby to the ground, as they gallop by. In one sport a man chases a girl to win a kiss, and in another riders try to pick up a coin on the ground while at full gallop.

Tourists often take treks across the
beautiful Kyrgyz landscapes on horseback.

Also on this date:

  Independence Day in Trinidad and Tobago

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