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Visa for China

1. According to bilateral agreements, citizens of some countries (List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption between the P.R. China and Foreign Countries) holding appropriate passports may enter China without a visa. 

2. Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan holding ordinary passports may enter China without a visa through the ports of entry open to foreigners provided that they come to China for tourism, family visit, business or transit, and intend to stay in China for no more than 15 days. However, the following personnel of these three countries must apply for a visa in advance if:
(1) They are holders of ordinary passports, and come to China for tourism, family visit or business, and intend to stay more than 15 days;

(2) They are holders of ordinary passports, and come to China for study, employment, permanent residence or on a news reporting mission; and

(3) They are holders of Japanese diplomatic and service (official) passports (according to the bilateral agreements, the diplomatic and service passport holders of Singapore, Brunei can stay in China for no more than 30 days without a Chinese visa). 

3. Foreigners holding ordinary passports of the countries having diplomatic relations with China and on a tour to Hong Kong or Macao, and participating in group tours to the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) Delta Area for a stay of no more than 6 days organized by the travel services legally registered in Hong Kong or Macao do not need to apply for a visa. The Zhu Jiang Delta Area refers to the administrative area of the following cities: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, and Huizhou. For going on a tour to Shantou, the aforementioned group is required to stay within the administrative area of Shantou and leave China from there directly. 

4. Foreigners who have confirmed onward tickets and seats on international flights and directly transit through China and stay for no more than 24 hours within the airport boundaries do not need to apply for a transit visa. However, anyone desiring to go beyond the airport boundaries temporarily should obtain permission from the immigration authorities at the airport. 

5.Citizens of 51 countries with valid international travel documents and air tickets for a connecting flight with confirmed date of flight and seat for a third country (region) can apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption at ports of entry in Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport,Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport,Shenyang Taoxian International Airport,Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport,Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport,Guilin Liangjiang Airport,Kunming Changshui International Airport,Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Haerbin Taiping International Airport, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, and Tianjin Binhai International Airport.

6. Citizens holding ordinary passports of the following 21 countries and on a group tour (minimum of five persons) to Hainan Province for a stay of no longer than 15 days, organized by international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province, do not need to apply for a visa: Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Citizens holding ordinary passports of the following three countries and on a group tour (minimum of two persons) to Hainan Province for a stay of no more than 21 days, organized by international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province, do not need to apply for a visa: Republic of Korea, Germany and Russia. 

7. Foreigners holding a valid Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Card of the PRC or Residence Permit for Foreigners in the PRC may enter China without a visa.

8. Foreigners holding an APEC Business Travel Card may enter China without a visa.

Visa for Turkmenistan

How it works:  
All foreign nationals are required to have Visa to visit Turkmenistan. Tourist Visa can be issued based on Letter of Invitation (LOI) approved by the Migration Service of Turkmenistan on the basis of application submitted to them by a licensed tour operator in Turkmenistan.
Letter of application will be submitted by Nomad's Land not earlier than 2 months before the date of planned entry to Turkmenistan and not later than 20 days before arrival of our guests. 
The application result is usually known within 10-15 working days (about 2-3 weeks) after such application has been submitted. 
With printed and approved copy of your LOI, you can then receive your Visa at the nearest Embassy of Turkmenistan abroad; as well as at most land borders on arrival including the international Airport of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat city.
Where to apply for Turkmenistan Visa?
Travellers may apply for a visa at any Turkmenistan embassy or consulate abroad or obtain it directly at the Turkmen land border at Farab (Bukhara, Uzbekistan), Shavat (Khiva, Uzbekistan), Khojeyli (Nukus, Uzbekistan); Gaudan (Bajgiran/Mashhad, Iran), Bekdash (Aktau, Kazakhstan). Visa is not issued at the land borders of Serakhs (Iran), Serhetabat (Afghanistan) and Turkmenbashy (the Caspian Sea Port).

Ready to apply? Next steps…
In order to apply for your LOI, we will need:
•    Digital copy of color scan of your passport (Main page with personal information and Photo)
•    Digital copy of your Photo (sized 5x6), 
•    And filled application form (Sample will be provided)

We arrange Letter of Invitation (LOI) on basis of a tour booked with us. 
Together with your data, we obligated to attach information regarding your route, indicating places that you will visit throughout the tour, and exact dates and points of your entry/exit. 
It means that we have to customize your Turkmenistan itinerary first. You are always welcome to contact us for further information. We offer variety of high quality tours with relatively different costs, and will be happy provide you with all necessary informational support in short space of time.


Please note that immigration fee (14 USD per person, paid in USD only upon arrival on border) and cost of Visa itself (55 – 155 USD) Citizenship dependent (paid in USD only upon arrival on border or at nearest Embassy of Turkmenistan) will be charged extra!

Visa for Tajikistan

On June 1 2016 the new portal for issuance of electronic visas “e-Visa”, ( which enables foreign citizens willing to enter the country with tourist or business visas to complete the electronic application and receive the electronic visa without visiting consulate representatives of Tajikistan abroad, commences its operation.

The passport holders of the following nationalities (countries) are eligible to enter Tajikistan without visa.

  • Afghanistan- with Diplomatic passports up to 30 days
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan- for diplomatic, official and the ordinary passports up to 90 days
  • Belarus
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Moldova
  • Russian Federation
  • North of Korea - for diplomatic, service passports
  • South of Korea - for diplomatic, service passports up to 90 days
  • China- for diplomatic, official and service passports of common mission up to 30 days
  • Brunei-Darussalam- for diplomatic, service passports up to 14 days
  • Hungary- for diplomatic and service passports up to 90days
  • Romania- for diplomatic and service passports up to 90days
  • Pakistan- for diplomatic passports up to 90days
  • India- for diplomatic and service passports up to 30 days
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran- for diplomatic and service passports up to 3 months
  • Turkmenistan- for diplomatic passports up to 30 days
  • Ukraine - for diplomatic, official and the ordinary passports up to 3 months
  • Uzbekistan- for diplomatic passports up to 30 days

Tajikistan Visa Application requirements:

  • Letter of Invitation (LOI), also referred as Visa support letter;
  • Valid passport (be sure that you have 2 clear pages for visa and entry/exit stamps and passport should not expire rather than 6 months before expiration of visa);
  • Two completed application forms;
  • Passport-size colour photo (3,5 * 4,5);
  • Receipt on payment of state duty and consular fee;
  • Petition of the tourist organizations which are licensed to do tourist activities;
  • For those traveling to GBAO or Pamir region, it is required to submit a letter stating that the applicant is requesting a permit to enter the mentioned area.

Consular fee for urgent services is equal to 100% of the original price of visa.

Price of visas through e-visa portal : Tourist's visa fee is $50 - GBAO Permit : $20 

Important note: Tajik visas are not more delivered at airports.

Visa for Uzbekistan

Visa-Free Entry: Citizens of 90 countries, including the United Arab Emirates and certain individuals aged 55 and above, can enter Uzbekistan without a visa, with varying lengths of stay ranging from 10 days to one year, depending on their nationality.

Visa Application Requirements: To obtain a visa in Uzbekistan, travelers must provide documents such as their passport, identity photos, a visa support letter (if necessary), and pay consular fees. There are three methods to obtain a visa: electronic, through the embassy, or at Tashkent Airport.

Visa Fees: Visa fees vary depending on the method of application, length of stay, and the applicant's nationality. Costs can range from 20 to 200 USD.

Electronic Visa: Travelers from many countries can obtain an electronic visa by filling out an online form, paying the fees, and receiving an electronic visa within three days. The cost depends on the number of entries, ranging from 20 to 50 USD.

List of Visa-Free Countries: Citizens of several countries, including Azerbaijan, Germany, Canada, France, and many others, can enter Uzbekistan without a visa or via an electronic visa.

Embassy Visa: Travelers can obtain a visa in Uzbekistan through the embassy by obtaining visa support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan.

Transit Visa: Transit visas are required for certain nationalities, and Uzbekistan also offers visa-free transit entry for citizens of 35 countries for a maximum period of 5 days, with specific conditions.

Visa for Kyrgyzstan

To get information about last update, you can click here 

Applying for a visa

1. The citizens of the countries listed below intending to visit Kyrgyzstan (by air or by land) up to 60 days do not need to obtain entry visa to Kyrgyzstan:

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Bahrain
  4. Belgium
  5. Bosnia and Herzegovina (up to 90 days)
  6. Brunei-Darussalam
  7. Canada
  8. Croatia
  9. Czech Republic
  10. Denmark
  11. Estonia
  12. Finland
  13. France
  14. Germany
  15. Greece
  16. Hungary
  17. Iceland
  18. Ireland
  19. Italy
  20. Japan
  21. Kuwait
  22. Latvia
  23. Liechtenstein
  24. Lithuania
  25. Luxembourg
  26. Malta
  27. Monaco
  28. Netherlands
  29. New Zealand
  30. Norway
  31. Poland
  32. Portugal
  33. Qatar
  34. Saudi Arabia
  35. Singapore
  36. Slovakia
  37. Slovenia
  38. South Korea
  39. Spain
  40. Sweden
  41. Switzerland
  42. United Arab Emirates
  43. United Kingdom
  44. United States of America
  45. Vatican

The citizens of the countries listed above, traveling to Kyrgyzstan for the period more than 60 days are required to obtain the visa in any Embassy of Kyrgyzstan.


2. The citizens of the countries listed below can obtain the visa (for the period not more than 90 days) on the basis of the personal application in any Embassy of Kyrgyzstan or at Manas airport without an invitation letter:

  1. Albania
  2. Andorra
  3. Argentina
  4. Brazil
  5. Bulgaria
  6. Chile
  7. Cyprus
  8. Indonesia
  9. Israel
  10. Macedonia
  11. Montenegro
  12. Mexico
  13. Philippines
  14. Romania
  15. Sultanate of Oman
  16. San Marino
  17. Serbia
  18. Republic of South Africa
  19. Thailand
  20. Venezuela


3. The citizens of the countries listed below enjoying non-visa/partial visa regime

A. Citizens holding any type of passport of the following countries are exempt from visa requirement to enter Kyrgyzstan:

  1. Azerbaijan Republic
  2. Republic of Armenia
  3. Republic of Belorussia
  4. Georgia
  5. Republic of Kazakhstan
  6. Korean Democratic People’s Republic
  7. Republic of Cuba
  8. Malaysia (with official and tourist purpose up to one month)
  9. Republic of Moldova
  10. Mongolia (up to three months)
  11. Russian Federation
  12. Vietnam
  13. Republic of Tajikistan
  14. Turkey (up to one month)
  15. Ukraine (up to three months)
  16. Japan
  17. Republic of Uzbekistan (up to two months)


B. Citizens holding diplomatic and official passports of the following countries are exempted from visa (up to one month):

  1. Republic of Hungary
  2. People’s Republic of China
  3. Turkmenistan
  4. Republic of Uzbekistan (up to two months)
  5. Slovakia
  6. Republic of Korea
  7. Islamic Republic of Iran
  8. Islamic Republic of Pakistan


C. Citizens holding diplomatic passports of following countries are exempted from visa requirement to enter Kyrgyzstan:

  1. Republic of Austria
  2. Kingdom of Belgium
  3. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  4. Hellenic Republic
  5. Kingdom of Denmark
  6. Republic of Island
  7. Kingdom of Spain
  8. Italian Republic
  9. Canada
  10. Luxembourg
  11. Kingdom of Netherlands
  12. Kingdom of Norway
  13. Portugal Republic
  14. United States of America
  15. Federative Republic of Germany
  16. Finish Republic
  17. French Republic
  18. Swiss Confederation
  19. Kingdom of Sweden
  20. Chile


4. For longer stays or for all other citizens of the countries not listed above are required to obtain the visa and should present additional documents through :

The «Electronic visa of the Kyrgyz Republic» system starts on September 1st, 2017

Information on the «Electronic visa» system of the Kyrgyz Republic

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic informs about the implementation from September 1st2017 of the «Electronic visa of the Kyrgyz Republic» system.

The «Electronic visa» system allows citizens of all foreign countries to obtain entry-exit tourist or business visasof the Kyrgyz Republic for up to 90 days via the Internet, without the need to address to diplomatic missions or consular offices of the Kyrgyz Republic abroad, as well as to visa points at the international border crossing points across the state border of the country.

Legal entities of the Kyrgyz Republic can also invite foreign citizens (both individually and as part of tourist groups) and apply for short-term business or tourist electronic visas.

Short-term business and tourist visas of the Kyrgyz Republic are issued for the period up to 90 days without the right to extend their validity period on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic.

To obtain a visa in electronic format, a foreign citizen or an inviting organization need to fill out a special form on the “” Internet site, filling in contact details and information about the planned trip to Kyrgyzstan. You will also need to upload a photo and an image of a passport (travel document) of a foreign citizen. Payment of consular fees is made through “Visa” and “MasterCard” bank payment cards. The processing period of an electronic visa application is three working days.

A notification of the issuance or refusal to issue an electronic visa is sent to an e-mail specified in the application. When receiving a visa in electronic format, the system provides a link to the site of the «Electronic visa», where it is possible to print out an electronic visa with a special QR code, read by using mobile applications on smartphones.

Foreign citizens who have received a visa in the Electronic visa system need to enter and leave Kyrgyzstan through checkpoints across the State border of the Kyrgyz Republic located at the international airport «Manas» in Bishkek, Osh international airport «Osh», and at the border crossing point «Ak-Jol» on the border with the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Citizens of foreign countries who have received visas in electronic format cross the state border of the Kyrgyz Republic through the aforementioned checkpoints without presenting a visa sticker (sticker) in the travel document. If necessary, it is possible to check the availability of an electronic visa, its category, expiration date and multiplicity, by scanning a special QR code on a printed version of an electronic visa.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic draws attention to the fact that foreign citizens intending to visit Kyrgyzstan are able to obtain visas both in electronic format via the Electronic visa system and in the standard version by addressing to diplomatic missions or consular offices of the Kyrgyz Republic abroad or Visa points at international checkpoints across the State border of Kyrgyzstan.


Issuance of visas is carried out by:

  • diplomatic missions and consular offices of the Kyrgyz Republic abroad;
  • 24 hour working visa department at the international airport «Manas» in Bishkek.


Extension of visa on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic is carried out by:

  1. Department of Consular Service of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic for the following categories of visas: diplomatic, official, investment, business (B2), work (W2), tourist.
    The address: 10″a» Togolok Moldo str., Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. ph. 312660706, 312663270.
  2. Department of Registration of the Population of the State Registration Service (SRS) under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and its territorial sections for the following categories of visas: business (В1), study, work (W1), religious, private, tourist.
    The address of the main office: 58 Kiev str., Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, ph. 312662329, 312666120.


Documents replacing visas:

  • residence permit of the foreign citizen residing in the Kyrgyz Republic;
  • certificate of stateless person issued by SRS of the Kyrgyz Republic.


The grounds for issuance of a visa are:

  • written appeal of the government bodies of the Kyrgyz Republic, of diplomatic missions and consular service bodies of foreign states, international organizations accredited in the Kyrgyz Republic;
  • permit of the authorized body for foreign citizens arriving for business matters and for permanent residence
  • written appeal of a legal person for a visa support or extension of a visa of the Kyrgyz Republic for foreigners arriving for business purposes;
  • personal appeal of foreign nationals of 56 countries according to the list approved by the Decree of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic № 87 dated 07.02.2009.
  • work permit authorized by the agency for regulation of employment of foreign nationals residing on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic (for extending the work visa).


Diplomatic visa is issued to:

  1. diplomatic agents of foreign diplomatic missions and consular officials of foreign consulates accredited in the Kyrgyz Republic , as well as members of their families ;
  2. holders of diplomatic passports traveling to the Kyrgyz Republic for official purposes;
  3. holders of passports of international organizations having the status equated to diplomatic agents;
  4. staff of international organizations accredited in the Kyrgyz Republic and members of their families;
  5. heads of foreign states , governments, and members of their families;
  6. members of parliaments  governments of foreign states and their families — holders of diplomatic passports , as well as members of official foreign delegations and accompanying persons — holders of diplomatic passports;
  7. diplomatic couriers bringing diplomatic mails — holders of diplomatic passports, in the presence of express sheet.

Service visa is issued to:

  • holders of passports of international organizations not having the status equated to diplomatic agents , as well as holders of national passports working for international organizations;
  • holders of official passports traveling to the Kyrgyz Republic for official purposes;
  • members of official foreign delegations and accompanying persons;
  • members of the administrative , technical and service staff of diplomatic missions and international organizations , consular employees , members of the service staff of consular institutions of foreign states accredited in the Kyrgyz Republic and their families;

Investment visa is issued to foreign nationals on the basis of confirmation of  status of the investor by the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Business visa has 2 types :

  1. Type B1 visa is extended by SRS bodies up to 3 months for foreigners arriving to negotiate , to enter into contracts , to render an advisory or audit services; to  participate in conferences, workshops , forums, exhibitions , concerts, cultural, scientific, sport and other events;  to implement international road transport;
  2. Type B2 visa extended by the  Department of Consular Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  of the Kyrgyz Republic for up to 1 year , issued to employees of public, non-profit and international organizations , to individuals arriving in the framework of cooperation with international organizations or intergovernmental treaties and agreements;

Work visa is issued in consultation with relevant government agencies in accordance with the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic and has two types:

  1. Visa type W1 is extended by the Department of Consular Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for citizens of 56 foreign countries, approved by the Government Decree of the Kyrgyz Republic № 87 dated 07.02.2009.
  2. Visa type W2 is extended by SRS bodies for foreign nationals that are not listed in the Government Decree.

Study visa is issued on the basis of the visa support by the Department of Consular Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by foreign institutions of the Kyrgyz Republic and in the airport «Manas» to foreign citizens traveling to the Kyrgyz Republic for the purpose of studying in the educational institutions of the Kyrgyz Republic that are registered in the judicial bodies in the Ministry of Education of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Tourist visas are issued to foreign nationals traveling to the Kyrgyz Republic for the purpose of tourism. Tourist visas can be single entry and multiple entry for up to 3 months.

Also there is a group visa that can be issued in occasion of organized trips to the Kyrgyz Republic for tourist groups. Prerequisite for the use of group visa is the simultaneous crossing of the state border entering and exiting the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic and traveling on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic in group.

Prices : 1 month visa single entry 70$ ; 1 month entry multiple entries 100$

Private visas are issued by SRS and extended by SRS to foreign nationals entering the Kyrgyz Republic for private purposes of different kind.

Religious visas are issued on the basis of the visa support by the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Committee on Religion. Visa can be extended by SRS bodies up to 6 months no more than 3 times to the foreign nationals arriving through cooperation with religious organizations, with the consent of the authorized body of Religious Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Transit visas are issued for a possibility to travel through the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic for foreign nationals who do not have the right to visa-free transit, if they have travel documents, visa or other grounds entitling to enter a third country.

There is also an exit visa issued to foreign nationals that have lost their passports or other identity documents on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic that provide a right to cross the state border and to individuals on which decisions  has been made by the court to expel the foreign citizen from the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Visas of this type are issued only to exit the country.

Instructions for tourists in Kyrgyzstan

Documents and police controls:

Kyrgyz law requires that everyone be in possession of their documents (passport, visa or copy thereof). It is very rare to be checked in villages. In the event of illegal treatment by police officials, you must call your embassy or consulate. Never give your documents to the police representative, show them only. A police officer must be in uniform to control you. You can require an interpreter and a lawyer if you wish.

Respect for cultures and traditions:

As in all Asian countries, there are certain rules to follow, which are generally similar from one country to another. In Kyrgyzstan, more than 80 ethnic groups live side by side, some of them for several centuries. The Kyrgyz ethnic group is the largest, and we will give you some travel tips.

In Kyrgyzstan, the most important and respected character is given to the Ak-Sakal (translates as White beard), is the title given to the ancestors. Do not refuse the invitation of an Ak-Sakal to return to his yurt, it is an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about the life of nomads. The oldest people are seated in front of the front door of the yurt or a house. There will be tea, jam and butter on the table.

At the beginning or at the end of a meal, you put your hands in front of your face "Omin" (Islamic ritual of blessing of food). The Kyrgyz will be very proud to show his neighbors that you are his guest. You can give small gifts to children, but in general, it is the guest who must leave with a gift.

History of Kazakhstan

Kazakh Khanate Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age: the region's climate and terrain are best suited for nomads practicing pastoralism. Archaeologists believe that humans first domesticated the horse in the region's vast steppes.

Central Asia was originally inhabited by Indo-Iranians. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians.

The Cumans entered the steppes of modern day Kazakhstan around the early 11th century, where they later joined with the Kipchaks and established the vast Cuman-Kipchak confederation. While ancient cities Taraz (Aulie-Ata) and Hazrat-e Turkestan had long served as important way-stations along the Silk Road connecting East and West, real political consolidation only began with the Mongol invasion of the early 13th century. Under the Mongol Empire, administrative districts were established, and these eventually came under the rule of the emergent Kazakh Khanate (Kazakhstan).

Throughout this period, traditionally nomadic life and a livestock-based economy continued to dominate the steppe. In the 15th century, a distinct Kazakh identity began to emerge among the Turkic tribes, a process which was consolidated by the mid-16th century with the appearance of the Kazakh language, culture, and economy.

Nevertheless, the region was the focus of ever-increasing disputes between the native Kazakh emirs and the neighbouring Persian-speaking peoples to the south. At its height the Khanate would rule parts of Central Asia and control the land previously known as Cumania. The Kazakhs nomads would raid people of Russian territory for slaves until the Russian conquest of Kazakhstan. From the sixteenth through the early nineteenth century, the most powerful nomadic peoples were the Kazakhs and the Oirats.

By the early 17th century, the Kazakh Khanate was struggling with the impact of tribal rivalries, which had effectively divided the population into the Great, Middle and Little (or Small) hordes (jüz). Political disunion, tribal rivalries, and the diminishing importance of overland trade routes between East and West weakened the Kazakh Khanate. Khiva Khanate used this opportunity and annexed Mangyshlak Peninsula. Uzbek rule there lasted two centuries until the Russian arrival.

During the 17th century, Kazakhs fought Oirats, a federation of western Mongol tribes, including Dzungars. The beginning of the 18th century marked the zenith of the Kazakh Khanate. During this period the Little Horde participated in the 1723–1730 war against the Dzungars, following their "Great Disaster" invasion of Kazakh territories. Under the leadership of Abul Khair Khan, the Kazakhs won major victories over the Dzungar at the Bulanty River in 1726, and at the Battle of Anrakay in 1729. Ablai Khan participated in the most significant battles against the Dzungars from the 1720s to the 1750s, for which he was declared a "batyr" ("hero") by the people. Kazakhs were also victims of constant raids carried out by the Volga Kalmyks. Kokand Khanate used weakness of Kazakh jüzs after Dzungar and Kalmyk raids and conquered present Southeastern Kazakhstan including Almaty, formal capital at first quarter of 19th century. Also, Emirate of Bukhara ruled Chimkent before Russian arrival.

Kazakhstan under Russian Empire Rule
In the 19th century, the Russian Empire began to expand into Central Asia. The "Great Game" period is generally regarded as running from approximately 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. The tsars effectively ruled over most of the territory belonging to what is now the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Russian Empire introduced a system of administration and built military garrisons and barracks in its effort to establish a presence in Central Asia in the so-called "Great Game" between itself and the British Empire. The first Russian outpost, Orsk, was built in 1735. Russia enforced the Russian language in all schools and governmental organizations. Russian efforts to impose its system aroused the resentment by the Kazakh people, and by the 1860s, most Kazakhs resisted Russia's annexation largely because of the influence it wrought upon the traditional nomadic lifestyle and livestock-based economy, and the associated hunger that was rapidly wiping out some Kazakh tribes. The Kazakh national movement, which began in the late 19th century, sought to preserve the native language and identity by resisting the attempts of the Russian Empire to assimilate and stifle them.

From the 1890s onwards, ever-larger numbers of settlers from the Russian Empire began colonizing the territory of present-day Kazakhstan, in particular the province of Semirechye. The number of settlers rose still further once the Trans-Aral Railway from Orenburg to Tashkent was completed in 1906, and the movement was overseen and encouraged by a specially created Migration Department (Переселенческое Управление) in St. Petersburg. During the 19th century about 400,000 Russians immigrated to Kazakhstan, and about one million Slavs, Germans, Jews, and others immigrated to the region during the first third of the 20th century. Vasile Balabanov was the administrator responsible for the resettlement during much of this time.

The competition for land and water that ensued between the Kazakhs and the newcomers caused great resentment against colonial rule during the final years of Tsarist Russia, with the most serious uprising, the Central Asian Revolt, occurring in 1916. The Kazakhs attacked Russian and Cossack settlers and military garrisons. The revolt resulted in a series of clashes and in brutal massacres committed by both sides. Both sides resisted the communist government until late 1919.

Kazakhstan under Soviet rule
Although there was a brief period of autonomy (Alash Autonomy) during the tumultuous period following the collapse of the Russian Empire the Kazakhs eventually succumbed to Soviet rule. In 1920, the area of present-day Kazakhstan became an autonomous republic within the Soviet Union.

Soviet repression of the traditional elite, along with forced collectivization in the late 1920s–1930s, brought mass hunger and led to unrest (see also: Famine in Kazakhstan of 1932–33). The Kazakh population declined by 38% due to starvation and mass emigration. Estimates today suggest that the population of Kazakhstan would be closer to 28-35 million if there had been no starvation or migration of Kazakhs. During the 1930s, many renowned Kazakh writers, thinkers, poets, politicians and historians were killed on Stalin's orders, both as part of the repression and as a methodical pattern of suppressing Kazakh identity and culture. Soviet rule took hold, and a Communist apparatus steadily worked to fully integrate Kazakhstan into the Soviet system. In 1936 Kazakhstan became a Soviet republic. Kazakhstan experienced population inflows of millions exiled from other parts of the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s; many of the deportation victims were deported to Siberia or Kazakhstan merely due to their ethnic heritage or beliefs. For example, after the German invasion in June 1941, approximately 400,000 Volga Germans were transported from Ukraine to Kazakhstan.

Deportees were interned in some of the biggest Soviet labor camps, including ALZHIR camp outside Astana, which was reserved for the wives of men considered "enemies of the people". The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic contributed five national divisions to the Soviet Union's World War II effort. In 1947, two years after the end of the war, the Semipalatinsk Test Site, the USSR's main nuclear weapon test site, was founded near the city of Semey.

World War II led to an increase in industrialisation and mineral extraction in support of the war effort. At the time of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's death, however, Kazakhstan still had an overwhelmingly agriculturally based economy. In 1953, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev initiated the ambitious "Virgin Lands" program to turn the traditional pasture lands of Kazakhstan into a major grain-producing region for the Soviet Union. The Virgin Lands policy brought mixed results. However, along with later modernizations under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, it accelerated the development of the agricultural sector, which remains the source of livelihood for a large percentage of Kazakhstan's population. By 1959, Kazakhs made up 30% of the population. Ethnic Russians accounted for 43%.

Growing tensions within Soviet society led to a demand for political and economic reforms, which came to a head in the 1980s. A factor that contributed to this immensely was Lavrentii Beria's decision to test a nuclear bomb on the territory of Kazakh SSR in Semey in 1949. This had a catastrophic ecological and biological consequences that were felt generations later, and Kazakh anger toward the Soviet system escalated.

In December 1986, mass demonstrations by young ethnic Kazakhs, later called Jeltoqsan riot, took place in Almaty to protest the replacement of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR Dinmukhamed Konayev with Gennady Kolbin from the Russian SFSR. Governmental troops suppressed the unrest, several people were killed and many demonstrators were jailed. In the waning days of Soviet rule, discontent continued to grow and found expression under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost.

On 16 December 1991, Kazakhstan became the last Soviet republic to declare independence. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became the country's first President, a position he has retained for more than two decades.

Caught up in the groundswell of Soviet republics seeking greater autonomy, Kazakhstan declared its sovereignty as a republic within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in October 1990. Following the August 1991 aborted coup attempt in Moscow and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan declared independence on 16 December 1991.

The capital was moved in 1998 from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, to Astana. (Wikipedia)

History of Kyrgyzstan

The earliest ancestors of the Kirghiz people, who are believed to be of mixed Mongol and Kipchak descent, probably settled until the 10th century around what is now the Tuva region of the Russian Federation. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the Kyrgyz migrated south. They did not emerge as a distinct ethnic group until the 15th century. Various Turkic peoples ruled them until 1685, when they came under the control of the Kalmyks (Oirats, Dzungars). Islam is the predominant religion in the region, and most of the Kyrgyz are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school.

In the early 19th century, the southern territory of today's Kyrgyzstan came under the control of the Khanate of Kokand, and the territory was formally incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876. The Russian takeover instigated numerous revolts against tsarist authority, and many of the Kyrgyz opted to move to the Pamirs and Afghanistan. In addition, the suppression of the 1916 rebellion in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz to migrate to China.

Soviet power was initially established in the region in 1919, and the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast was created within the Russian SFSR (the term Kara-Kirghiz was used until the mid-1920s by the Russians to distinguish them from the Kazakhs, who were also referred to as Kirghiz). On December 5, 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) was established as a full Union Republic of the USSR.

During the 1920s, Kyrgyzstan developed considerably in cultural, educational, and social life. Literacy was greatly improved, and a standard literary language was introduced. Economic and social development also was notable. Many aspects of the Kyrgyz national culture were retained despite the suppression of nationalist activity under Stalin, and, therefore, tensions with the all-Union authorities were constant.

The early years of glasnost had little effect on the political climate in Kyrgyzstan. However, the Republic's press was permitted to adopt a more liberal stance and to establish a new publication, Literaturny Kirghizstan, by the Union of Writers. Unofficial political groups were forbidden, but several groups that emerged in 1989 to deal with the acute housing crisis were permitted to function.

In June 1990, ethnic tensions between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz surfaced in the Osh Oblast, where Uzbeks form a majority of the population. Violent confrontations ensued, and a state of emergency and curfew were introduced. Order was not restored until August.

The early 1990s brought measurable change to Kyrgyzstan. By then, the Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement (KDM) had developed into a significant political force with support in Parliament. In an upset victory, Askar Akayev, the liberal President of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, was elected to the Presidency in October 1990. The following January, Akayev introduced new government structures and appointed a new government comprised mainly of younger, reform-oriented politicians.

In December 1990 the Supreme Soviet voted to change the republic's name to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. (In 1993, it became the Kyrgyz Republic.) In February 1991, the name of the capital, Frunze, was changed back to its prerevolutionary name of Bishkek. The Kyrgyz language replaced Russian as the official language in September 1991. (Kyrgyz is a member of the Southern Turkic group of languages and was written in the Arabic alphabet until the 20th century. Latin script was introduced and adopted in 1928, and was subsequently replaced by Cyrillic in 1941.) Despite these aesthetic moves toward independence, economic realities seemed to work against secession from the U.S.S.R. In a referendum on the preservation of the U.S.S.R. in March 1991, 88.7% of the voters approved the proposal to retain the U.S.S.R. as a "renewed federation."

On August 19, 1991, when the State Emergency Committee assumed power in Moscow, there was an attempt to depose Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. After the coup had collapsed the following week, Akayev and Vice President German Kuznetsov announced their resignations from the Communist Party Soviet Union (CPSU), and the entire bureau and secretariat resigned. This was followed by the Supreme Soviet vote declaring independence from the USSR on August 31, 1991.

In October 1991, Akayev ran unopposed and was elected president of the new independent Republic by direct ballot, receiving 95% of the votes cast. Together with the representatives of seven other Republics that same month, he signed the Treaty of the New Economic Community. Finally, on December 21, 1991, Kyrgyzstan joined with the other four Central Asian Republics to formally enter the new Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1992, Kyrgyzstan joined the UN and the CSCE.

Current concerns in Kyrgyzstan include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and political freedoms, inter-ethnic relations, and terrorism.

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