Cholpon Chotaeva, D.Sc. (Hist.), Professor, Head of the Anthropology Program, American University in Central Asia (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)


The author analyzes the ethnocultural and psychological factors contributing to the continued ethnic tension in Kyrgyzstan in the post-conflict period. These factors figured prominently in the flare-ups of ethnic tension and continued ethnic strain. Dr. Chotaeva proceeds from the results of an ethnosociological survey carried out in five regions of Kyrgyzstan.

The ethnocultural factors are related to various aspects of ethnic identitythe extent to which the family and close relatives affect ethnic self-identity and the degree to which the survey respondents were familiar with their ethnic history and follow ethnic traditions and customs in everyday life. The psychological factors were determined by the degree of trust the members of one ethnic group feel toward another.

The sociological survey also included questions designed to identify the respondents civic identity, which directly depends on the degree to which the republics ethnic groups are integrated and which, on the other hand, is slowed down by ethnic and regional specifics. The continued ethnic tension has intensified an awareness of ethnic identity; however the sociological survey demonstrated that a common civic identity still prevails over ethnic identity. The absolute majority of the respondents consider themselves to be citizens of Kyrgyzstan and are not contemplating emigration.

Keywords: Kyrgyzstan, ethnic tension, ethnic relations, ethnic situation, ethnocultural factors, psychological factors, common civic identity, ethnosociological survey.


According to the 2009 population census, Kyrgyz constituted 71% of the countrys population; Uzbeks 14.3%; Russians 7.8%; and people of other nationalities 7%. Kyrgyz live throughout the republic and in its capital, Bishkek; Uzbeks are concentrated mainly in the south: the Osh, Jalalabad, and Batken regions; while Russians live mainly in the north: the Chu and Issyk Kul regions and in Bishkek. There are other fairly large ethnic groups: Dungans (1.1%); Uighurs (0.9%); Tajiks (0.9%); Turks (0.7%); Kazakhs (0.6%); Tatars (0.6%); Ukrainians (0.4%); Koreans (0.3%); Azeris (0.3%); Kurds (0.3%); and Germans (0.2%).

Negative social, economic, political, cultural, psychological, and other factors have done nothing to improve ethnic relations in Kyrgyzstan. This holds true for both the end of..

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