Krygyzstan as an economic nation to Russia
by Jake Chyun, April 2001
The people, due to their growing distaste of the Mongolians accepted the beginning of the Russian reign on Kyrgyzstan. However their welcome was short lived as the economic policy regarding Kyrgyzstan were severe. Since the First World War, the Russians heavily taxed the Kyrgyzstan people for their land and natural resources. The people soon retaliated with demonstrations, riots and even evacuation to China. During the Reign of Czar, Kyrgyzstan became essentially a bread giver to Russia.
The Russians set up mines and farms to collect resources such as metal ores, food, and cotton. In this sense the Russian government expanded the weak Kyrgyzstan economy, by creating jobs and centralizing the work force. Another important factor is that Kyrgyzstan became open to immigrants. New workers from Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan soon arrived; this could be a possible explanation for the diversity in Kyrgyzstan.
The Kyrgyzstan people with their nomadic backgrounds were not fond of this new system. Before the Russian came to Kyrgyzstan, the people raised cattle through the vast plains, not settling for a prolonged period of time. However, with the new introduction to the Russian economic system, they were almost forced out of their previous lifestyles often giving up their cattle, and lands to conform to the society.
The First World War was the turning point for the Kyrgyzstan people. The Russians were losing the war, and they had no option but to start exploiting all the resources that had. There are three detrimental implementations to Kyrgyzstan. First the Russians raised taxes that the people already had a hard time paying. Secondly, many of the Kyrgyzstan men were drafted for the army. And thirdly, a large portion of all-agricultural products was sent to the army. The most interesting thing about these implementations is that they are all interconnected. Farms need men to operate, agricultural products are related to the output of farms, and selling off these agricultural products generates revenue. Thus, we can see the amplification of harm in this order; since men were sent to the army, there were not many who could look after the farms. With the lack of men, the farm produced very little output and hence low revenue.
The government taxed both the revenue and agricultural output. Thus, leading very little for the people in terms of finances and food. These reasons brought great distaste for the Russians; especially since the Kyrgyzstan people were beginning to starve and suffering from poverty. In 1916 an inevitable revolt occurred creating an independent state. The Russians shared the distaste for the Russian Czar as well, and a new Government led by Lenin soon evolved in Russia. The Kyrgyzstan people welcomed this new movement, as they believed it to be the root to their absolute freedom and the Bolsheviks were welcomed in the subsequence years, until Kyrgyzstan become officially the; Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936.
A new economic system was implanted to the society, promising economic growth, and prosperity and among all wealth for the people. It appeared to the Kyrgyzstan people that the command economy was their road to success. Many ideology from the communist state offered many great promises. Among which was the equality of all people. The Kyrgyzstan people appeared to be true believers in this new government, perhaps thinking that the new government promised hope of prosperity the people quietly obeyed under new Russian rule.
When Stalin rose to power, it became apparent that Kyrgyzstan could no longer continue their traditional nomadic lifestyles. There were two major implementations, which crippled their way of life. Firstly, the communist party confiscated all private property, setting up the communist party to govern the state. Everything that once used to be “owned” by an individual was now proclaimed to be a public good. Secondly, mines were introduced to excavate gold and other minerals. It is my assumption that hilly landscape tends to produce the most abundance in natural resources, especially gold.
The Russian policies did have some positive aspects to Kyrgyzstan. It Russians seemingly brought improved agricultural techniques, jobs from new economic sectors and a slight growth in the overall economic output. One important point is that, although agriculture is the largest factor in Kyrgyzstan, the new mining industries, and manufacturing industries are, even today, a significant source of their GNP. However, the people were very unhappy. Under communism everyone is equal and, since all work on the government’s land, all are paid equal. The people became highly dissatisfied with this form of collectivity and industrialization, many workers began to retaliate by slaughtering one’s cattle, or even leaving Kyrgyzstan to places such as China to take refuge.