Central Asia Program Series Publications Voices from Central Asia

Debating Internal Migrations in Kyrgyzstan

Voices From Central Asia No. 9, February 2013

By Aida Aaly Alymbaeva (Max Plank Institute for Social Anthropology), Keneshbek Almakuchukov (Bishkek Academy of Finance and Eco-nomics), Emil Nasritdinov, Ruslan Rakhimov, and Bermet Zhu-makadyr kyzy (American University of Central Asia)

The so-called great migration in Kyrgyzstan began in 1989 just before the collapse of the Soviet Union. With controls on mobility largely lifted as a result of perestroika, internal migration flowed from remote and mountainous areas, especially in the north, to the valleys and towns. The period 1990–94 saw the relocation of entire families—for example, from settlements in the Chui Valley such as Kemin to the capital Bishkek, or from the Naryn region to Kemin. The second stage of internal migration, from 1994 to 1999, saw contin-uing albeit decreased movements between regions and increased relocation from rural to urban areas. Today four main directions persist: from rural to urban areas, from remote moun-tainous areas to valleys, from the periphery to administrative and economic centers, and more generally from the south to the north. Of course, these vectors are intertwined and cannot be considered separately.

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