Compliments of the University of Texas library:
formerly known as Kyrgyzstan, achieved independence on 31 August 1991 after 127 years of Russian domination. Askar Akaev, who became president shortly before the end of the old Soviet system, was re-elected as president following independence and has stayed on ever since. He is rumored to be thinking about another term, despite the current constitutional two-term limit.

is a remarkably diverse country, at least to judge by the capital of Bishkek. Here you will find ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese, Koreans, Germans, and native Kyrgyz. The atmosphere is relaxed, and although I heard a lot about police taking bribes (they only make something like $10 US per month at the current exchange rate), I didn't sense a strong police presence.

calls itself "The Switzerland of Asia." Although their tourism industry needs a lot of assistance and probably a few tips, there's no contesting the claim. I could see the towering snow-capped mountains right from my hotel winedow, looking south.