Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan became Republics of the former Soviet Union in the 1920s. During the Soviet era multi-ethnic issues were kept under control through territorial autonomy. Moreover, natural resources were shared between the Republics. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the three Republics’ newly found independence, the old borders became international boundaries of three sovereign countries. Resources thus became a commodity.


Unequal distribution of natural resources and consequent disputes over these, water in particular, land claims, and disagreement over demarcation of the borders, represent potential reason for conflict between Kyrgyzstan and its neighbouring countries, Uzbekistan above all.


Instability in Kyrgyzstan, which has affected the political and economic progress in the country, poses a risk for a regional war. Efforts to prevent an escalation of the ethnic tensions between Kyrgyz and Uzbek are centred in the multi-ethnic Southern provinces. The Southern region with the provinces of Osh, Batken and Jalalabad seem to be the most hit by disputes and consequent ethnic clashes since the 1990s.



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