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Research Report

Small Arms in Kyrgyzstan: Post-revolutionary Proliferation

S. Neil MacFarlane
Stina Torjesen
Copyright Date: Mar. 1, 2007
Published by: Small Arms Survey
Pages: 119

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. i-vii)
  2. (pp. viii-ix)
  3. (pp. x-xii)
  4. (pp. xiii-xiii)
  5. (pp. xiv-xv)
  6. (pp. xviii-xx)
  7. (pp. 1-9)

    This is a reissue of the Small Arms Survey Occasional Paper No. 12, Kyrgyzstan: A Small Arms Anomaly in Central Asia? (MacFarlane and Torjesen, 2004), which was published in February 2004. Kyrgyzstan has since been the scene of major political change. The ousting of President Askar Akaev in March 2005 changed the political configurations in the country—and also brought about substantial alterations in the security situation, including enhanced demand for and use of small arms. In light of these increasing concerns over the small arms situation, a reissue of the 2004 report is timely. It is complemented by a...

  8. (pp. 10-24)

    This section provides statistical information and associated commentary as background for the more specific discussion of small arms that follows. In addition, from the perspective of conflict prevention, the data provides a basis for a preliminary judgement on the durability of political stability in Kyrgyzstan. As will be seen, the republic displays many of the root causes generally considered to favour internal conflict.

    The Kyrgyz Republic is slightly smaller than the United Kingdom, covering some 199,900 square kilometres. More than 90 per cent is mountainous terrain, of which 12.5 per cent is arable. According to the national census of March...

  9. (pp. 25-33)

    There are three main categories of legal arms possession in Kyrgyzstan: military and law enforcement; registered members of the Union of Societies of Hunters and Fishermen in the Kyrgyz Republic;39 and ‘legal persons with special authorized tasks’ (Kyrgyzstan, 1999). The latter category only represents a marginal percentage of overall firearms possession.40 It includes representatives of state and private enterprises with a need for protection (i.e. security of property, money transportation, and protection of nature and natural resources) (Kyrgyzstan, 1999, para. 4).41 The army has 10,900 active personnel (IISS, 2002). Assuming that the standard for calculating the number of firearms in...

  10. (pp. 34-40)

    There have been three main categories of arms flows through Central Asia. The first was the retreat of Soviet forces with their equipment from Afghanistan in 1989 and subsequent supplies of firearms from the Soviet Union to its Afghan allies. The second flow was the arming of different factions in the Tajik civil war from 1992 to 1997. These weapons came mainly from the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. The third flow pertains to the intensification of arms shipments to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan following the attacks in the United States of 11 September 2001. In this context,...

  11. (pp. 41-44)

    In order to assess key issues such as availability, demand, possession, and cultural perceptions regarding firearm use, a household survey involving a total of 236 respondents was conducted in late summer 2003. As noted in the introduction, weapons are a sensitive issue in Kyrgyzstan, so that respondents may have been cautious in their answers. Most of the questions were therefore indirect. For example, interviewers did not ask if the respondent owned a firearm, but whether the person knew of firearms in the neighbourhood. Nevertheless, respondents could still have played down the availability of firearms in their neighbourhood for fear of...

  12. (pp. 45-50)

    The Kyrgyz government has retained a strict regulatory system for small arms. The key provisions are found in the Law on Arms of June 1999 (Kyrgyzstan, 1999). Most of the elements in the legal framework mirror Soviet legislation. The Law on Arms divides weapon types into three categories: battle arms, civil arms, and service arms. Civil arms are only given to citizens over 20 years old and are subdivided into four groups: arms for self-defence, gas pistols, sport arms, and hunting arms (Kyrgyzstan, 1999, paras. 2–7). Citizens are barred from keeping firearms if they: do not have appropriate mental...

  13. (pp. 51-54)

    The introduction notes the common belief that Central Asia as a whole is awash with arms. In the discussion of the context of issues related to small arms and light weapons in Kyrgyzstan, it was suggested that many of the factors that frequently contribute to small arms problems were evident in the region: economic decay; weak and illegitimate government; fragile law enforcement structures; rampant corruption; regional inequities; and substantial social frustration, including an important component of ethnic tension. Despite the serious economic, social, and political challenges facing Kyrgyzstan, however, small arms are not a crucial human security issue in that...

  14. (pp. 55-65)

    Recent figures (2004–06) for export and import flows of small arms and light weapons items are given in the relevant tables in Appendix 1 (Tables 12A–T). The figures for 1993–2004 from the 2004 study are also provided in Tables 12A– H, alongside figures for the period 2004–06 (wherever available) to allow for comparisons.

    The major change is that export volumes of small arms ammunition produced in Kyrgyzstan have dropped considerably since 1996. While in that year the country exported ammunition worth USD 4,543,500, in 2004 this amount fell to USD 281,909 (see Appendix 1, Table 12A)....

  15. (pp. 89-95)
  16. (pp. 96-99)