Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet socialist republic in Central Asia, independent since 1991. A landlocked country, it borders China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The capital is Biškek. The population is approximately 6.6 million. The country, which receives its name from the Kyrgyz people, was in ancient times a territory governed by the Scythian people. Passing under the sovereignty of the numerous imperial rulers in the region until Mongol dominance, and then under the control of the khanates that alternated in the area, it was also one of the territories involved in the passage of caravans along the Silk Road. In the 19th century it was occupied by the Russians and subjected to the tsarist empire until the October Revolution and the subsequent establishment of the Soviet socialist republic.

The ethnic Kyrgyz make up around 70% of the population, which is joined by minorities of Uzbeks, Kazakhs, and Russians. Religiously, Islam is the most widely professed faith (approximately 90%), followed by a small percentage of Christians and other minority faiths.

Kyrgyzstan is a member of numerous international and regional organizations, including the OECD, the International Monetary Fund, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the WTO, which it joined first among Central Asian countries. It is also a member of the Turkic Council, the International Organization of Turkish Culture, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Finally, it is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Central Asian Cooperation Organization.

The country’s economy, despite a significant economic impulse received in the past for its industrialization, remains closely linked to the primary sector and to agriculture. Important, however, at the industrial level, is the mining sector for the exploitation of the country’s mineral resources, which could include deposits of coal, gold, antimony and uranium. Natural gas and oil are also present.

Much of the country’s commercial and trade exchanges are with Russia, China, and Kazakhstan, so much so that the country, partially because of its strategic location and large subsoil resources, plays a central role in the New Silk Road project. Interchange with Italy, on the other hand, is still limited.