Kyrgyzstan celebrates its Independence Day on 31 August to remember the day in 1991 when Kyrgyzstan officially left the USSR.
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After being annexed by the Russian Empire in 1876, Kyrgyzstan became part of the Soviet Union in 1919. For a time, it was an “autonomous” part of the Russian Federation, but beginning in 1936, the Kyrgyz SSR was established.
Under Stalinist rule, there was much oppression of the people, but nonetheless, many fought alongside Russians in the struggle against the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II.
When the USSR started to break apart in 1989, it took some time before Kyrgyzstan managed to become independent. In 1990, there were “false moves” toward independence, but the real independence declaration occurred on 31 August, 1991, after a mass resignation of ruling officials from the “Supreme Soviet” council.
On Independence Day, there are patriotic speeches, special ceremonies, military displays, parades of people donning traditional Kyrgyz attire, open air concerts and performances, sports events, and huge fireworks displays in Bishkek and other parts of the country.