Краткое сообщение / Short Communication
УДК: 314.7
DOI: 10.14258/SSI(2022)2-12.
Consequences ofMigration inthe Kyrgyz Republic
Rita B. Salmorbekova
National Academy ofSciences ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic,
r.salmorbekova@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7580-9694
Abstract. e article is devoted to the problem ofinternal and external migration inthe Kyr-
gyz Republic. A er the collapse ofthe Soviet Union, the Kyrgyz Republic had experienced mass
out-migration ofthe population.  e people were forced to migrate during the period chaos to
improve their quality oflife. Basically, inthe early 1990s, the Slavic people from Kyrgyzstan le
for Russia and Kazakhstan. Strong internal migration began in1994, when rural Kyrgyz arrived
from regions to Bishkek, the capital ofKyrgyz Republic. Migration outside the former Soviet Un-
ion began in2000.  e vast majority ofKyrgyz went to Turkey, Germany or the USA.  us, the
problem ofmigration in the Kyrgyz Republic is not new.  is article analyses the results ofa
2019 focus group study. Field research was necessary to assess the e ects ofpopulation migration
and 14 focus groups were conducted inrural areas inthe north ofKyrgyzstan.  e results ofthe
research revealed the positive and negative consequences ofthe migration process, re ecting the
Краткие сообщения и первый исследовательский опыт 179
current migration situation inthe north ofKyrgyzstan. In general, the growth ofmigration has
led to new problems insociety: families su er, children are le without parental care and there is
a drain (brain drain) ofthe working age population.
Keywords: migration, migrant, quality, and standard ofliving, society, process, respondent,
focus group
Financial Support: the work was  nancially supported by the Ministry ofEducation and Science
ofthe Kyrgyz Republic („Social qualimetry as a basis for improving the social policy ofthe state“).
For citation: Salmorbekova, R. B. (2022). Consequences of Migration inthe Kyrgyz Republic.
Society and Security Insights, 5(2), 178–185. doi: 10.14258/ssi(2022)2-12.
Последствия миграции вКыргызской Республике
Рита Бобуевна Салморбекова
Национальная академия наук Кыргызской Республики, Бишкек, Кыргызская Республика,
r.salmorbekova@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7580-9694
Аннотация.       -
 .       
  —        -
  .  1990- .      -
  .    1994 .,  -
—       . 2000 . 
   .    
,   .  ,    -
  .      -
- 2019 .       
  ,      
 14 -.     
  ,     -
 .        :
 ,     ,   () -
  .
Ключевые слова: , ,   , , ,
, -
Финансирование:      -
    («    
  »).
Для цитирования: Салморбекова Р.Б. Последствия миграции вКыргызской Республике //
Society and Security Insights. 2022. Т. 5, №2. С.178–185. doi: 10.14258/ssi(2022)2-12.
Society andSecurity Insights № 2 2022 180
In the Kyrgyz Republic, the modern migration process is accompanied by an out-
ow ofthe population and an increase inexternal labor migration. As a result ofpopu-
lation migration, Kyrgyzstan su ers irreparable losses, the country loses its human po-
tential. Migration is naturally determined by several economic factors such as a decline
inliving standards, a tense situation inthe labor market, and a growing lag interms
of socio-economic development from other CIS countries. External labor migration
ofKyrgyzstan has become signi cant. Based on this, we conducted sociological research
to identify the positive and negative potentials ofthe migration process inKyrgyzstan.
A concept ofthe functions and causes ofrural migration was developed. Accord-
ing to the developed concept, population has accelerating, redistributive and selective
In the Russian sociological science many socio-demographic, socio-economic,
social, and labor studies are devoted to the problems ofmigration.  e school ofT.I.
Zaslavskaya (24) had pioneered instudying migration processes from the standpoint
ofmigration behavior. Certain aspects ofthe migration processes, inparticular the mi-
gration mobility ofthe population and the study ofmigration inthe context ofurban-
ization were developed by B. S. Khorev (1978) and presented inthe works ofadepts
ofhis school.  e theoretical works by L.L. Rybakovsky (219) describe the three-stage
migration process, which is a sequential chain ofevents. In Kyrgyzstan, migration issues
were also touched upon by research scientists dealing with the problems ofinternal and
external labor migration. Among them are the works ofA.Sh.Abzhamilova (25).
A.A.Akaev (217), M.A. Mamyrkanov (212), R.B. Salmorbekova (215) and others.
is article uses qualitative methodology realized infocus groups with key inform-
ants.  e study was carried out in218-219 inrural areas; the  eld study covered 14
villages throughout the republic.  e research idea was proposed by graduate students
to write a dissertation on the problems ofthe level and quality oflife inrural areas. First,
inOctober-November 219 with the help ofindependent sociologists, a focus group was
held with the participation of168 respondents to identify the set task in14 villages inthe
north ofthe Kyrgyz Republic.  e focus group was mainly attended by men and women
from a migrant family over 18 years ofage.
e main purpose ofthe research was to identify the positive and negative conse-
quences ofthe migration process by means offocus group discussions (FGDs). A focus
group is a small group ofpeople, all ofsimilar background, who are brought togeth-
er to discuss their thoughts and feelings about a particular topic. Focus group discus-
sions (FGDs) work better when the group is homogenous, that is, when people have a lot
incommon and where there are no big di erences instatus and power.
We should make strong e orts to limit group discussion participants to eight peo-
ple, with a minimum of ve to carry out the discussion.
Краткие сообщения и первый исследовательский опыт 181
FGDs can easily turn into a discussion between the most vocal and con dent mem-
bers ofthe group. erefore, the facilitator must do his or her best to encourage everyone
to speak, without pressuring anyone. Eye contact with all participants and making all
participants feel part ofthe conversation is important. Gentle but direct questions to a
quiet person may be appropriate, but more general comments which can work, are:
„Some people have been quiet, but may have views to share. Would you like to speak
Some people have been speaking much more than others. Would anyone who has not
spoken like to contribute his or her views?
e facilitator should encourage people to sit ina circle, so that all members ofthe
group can see each other, including the facilitator.  e note-taker should sit somewhere
nearby and should also be able to see all ofthe participants.
Research results
Migration in Kyrgyz Republic has started soon a er the country gained its
independence. As FGD participant said: „First, Russians and other nations who lived
invillage le , and then the number ofpeople who went for migration increased“. Another
FGD participant comments that internal migration started in 1994 and external
migration has started in1995-1996.  ose migrants le for Russia and Kazakhstan. She
also added that from 2 migration started beyond the boundaries offormer USSR.
Most ofthem went to Turkey, Germany or USA.
e villagers resort to migration because oflack ofjobs, or if anyone has got a job
then salary is very low, thus the life conditions are quite di cult and they cannot feed
their families properly. One FGD participant described:we had a teacher ofPhysics,
and he went to work inshaar (city, reference here to Bishkek) because ofhis low salary. But
there he could not earn more either and could not feed his children. Now, he is inRussia
and working by o ering private tuition, and he is earning good money“. Another FGD
participant commented: „My sister went to Turkey, and now she is working there, and her
life conditions improved.
e migrants are away for a long period oftime as a rule. One FGD participant
said: „My sister le abroad ten years ago. Some migrants are getting citizenship there and
working ingood jobs.
Both men and women go for migration from Kyrgyz Republic. Women are also
going abroad for the same reasons as the men do: lack ofjobs, low salary, and poor
living conditions. A FGD participant gave explanation as to why the number ofwomen
migrants has increased: „More women are now going for migration, because the migrant
women are not harassed by the locals there, for example by the nationalists / skinheads
(in Russia).  e men are o en beaten up. Another FGD participant mentioned about the
atrocities against the migrants: „My neighbor went to Russia with his newly married wife
and they worked there for 12 years and then they wanted to return to Kyrgyzstan with all
the money they had earned. But unfortunately, some crook people had been following them
and they knew that this family had a lot ofmoney, they broke into their apartment and
killed both husband and wife infront oftheir 3-year old son. Other 12 Kyrgyz migrants
Society andSecurity Insights № 2 2022 182
who knew the family well, collected money to send the child and dead couple to Kyrgyzstan.
ey arrived a er eight days“.
Regarding the ages ofthe migrants, a FGD participant said: „ e migrants ages
range from 20 to 45, thus they are capable ofdoing hard manual jobs.
It is di cult to nd money to become migrant. Some FGD witnesses: „My sister
borrowed money from di erent people when she was leaving, „My brother also borrowed
money and migrated, but he returned the money quite soon.
Many migrants cannot  nd jobs according to their specialties. Most ofthem work
inconstruction and services: My brother worked as a police o cer here, but inRussia he
is now working as a butcher, „My sister was a teacher ofmathematics, but she is working
as a baby-sitter inRussia“. But there are some migrants who can  nd jobs according to
their specialties: „My sister worked as a medical doctor here, and now she is working as
medical personnel inUSA too, My younger brother is a teacher by profession and he is
now working as a teacher inRussia. He said that they have shortage ofteachers inrural
Russia, „My sister is a nurse by profession and she is working according to her profession
Some migrants also take their children with them. As FGD participant explains:
„ e migrants take their children with them. I have kuda (son-in-law) inTomsk.  ey
have small child who now goes to kindergarten there.  ey say that their life is good and
there are many Kyrgyz families there.  ey had some di culty with the Russian language
Migrants face many di culties abroad. ey are hired by someone to work and
everything which surrounds them is di erent. ey also miss their relatives whom they
leave behind.  e villagers are getting used to the migrant family members staying away
for a long period oftime. Migrants miss their children who are le behind. But they stay
there because they want to earn money and improve their life quality. As FGD participant
said: My brother-in-law stayed behind and he is looking a er their children now“. Poor
migrants are having a lot ofdi culties there, but they always tell that everything is okay
with them. We know their di culties and how everything is a ecting their health. We
always worry about them.
e migrants come back to visit their families whenever they can. A FGD participant
said: „My sister-in-law le to Germany and she visits us once a year. Another opinion:
„My younger sister le four years ago and she hasn’t come back yet. Every family has got a
migrant family member now.
e villagers communicate with their migrant relatives by phone. A FGD participant
explained: „It has become easy to contact them. We speak with them almost every day.
ey normally call us. Another FGD participant said: We also communicate with SMS.
ey can also send their photos to us via mobile phones.
e migrants send remittance to their relatives through banks. One FGD participant
said: „ ey send money whenever we need it“, and another FGD participant added: „Our
relative sends money every month. So, we know which day he will send us and how the
money will be used.  ey also tell us to use the money for which needs.  e villagers are
also purchasing land or house for the money sent to them. According to a FGD history:
Краткие сообщения и первый исследовательский опыт 183
„My brother-in-law sends money to his family during holidays such as Nooruz, New Year
and others.
e villagers do not have any problems with accessing the banks and getting the
remittances. One FGD participant said: „ ere are no problems with sending money to us,
and we go there and get money at the bank“. One more FGD participant observed: „It has
become so easy for us. We just get money from the bank, instead ofworrying about what
happened to the money which is sent by someone, is the money going to reach me safely?“
e remittances are used for various purposes. One FGD participant reported:
When they are sending money, they instruct us how to use it. For example, they tell us
that we should buy a sheep or cow“. Another FGD participant added: „Now they send
money and tell us that we should pay credit back“.  ey also send money for organizing
feasts or weddings, according to another respondent. Migrants also send money for their
childrens needs, for example, for their food, clothes and education.
ere is a general belief that migration is a ecting the villagers’ lives positively.
A FGD participant said: „My sister went to Russia and from there to Israel and she now
got married there and she is living well.  e Kyrgyz always want to improve their life and
she is trying to further improve. us, migration is improving the life conditions ofthe
migrants and their relatives.
e migrants are also a ecting the youth inthe village. e young people also
want to go abroad to work. Some people who already le are inviting the villagers who
are here.  ere is increase ofnumber ofmigrants during last ve years. As participant
ofFGD expressed on migration: „ ey hear news from each other, and hear that some
people have improved their lives because ofmigration and thus they also join them. More
young people want to go for migration.
e young FGD participants of both sexes also responded to the questions on
migration. Opinions were not the same. A young girl said: Young girls are going to
migration to earn money. Another young girl mentioned: „I don’t want to leave abroad.
Many young people with diplomas do not have jobs, to  nd a job one needs to pay bribe at
least one thousand dollars.  erefore, young people are going for migration. A young boy
however stated: „I haven’t heard ofanyone who made a fortune by being a migrant. I also
spent one year inKazakhstan where I paid for an apartment and then to police o cers and
came back without money“.
us, as shown by the results ofthe study, the destruction ofthe family and family
relations oflabor migrants became a negative factor.  ere is a violation ofthe social
integrity ofthe family and family relations, deformation offamily values and traditions,
an increase inthe number ofstreet children, and juvenile delinquency. e local
community and the remaining families are faced with the situation ofan incomplete
family, which leads to a change in the functional system, the role, and mechanism
ofupbringing and education ofchildren, the younger generation is formed inisolation
from parental education. ese and other di culties, however, do not stop migrants
from looking for work. Working abroad allowed most ofthem to improve the  nancial
situation oftheir families, and for the republic itself, among the main economic e ects
was a reduction inthe de cit ofbalances ofpayments due to the receipt ofremittances.
Society andSecurity Insights № 2 2022 184
e results ofthe work are that migration has a positive e ect on the life ofthe
villagers. us, migration improves the living conditions ofmigrants and their relatives.
e migration process a ects young people. Young people also want to go abroad to
work and learn about the world. Over the past  ve years, there has been an increase
inthe number ofmigrants. Many with higher education diplomas go abroad due to
unemployment. As the results ofthe study have shown, there are positive and negative
consequences ofmigration.  e research results can be used inthe  eld ofthe socio-
political, economic, and psychological study ofthe problem ofmigration.
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 ..      -
 //      -
 : . . : , 25.
 .. :       //
    . 217. 2. .195–
 . .   .  
. .: , 24. 397 .
  //     -
. 212. 1. .4–14.
 ..  . .: , 219. 48 .
 ..     
 //   :  -
Краткие сообщения и первый исследовательский опыт 185
. 215. 22. .11118.
 . .   . .: , 1978. 254 .
Rita B. Salmorbekova— Dr. Sci. (Sociology), Professor ofthe National Academy
ofSciences ofthe Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
  — - . ,   -
   , , .
The article was submitted 12.05.2022;
approved after reviewing 26.05.2022;
accepted for publication 01.06.2022.
Статья поступила вредакцию 12.05.2022;
одобрена после рецензирования 26.05.2022;
принята кпубликации 01.06.2022.