In August, Kyrgyzstan became the fifth member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), joining Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia. In the months leading up to the event, traders at the Dordoi bazaar located just outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, waited anxiously to see if changes to trade and tariff policies would jeopardize their businesses. Their testimonies exhibit a depth of ingenuity and a keen eye for opportunity that suggests Dordoi will be able to maintain its place as a hub of Eurasian trade.
In 1992, shortly after Kyrgyzstan gained independence, Askar Salymbekov, the former head of the Sports Committee of the Kyrgyz Communist Party, turned his hand to capitalism.
In the 23 years since he set up Bishkek’s Dordoi bazaar, Salymbekov’s creation has become the largest market in Central Asia and a hub of trade between China and Europe.
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Jeremie Berlioux, a French journalist, and Tamas Paczai, a Hungarian photographer, are both currently based in Kyrgyzstan.