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Remembering The Great Urkun 100 Years Later

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Every year for the last 100 years, when the snow melts in the passes leading from Kyrgyzstan to China through the Tien-Shan (Heavenly) Mountains, evidence of one of the worst tragedies in the history of the Kyrgyz people is revealed.
 
Skeletal remains of tens of thousands of people and animals appear. These bones mark the trails the Kyrgyz and their herds took as they tried to escape Russian tsarist troops in 1916.
 
This year Kyrgyzstan's government is marking the 100th anniversary of the Great Urkun, the flight of the Kyrgyz people.
 
By 1916 Kyrgyz had already started to depart their homelands in what are now the Chui, Naryn, and Issyk-Kul provinces of Kyrgyzstan and also from Kyrgyz areas in what is now southeastern Kazakhstan. Russian records of the time, kept in Almaty, show 1,787 Kyrgyz families had left for China in 1915. From 1904 to 1914 another "approximately 10,000" Kyrgyz made the trip east over the mountains.
 

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Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Remembering The Great Urkun 100 Years Later

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