A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, most of the territory of the present-day Kyrgyz Republic was formally annexed to the Russian Empire in 1876. The Kyrgyz staged a major revolt against the Tsarist Empire in 1916 in which almost one-sixth of the Kyrgyz population was killed. The Kyrgyz Republic became a Soviet republic in 1936 and achieved independence in 1991 when the USSR dissolved. Nationwide demonstrations in 2005 and 2010 resulted in the ouster of the country’s first two presidents, Askar AKAEV and Kurmanbek BAKIEV. Interim President Rosa OTUNBAEVA led a transitional government and following a nation-wide election, President Almazbek ATAMBAEV was sworn in as president in 2011. In 2017, ATAMBAEV became the first Kyrgyz president to step down after serving one full six-year term as required in thecountry’s constitution. Former prime minister and ruling Social-Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan member Sooronbai JEENBEKOV replaced him after winning an October 2017 presidential election that was the most competitive in the country’s history, although international and local election observers noted cases of vote buying and abuse of public resources. The president holds substantial powers as head of state even though the prime minister oversees the Kyrgyz Government and selects most cabinet members. The president represents the country internationally and can sign or veto laws, call for new elections, and nominate Supreme Court judges, cabinet members for posts related to security or defense, and numerous other high-level positions. Continuing concerns for the Kyrgyz Republic include the trajectory of democratization, endemic corruption, a history of tense, at times violent, interethnic relations, border security vulnerabilities, and potential terrorist threats.