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In essence though, the problem has been a three-headed beast.

In 1868 a Russian settlement was established on the site of the fortress under its original name, "Pishpek".

Secondly, this past week saw the 60th anniversary celebrations to mark the communists seizing power in 1949.

Mindful of the "Free Tibet" protests that plagued the run-up to last year's Olympic Games in Beijing, the paranoid Chinese authorities have been acting ultra-hyper-mega-paranoid. I can't remember exactly who told me that the Chinese embassy in Bishkek would be on holiday throughout the whole of last week.

Post-Soviet research suggests the name derives from a Kyrgyz word for a churn used to make fermented mare's milk (kumis), the Kyrgyz national drink - although not all sources agree on this.

In 1825 Khokand authorities established the fortress of "Pishpek" in order to control local caravan-routes and to collect tribute from Kyrgyz tribes.