(b. Kyzyl-Baizak, Kirghiz SSR, 10 Nov. 1944)
Kirghiz; President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan 1990–1, President of independent Kyrgyzstan 1991–2005 Born on a kolkhoz, Akayev's first career was in science. A Doctor of Technological Sciences, and, from 1987, an Academician of the Kirghiz Academy of Sciences, he was a professor at Frunze Polytechnical Institute till 1986.
He joined the CPSU in 1981, became a member of the CPSU Central Committee in 1990–1, heading the Kirghiz CP Science and Education Committee; Vice-President of the Kirghiz Republic 1987–9 and President of the Kirghiz Academy of Sciences 1989–90. He was elected to the USSR Congress of People's Deputies in 1989 and elected President of the Kirghiz Republic by the Supreme Soviet in October 1990. When Kirghizstan became independent in October 1991 he was re-elected President. A technocrat rather than the typical Communist functionary, Akayev promoted market reform and Western trade. He made himself head of the government in February 1992 but was forced to concede the post in May 1993 due to pressure from Communist deputies opposing reform. In 1994 he secured the approval by referendum of constitutional reform reducing the powers of the legislature and increasing those of the President. But the new legislature, elected in December 1994, continued to frustrate Akayev's reforms. Re-elected in 1995 and 2000, his reputation as one of the more democratic leaders of the former USSR countries began to fade. In 2002, his government resigned following the death of opposition protesters. His third term as President was due to end in 2005. However, in parliamentary elections at the start of that year, there were many protests over suppression of the opposition and, in the so-called ‘Tulip Revolution’, Akayev fled to Moscow, from where he tendered his resignation, to be replaced as President by Kurmanbek Bakiyev. He remains in Moscow, having returned to academic life.