In 2005 Lars travelled to the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan with the danish charity organization DanChurchAid trying to document the massive poverty as a consequence of the decay of the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan. In 1991 Kyrgyzstan gained full independence from the Soviet Union after 72 years of Soviet power which was initially established in the region in 1919.
Independence from the Soviet Union meant the total collapse of Kyrgyzstan’s industrial enterprises, which previously had been subcontractors for Russian factories, which closed with the collapse. Without the option to sell the factories’ products to Russia, the workers were forced to move searching for the slighest possibility of getting work. But mostly the workers ended in rapidly emerging slums on the outskirts of the capital, Bishkek. Unemployed and poor and without legal rights of these people live in poorly insulated mud houses on a plowed field – in wintertime often 20 degrees celcius below zero.
Kyrgyzstan is four times the size of Denmark, located in the central Asia south of Russia, and the population has reached five and a half million people. Fifty-five percent of Kyrgyzstan’s population lives below the poverty line of 5 USD a day. Kyrgyzstan is among the twenty countries in the world with the highest perceived level of corruption.