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Click on Pic: Naryn city – The coldest city of Kyrgyzstan.
Written by , Sunday, 6 Apr, 2008 – 10:58 | One Comment

Naryn is the provincial administrative center of the Naryn Oblast in central Kyrgyzstan, with a population of 40,049 (1999). It is located at 41°26?N, 76°0?E, situated on both banks of the Naryn River, one of the main head waters of the Syr Darya, which cuts a picturesque gorge through the town. The city has a regional museum and a hotel, but is otherwise residential.

The population of Naryn oblast is 98% Kyrgyz, discounting the Russian army presence along the border. The economy of Naryn oblast is dominated by animal herding (sheep, horses, yaks), with wool and meat as the main products. Mining of various minerals developed during the Soviet era has largely been abandoned as uneconomical. Today the oblast is considered to be the poorest region in the country. It does, however, boast beautiful mountains, alpine pastures and Son-Kul lake which during summer months attracts large herds of sheep and horses with their herders and their yurts.

So, I am presenting to you some photos from the Naryn city I took during my last trip there, On March 31 2008.

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Olympic Torch in Almaty
Written by , Thursday, 3 Apr, 2008 – 10:30 | 2 Comments

Yesterday, April 02, the Olympic torch has started its way across the Earth, and for the first time in history Almaty was honored to become the first city of the relay. Thousands of people came to see it carried down the streets of Almaty by renowned sportsmen and artists, and some officials as well — the start was given by president himself on the Medeu skating rink. Thousands of people were comprised mostly of the schoolkids and students, brought to the event by their teachers, but the relay itself has definitely become a great attraction for practically all Almatians. The torch’s next stop is Istanbul. Here is one of the worst videocasts in the world:

Views of ancient Merv
Written by , Sunday, 30 Mar, 2008 – 19:54 | No Comment

I took these photos in September last year in ancient Merv, located near modern town of Mary in eastern Turkmenistan. If you would like to read about Merv click here or here.

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Nexia-2. The export car made not for Uzbeks
Written by , Thursday, 27 Mar, 2008 – 7:15 | 7 Comments

[inspic=58,left,,200] This year Navruz has brought lots of surprises to the people of sunny Uzbekistan: Decree of the President on 5 March 2008 On increasing the salaries, pensions, stipends and social allowances, traditional national khashar (nation-wide gathering of people to clean up streets and territories), unforgettable colorful show with the participation of the head of state, etc.

The presentation of Nexia’s new model also was supposed to be held on the eve of Navruz of Gerenal Motors Joint-Venture.

The event was honored to be visited by deputy Prime-minister K.Sanakulov, which said a lot of flattering words to “UzDaewooAuto� authorities and emphasized the role of it in the process of building of sustainable national economy and it’s contribution to the national budget. Information agency informed that

[inspic=59,right,,200]Car owners evaluated Nexia-2 quite skeptically in compare to old modification. For instance, front headlight and sidelight are made in one integrated module. It means that if accidentally some pebble breaks sidelight the owner should replace whole module which costs half a million UZ sums (approximately 362 US dollars). Plus Nexia-2 has the same primitive mechanical five-speed gearbox.

I’m not an ace at automobiles to dare myself to explain you insignificant changes in Nexia’s construction, I’m just going to finally realize how ordinary honest citizen can earn for such a car. The price of an old model of Nexia variates from 14 000 to 16 000 US dollars (19 320 000 and 22 080 000 UZ sums accordingly). The new Nexia-2 will cost more than 19 000 US dollars (26 220 000 UZ sums). Now, those who can calculate how much should toil to earn money with 100-120 000 UZ sums of monthly salary. And the answer is… MORE THAN 18 YEARS in case of complete hungry and abstaining of everything!

“UzDaewooAuto� cars are exported to Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries. Seems to me, that more than 300 000 produced cars mostly will be exported where the price per one model will be cheaper than in the country of production of these models – Uzbekistan. That’s another side of well-thought-out internal socio-economic policy of our Uzbekbashi.

Uzbek musical instruments
Written by , Tuesday, 25 Mar, 2008 – 10:44 | 2 Comments

What maybe more pleasant than hearing the sound of karnai (weddning horn) early in the morning from a wedding party in your neighbourhood that calls everyone to come and taste a wedding plov or shurva (soup)? What may be more pleasant than eating plov or shurva at nonushta (early morning meal for neighbours and relatives at weddings - lit. translated as breakfast) and listening to shoshkaqoms? Everyone who lives and happened to live in an Uzbek community should agree with me.

If you have never been to Uzbekistan and never lived in Uzbek community, here is a very good video that gives a chance to enjoy fascinating sound of Uzbek musical instruments.

Charming, isn’t it?

Where are you now, ladies of pleasure?
Written by , Sunday, 23 Mar, 2008 – 11:35 | 18 Comments

[inspic=57,left,,180] Clean up of Tashkent on the eve of Navruz holiday from the prostitutes, homosexuals and drug-abusers and their places of dislocation shocked everyone who is interested in daily life of the capital: as information agencies informed that during “the Morality� raid more than 200 bars, 115 saunas and 70 hotels were inspected. 466 administrative sanctions were taken, 141 criminal cases were commenced. Approximately 500 delinquents were taken under the preventive control of law machinery.

The problem of “the most ancient profession� – prostitution is still the biggest effect of unemployment caused by absence of remunerative job conditions: on the average prostitute earns approximately 300 000 Uzbek sums per month that is more than living wage in Uzbekistan, which is close to 50 000 Uzbek sums.

I, personally, during my university years conducted research on the life of those who are selling their bodies for money. That time I got a bit of shock because of the facts I found: 35 % of the ladies of pleasure had bachelor’s degrees, 28% had basic education certificates. To my horror, I’d found that people with high educational degree could do nothing but sell themselves because they had and still have no opportunity to earn money by other means.

The phenomenon of prostitution is not solved yet: if you go to the monument of Amir Temur, the hero of a new independent Uzbekistan, you’ll find prostitutes home for a many years. As one of the prostitutes said: “It’s our territory and such raids are for few days only, made to show the officials that we have no prostitution problem. The existence of prostitutes is profitable for the local militia. We pay them money for inviolability and they try not to interfere in our work. We’re informed that the operation would be held and that day we hadn’t had going out for work.�

Drug abusers will get their dosage of drugs in spite of this raid, because it is also profitable for those who get money for “invisibility� from junkers.

Regarding homosexuals they are still getting together at the same place as prostitutes are doing. They don’t even afraid of the sodomy (pederasty) article 120 of the Criminal code of Uzbekistan. Maybe it is also profitable for some groups of power-holders?

The next national holiday is the Independence day. So, should the prostitutes, homosexuals and drug-abusers get preparations for that holiday’s raids? Life will show. But life will also show that even we, independent people of Uzbekistan are almost 17 years, the social problems are still driving people to criminal activities: prostitution, drug-abusing and other sins…

photo: uzmetronom.com

Welcome, Navruz! The Ocassion of the People of the Happiest Country in the World!!!
Written by , Saturday, 22 Mar, 2008 – 18:18 | 6 Comments

[inspic=56,left,,200] Preparations for Navruz, one of the most popular holidays in Uzbekistan, took a lot of time, nerves and people’s manual power. However, it’s not a disturbing fact for high ranking people – Islam Karimov and his apparatus, diplomats and honored guests – who had an honor to celebrate Navruz at the Alisher Navoi square on March 21.

Navruz, just like other popular holidays in Uzbekistan, Navruz requires lots of “sacrifices”. Every year,  thousands of students are forced to clean the streets and moldy territories during Navruz eve, to wave colored flags during concert, participate in theatrical shows. It takes them so much time that they have to skip their classes at their colleges and universities. This fact also doesn’t bothers political elite.

Back to the colorful event – the concert, the whole action repeats every year: boring national dances, songs of praise to the President, panegyric from the President to the nation and “all those who makes our life beautiful�. Impressive statistics, happy faces of the youth, rejoicing expectancies would make all of us be the happiest and not to take no account of time and enjoy our life in Uzbekistan under the rule of the wisest President.

All this stuff repeats every year, but one point is especially emphasized – the quality of living standards in Uzbekistan is increasing. Does Islam Karimov believe in his own words himself?

The main mouthpiece of Presidential propaganda, UzA agency, says that

“Navruz was revitalized by the head of state, President Islam Karimov, before Uzbekistan gained the independence. During the years of independence the contents of Navruz was enriched, new sides became apparent: humanism and charity feelings became stronger.�

Honestly, I didn’t know that people of my country were less humane, less charitable, and I had no clear idea of my President’s activities while being Moscow’s communist governor-general and his underground activities on the way to the independence. Something really new for me and should be written down by annalists and propose another toast for Islam Karimov.

President, in his speech, said:

“During Navruz our ancestors rushed to help orphans, lone elderly people, provide aid and charity to them. Nowadays, their descendants demonstrate standards of good and generosity.

During the years of independence these beautiful qualities came out of and are spread among our people… One of the principles of “Uzbek model� [of market economy], recognized all over the world, is providing strong social policy. In 2007 53,8 % of the sate budget was aimed at social sphere, in 2008 this indicator will achieve 54,6 %. Such figures are rare for other countries.�

My indignation and misunderstanding is raising! Does Mr.President compares these statistics to the African states or other Third World countries? Or I don’t know something that others are able to see and feel?!

I don’t want to continue rubbing salt into your wound and become another mouthpiece of Presidential propaganda. That’s why I call you to analyze and to demonstrate skepticism when listening and reading President’s speeches. Maybe after that our people will take off rose-colored spectacles and think more realistic and will be taught to be the change they want to see Uzbekistan…

Friday Photo: Almaty streetsign installation
Written by , Saturday, 22 Mar, 2008 – 12:16 | No Comment

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Nooruz as a National holiday
Written by , Friday, 21 Mar, 2008 – 18:39 | 3 Comments

[inspic=104,left,fullscreen,thumb]Like all other Central Asian cultures, Kyrgyz culture is also known for such holiday like Nooruz. It means new year and it is one of the most spitired and important Kyrgyz holiday. It unites people at the central Square of capital Bishkek where people walk, eat, play, talk and enjoy their time. They can also view a special show with lots of dances, songs by famous artists and professional dancing groups. This is the time when a new life begins for most people who expect from New year lots of good things, successes and happiness. Nooruz is a very special day for Kyrgyz people. Well, Happy New Year and may it bring lots of prosperity and good luck!

Click on Pic: Sary-Chelek and Ala-Kul
Written by , Thursday, 20 Mar, 2008 – 17:01 | One Comment

One of the most beautiful places of Kyrgyzstan.

[inspic=101,leftclear,fullscreen,thumb] Sary-Chelek

[inspic=102,leftclear,fullscreen,thumb] Ala-Kul