On January 3rd, 2012, young activists of Birdamlik Peoples Movement of Uzbekistan protested in front of the Uzbek Embassy in Washington, DC.
“The kids of our family, some of whose parents are not here with them in the U.S. and who became vistims of the Uzbek regime’s prosecution for being my relatives, are the ones trying to bring international attention to this problem,” Bakhodir Choriyev, leader of Birdamlik who currently resides in the United States, told neweurasia.
As a result, some kids are either without one parent or both parents — their relatives are deprived from their right to move freely and come to the U.S. where they have residence permits (the so-called Green Cards).
“This is the first protest in the series but not the last,” says Choriev. “We will continue our protests and call our Uzbek citizens, who are abroad, to occupy Uzbek embassies in countries of their residence! By doing this we can inform the world and publicity in developed democratic countries about horrible dictatorship regime in Uzbekistan, about President Karimov’s intolerance towards freedom of speech and political rights of the people of Uzbekistan!”
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The beginning of 2012 has become quite progressive for Uzbek media. First change: Newspapers of Uzbekistan that used to publish in an A4 format are now being published in an A3 one. The reason — new standards and technical requirements.
Second change: Newspapers that belong to official governmental agencies are now 30% more expensive than in 2011.
Of course, there are explanations justified enough to be acceptable. But, I am going to use this opportunity to think the way a regular reader presumably would. Read the full story »
While Uzbeks are confused about growing prices on farmers’ products, and have a hard time figuring out how it was possible to produce “6.8 million tons of grain, more than 8.2 million tons of vegetables and melons” and still use their best in math to calculate miserable salaries and growing expenses on basic needs, President Karimov has sent congratulatory messages to nine political figures on the occasion of the New Year.
Uzbekistan President’s heartfelt greetings were delivered to Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, Barack Obama, U.S. President, Christian Wulff, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, Ivan Gasparovic, President the Slovak Republic, and Raul Modesto Castro Ruz, Chairman of State Council and Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.
Even though the latter two were not about the New Years coming, the date of when they were sent qualify them as a part of the Uzbek President’s ‘congratulatory mood’ and overall emphasis on relations with particular countries.
The most important thing in this torrent of messages by Karimov is that out of all countries represented, U.S., Russia, China and Germany are main strategic partners of Uzbekistan. Greetings to Slovakian President are President’s diplomatic protocol duty.
What the heck is Cuba doing on this ‘exclusive list’ of recipients?
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Uzbek Novosti Uzbekistana (News of Uzbekistan) newspaper has published an article, entitled “Arab Wind Over the Kazakh Steppe” (issue #51 of December 23, 2011).
Author mentions about 15 people killed in riots, as well as emphasizes that use of force “will make the wound deeper.”
Experts, some of whom see Ablyazov’s hand in this, and of course through Respublika nespaper, Kanal+ TV channel and Svoboda Slova (Freedom of Speech). Moreover, the cheesy “how-were-rally-participants-able-to-sustain-for-seven-months?” argument was also used to emphasize Ablyazov’s and Rakhat Aliyev’s participation.
To make this short, experts agree with the fact that Kazakhstan is on the threshold of a threat with symptoms of the Arab Spring. They develop it: social networks were used to gather people, while security services found external ties to the riot activists.
“Here comes the question: Who was dissatisfied by stability in Kazakhstan, and by its president Nazarbayev, who built up pretty equal relations in all geopolitical dimension?” the author, Oleg Stolpovsky wonders.
The fact that this publication is the first even in Uzbek press could have a message with it — the Uzbek censorship guys got sanctions to make Nazarbayev’s reputation of a successful leader and a winner in the Karimov vs. Nazarbayev struggle for leadership, drawn in the blood of revolutionaries. To the level where Karimov stands himself.
Almost apolitical and owned by a group totaly loyal to President Karimov and his daughter, the most tabloid of all the Uzbek tabloids and most lovable by housewifes and celebrity news followers, Darakchi magazine gives directions of how to access banned websites without keeping visitors’ records, e.g. their IP numbers.
Even though this short note is given in the end of the magazine, that is either something editor had not noticed and, relying on his staffers who know nithing but copy-pasting articles from other media, approved it for publication, or the responsible person did not find it as threatening national cyber-security.
On one hand, the author explains why using proxy servers is such a popular phenomenon — people around the world use those IT-tools to make sure their private info is not kept even after their visits to this or that page.
On the other hand, Uzbekistan is a country that practices tough censorship and those who want to read banned information have to either use proxy servers, or have a satellite internet connection that is not filtered by Uzbektelecom, a state-owned telecommunication company.
Apart from expensive and useless receptions and seminars on human rights theory for high school and university students and older generations, i.e. former Communists who did not know about human rights during Soviet times, the government of Uzbekistan is not really interested in spreading more information on human rights with its own people who do not attend schools and are not invited to fancy events like the one organized by the National Human Rights Center directed by irreplaceable Akmal Saidov, with participation of international guests.
Moreover, nobody in the government dares to even think about discussing real human rights situation in the Uzbekistan — “Interests of a human being are priority over anything,” or “Uzbekistan has ratified all six UN conventions on human rights” is the classic response to any sort of concerns regarding independent reports on human rights violations.
The article claims that the National Human Rights Center had participated in the expertise of more than 100 bills and 10 National plans of actions in the field of human rights.
The event, entitled “International treaties and Uzbekistan’s experience in the process of prefectioning of the national human rights and freedoms system,” became the main concluding event in the “Welcome-to-Uzbekistan-the-land-of-happiness-and-human-rights-protection” propaganda program for 2011.
To make the event seem legit, Mr. Saidov invited Ombudsman from Slovenia, representatives from the Danish Institute for Human Rights, National Center for Human Rights of Slovakia, Scottish Human Rights Commission, who talked about the role of human rights and the way Uzbekistan deals with “every single case of human rights violations.” Read the full story »
“I found these paintings, rolled up under the beds of old widows, buried in family trash.
These were forbidden works by artists who stayed true to their vision, at a terrible cost.”
– “The Desert of Forbidden Art”
A piece of documentary art, about forbidden art, has come to Central Asia – again.
The 80-minute long documentary of Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev (writers, producers and directors), “The Desert of Forbidden Art”, was screened on Friday December 9th, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the BACTRIA Cultural Center (ak. Rajabovih 15 Street) in Tajikistan’s capital city Dusanbe.
“The Desert of Forbidden Art”, a documentary that “takes us on a dramatic journey of sacrifice for the sake of creative freedom”, narrates how Russian artist Igor Savitsky– the virtuoso man of paint, archeology and collection, particularly of avant-garde art – rescued the forbidden work of fellow artists. Savitsky founded the State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, an art museum based in Nukus, Uzbekistan (capital city of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, in northwest Uzbekistan). The museum opened in 1966 and hosts 82,000 items – comprising the world’s second largest Russian avant-garde collection (after the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg).
Seems like Uzbek diplomats oversees do not enjoy their holidays. One of the most recent spoiled holidays for Uzbek authorities and foreign service officers was a protest infront of the Uzbek Consulate General in Istanbul on September 1, 2011, which is celebrated as Independence Day in Uzbeistan.
The protest, which was organized by People’s Movement of Uzbekistan (PMU), gathered some fifty human rights activists to express their negative attitude towards gross human rights violations and totalitarian political regime.
This time PMU activists made Uzbek Consulate staffers stay in their offices and hide behind curtains, take pictures and videotape the disagreement expressed on protesters’ banners, as well as in their speeches.
Banner prepared by Özbekler Birliği.org (Union of Uzbeks) aimed to inform people passing by and publicity about “22 years of state terror” in Uzbekistan, along with some statistics and a “Karimov-as-a-vampire” collage:
- 25 million people are slaves;
- 5 million kids pick cotton;
- 20,000 prisoners of consciousness;
- 5 million unemployed;
- 3,000 victims of Andijan;
- 54 Turkish businessmen imprisoned, their businesses confiscated. Read the full story »
“The water that serveth all that country is drawn by ditches out of the River Oxus, into the great destruction of the said river, for which it cause it falleth not into the Caspian Sea as it hath done in times past, and in short time all that land is like to be destroyed, and to become a wilderness for want of water, when the river of Oxus shall fail.”
Sometimes I think that people of Uzbekistan with a 28 million population know less about one of the greatest catastrophe in their own country than people worldwide. One of the reasons of it is the governmental propaganda of the successes in the policies towards its citizens. Another one is that the tragedy is being considered as not only the one of Uzbekistan but also of Kazakhstan, neighboring country rich of oil, and, considered as a main responsible side.
I found out about the Aral Sea ecological disaster when I became a freshman in my undergraduate studies. We had an introduction of our class and my then-future fellows introduced themselves. As myself, majority of students were from the capital city of Tashkent. The distribution among provinces represented the wealth and accessibility of the education in the most prestigious university of Uzbekistan: Tashkent, ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand were in top three in representation. All of them were telling their mostly enthusiastic live stories and what inspired them to study at the University. Except for one 17 year old guy who looked much older for us: skin on his face was flabby; he had a permanent cough and was breathing very hard; he was so thin and tall that for the rest of our five year education he had been called a “Skeleton”; the manner of speaking was slow but the way of thinking was critical and, as I understood later, more realistic than ours. Read the full story »
On December 6, 2011, the World Bank Group’s Board of Directors approved a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Uzbekistan, providing the framework for World Bank Group assistance to Uzbekistan between 2012 and 2015, World Bank press-service reports.
The new Strategy proposes a program linked to Uzbekistan’s development vision of reaching high middle-income status by mid-century. It was developed based on a broad dialogue with the Government of Uzbekistan and consultations with all development partners, including civil society organizations, academia, business communities, professional associations, and multilateral and bilateral donors.
Through implementation of the CPS, the World Bank intends to help enhance the key elements of the Government’s medium-term growth and development strategy: promoting efficiency, enhancing competitiveness, accelerating diversification, and ensuring social inclusion. A new financing envelope of US$1.3 billion – consisting of concessional International Development Association (IDA) credits and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loans – reflects the country’s development needs, its income level, economic prospects, economic management, poverty level, and performance of Bank-sponsored programs. Read the full story »