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Curtain Call Coming Soon?

Written by on Thursday, 24 April 2014
Culture and History, Uzbekistan
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Remember Turkmenbashi Saparmurat Niyazov shutting down opera and ballet, and annihilating the Turkmen State Philharmonia in Turkmenistan back in 2001? Then you won’t be too much surprised of the recent news from their Uzbek neighbors: Uzbekbashi Islam Karimov’s regime is liquidating the Uzbek State Philarmonia and the Artistic Union of Performance Ensembles under the Ministry of Culture and Sport. Employees of the both organizations received notifications and are hopeless to find adequate jobs in the nearest future.

“Well, now all [of them] will head to [Kazakhstan to] sing in Kazakh restaurants…”
Zhan Kaumen

If in the case with Turkmenbashi, he was quite straight about the reason of shutting down the shrines of culture in Turkmenistan, the Government of Uzbekistan is not really explaining, just clarifying that this is due to “Approved Structure of the Central Apparatus of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.” Really?

“How is it possible to inculcate a Turkmen is a love of ballet if there is no ballet in his blood? … One must not attempt to establish an art form here that is from another place; one must develop one’s own national art form. I do not understand ballet, what do I need it for?”
Saparmurat Niyazov

I guess that’s the easiest way to cover the Uzbek leadership’s idea of distancing Uzbeks from another cultural outpost. Even though the Uzbek State Philarmonia and the Artistic Union of Performance Ensembles were not known for their outstanding cultural influence on Uzbek citizens, this could be a message to other organizations remained in the country that “we won’t wait until you raise a generation of “freethinking” people.” I presume, this should go to organizations such as, Ilkhom Theater. An informal center of Russian and Western culture in Uzbekistan were believed to face the issue of closing down after the murder of Mark Weil, founder and artistic director, in 2007. Maybe not in the nearest future, but still, something to think about…

“I think it’s all about money – it’s hard for the government to maintain all those artists while they don’t repay [the money spent on them]. [Uzbek] people don’t have money to attend concerts. Soon, [other] theaters will face the same [issue].

First, it was about cartoons, now Uzbek masters of raising-zombies-ideology came up with this. Few more liquidations like this, and it’ll be a “perfect” time for Uzbek regime’s curtain call.

So, what’s next?

Photo courtesy: Fergananews.com

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