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Home » Media and Internet, Politics and Society, Uzbekistan

An Uzbek PM on Facebook; A funny fantasy or for real?

Written by on Wednesday, 7 December 2011
Media and Internet, Politics and Society, Uzbekistan
11 Comments

Have you gotten a “Friend Request” from O’zbekiston Respublikasi Bosh vaziri, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Facebook yet? His personal page has 1,818 Friends, explains him to be a 100% Conservative believer in Islam, interested in Women and Married, inspired by various Westerners politicians and so on. There are even some professional photos, both uploaded and tagged, on his profile. But is this all real?

To debate this – weather or not Mirziyoyev’s Facebook page is actually authentic –  is pretty silly and ridiculous, considering Uzbekistan is a country whose press freedom and online activity regulations especially in terms of political interactions, are far from socially free and enjoyable… but lets enjoy examining the suspicious question of “to be (a real Facebook page) or not to be” anyway.

Eurasianet.org raises an interesting point, regarding changing leadership roles in Uzbek politics:

“Why would the prime minister make a page now? Perhaps, in a bid to become President Islam Karimov’s successor, he wants to improve his image and even show himself to be something of a “liker” of Western philosophies at a time when there is an emerging partnership with the United States and the European Union.”

Just the other day, neweurasia’s Mansurhon informed about the “sexy new topic of talk” surfacing in Uzbekistan, regarding elections. Uzbekistan’s Parliament is seeking a change in Article 90 of the Constitution, wherein the length of the Presidency would be reduced from seven years to five. So, since come 2014 – someone new is bound to take center stage in Uzbek politics, is this supposed Facebook page a method of early and strategized campaigning?

Eurasianet.org notices Mirziyoyev’s online inspirations:

“From the Facebook page, you can see that Mirziyoyev is inspired by Nicolas Sarkozy, Lee Myung-bak, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and last but not least — or maybe last and therefore least? — Islam Karimov.”

Yes, Facebook attracts a Western crowd, and thus the importance of whoever-this-pages’-administrator is for creating an online international image to be seen in comparison with other international powers (who actually recognize the positive political power of social media, unlike authorities in Uzbekistan). But, what about a local and online Uzbek crowd? Does Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev also have a personal page on Uzbekistan’s exclusive social network “Muloqot.uz” – or is “He” strictly sticking to Western social networks? You probably guessed right – No, Mirziyoyev does not have a profile on Muloqot.

neweurasia contacted the Prime Minster’s office to check whether the page was authentic or a knockoff and the latter seem to be the case (not surprisingly). And also, the real office of the real Mirziyoyev said Facebook denied their request to remove the page. Is this really surprising? Not really, because Facebook – unlike media outlets in Uzbekistan – believe in freedom of speech and expression.

So, are you convinced yet that this is not the real Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev online, but just his Facebook-wannabe?

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11 Comments »

  • [...] Tomyris writes about a fuss around Facebook account of the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan that gave rise to political speculations among the observers. The page has proved to be not authentic though. Tweet Tomyris writes about a fuss around Facebook account of the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan that gave rise to political speculations among the observers. The page has proved to be not authentic though. [...]

  • [...] wonder why Prime Minister doesn’t have a personal page on the Uzbekistan’s local social network [...]

  • [...] wonder why the Prime Minister doesn’t have a personal page on Uzbekistan’s local social network [...]

  • Catherine A. Fitzpatrick says:

    I have no need for this page on Facebook purporting to be that of Mirziyoyev to be real or not real. I’m merely reporting on its curious existence for six months.

    First of all, it’s an individual account with friending capacity, not a *page* with “liking” capacity. Those are different things in Facebook. It’s true that regarding public figures, Facebook’s management would probably like to err on the side of free expression, and let public figures have pages made about them — some figures have many such pages.

    But this is, again, a personal account. And that’s identity theft, if it isn’t him or his approved agents operating it. So I’m frankly not buying this story that they “can’t” get this page removed. Of course they can. I speak from experience. I’ve had people make fake Twitter and fake Facebook accounts using my name and picture, and I’ve had them removed by presenting an appeal and a fax of my driver’s license, in a matter of weeks. You can make legitimate parody or critical accounts of public figures. What you can’t do is make something pretending exactly to be them.

    I find this statement odd, “neweurasia contacted the Prime Minster’s office to check whether the page was authentic or a knockoff and the latter seem to be the case (not surprisingly)”

    Why such an ambivalent statement? Either it is the case or it is not the case. Why “seems to be the case”? Were they not definitive? What did they say, exactly, in this office? Or are they being ambivalent precisely because they want to gain whatever value they can out of this fake account with its pro-Western leanings because it does them no harm?

    It’s not “silly and ridiculous” to debate the meaning of pages on Facebook purporting to be those of public figures. Facebook doesn’t have a check-mark “verification” sign like Twitter, so we can’t know definitively. Therefore we get to ask, and ask whether in fact it’s a supporter doing it for political reasons, with tacit approval, or what it is.

    In short, you have not proved this page to be unauthentic because the report you’ve brought back from the PM’s office — unless you can elaborate further — is ambiguous. And the claim that they can’t get it removed is not just true — they are either not really trying, or don’t understand how to file a complaint or are lying.

    Reply

    Uzbek in Uzbekistan Reply:

    @Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, what’s your problem Firzpatrick? check your own post on that — too much of a useless analysis of what is NOT PM’s page (whatever type: personal page or a fan page). This was just another fake and PM’s office is reluctant to act like they should be acting — demand the removal. They see there’s nothing bad with and on that page. In the end of the day, you can always contact PM’s office and see what they do and don’t tell you in response to your questions.

    relax, take it easy and enjoy the upcoming holiday season! :)

    an Uzbek, who lives in Uzbekistan

    Reply

    Catherine A. Fitzpatrick Reply:

    @Uzbek in Uzbekistan

    The analysis isn’t useless *because the page stands*. It really does matter that it’s a *personal* page with friend status having to be requested and granted — *not* a fan page where you can just “like” the page. Fan pages are easy to make and dozens of them can spring up around a public figure. Not so a personal page.

    That means this page is actively maintained and kept looking like something the prime minister would make, and not being easily stopped — as it could be, given its nature.

    You didn’t answer my question: Did you get an ambivalent answer, or you relayed it as ambivalent and haven’t pressed it. What’s up? Given all the sensitivity that the Uzbek government has shown to “defamation,” we have to wonder how they could let the identity of the very prime minister himself be speculated upon in this fashion.

    We have no way of knowing it’s fake when *it persists*. Who could be behind it? Why would somebody bother to make a fake page for the prime minister himself — and how could they last so long and attract so many friends?

    I’ve put in a friendship request to this account and gotten no response and I’ll try emailing the prime minister’s office, but say, if you have his number on your speed dial, please pass it along!

    Reply

    Uzbek in Uzbekistan Reply:

    @Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, well, first of all, i’m not an author of this post and wasn’t even thinking about calling the bloody executor of the regime.

    secondly, fan pages also differ. for example, this one is just a wikipedia info put as a fan page.

    while this one is a really functioning fan page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/shakira?sk=wall, that is run if not by a singer herself but by authorised person/people.

    btw, to help you out with PM’s office contacts: http://gov.uz/en/government/1264 that’s a public info and if you haven’t tried harder to find it then don’t blame me.

    cheers and may Allah bless all of us

  • Uzbek in Uzbekistan says:

    what’s your problem Firzpatrick? check your own post on that — too much of a useless analysis of what is NOT PM’s page (whatever type: personal page or a fan page). This was just another fake and PM’s office is reluctant to act like they should be acting — demand the removal. They see there’s nothing bad with and on that page. In the end of the day, you can always contact PM’s office and see what they do and don’t tell you in response to your questions.

    relax, take it easy and enjoy the upcoming holiday season! :)

    an Uzbek, who lives in Uzbekistan

    Reply

  • [...] wanajiuliza kwa nini Waziri Mkuu hana ukurasa katika mtandao ya kijamii nchini humo Muloqot.uz wanakisia kuwa [...]

  • bigbro says:

    Mirziyoyev and other animals are jsut LOLing at what a discussion you people are having here! he achieved his goal — make everyone talk about him and spend their time on writing silly things and making pointless conclusions. i’m LOLing myself now!! muahahahahahaha!!!!

    Reply

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