Opinions / Uzbekistan
The socio-political situation in Uzbekistan has been tense in recent years but now in many areas a crisis may be unfolding in the wake of the pandemic. As the economic tensions are reflected in the published figures, it can be seen that the country’s external debt and levels of poverty are growing and an atmosphere of social control is on the rise.
As an independent state, Uzbekistan appeared on the world map in 1991. The country launched reforms that were supposed to create a base for running a market economy. In 1996, however the course of the economy was radically shifted towards intensification of state intervention in the economy and the implementation of an import substitution policy.
Scorched earth: media in Uzbekistan between 2005 and 2016
Under the rule of President Islam Karimov (1991-2016), the media in Uzbekistan experienced significant pressure. The total domination of the media environment by censorship and threats to journalists meant there was no freedom of expression in the media at all.
The COVID-19 pandemic threatens economies and has disrupted societies everywhere. To recover, restore, and rebuild, every country will need to lean on expertise and the very best of its human capital. However, in Central Asia, the bitter truth is that systems that were already struggling before the pandemic will suffer more because so many of their best and brightest have simply left. This brain drain of the region’s human capital now poses nearly as big a problem as the virus itself.
Overview of NGOs in Uzbekistan
According to the Ministry of Justice of Uzbekistan the total number of registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country as of 2020 exceeded 10,000. The Ministry boasted that NGOs are increasingly gaining strong positions in the development of Uzbek society and are becoming a full-fledged partner of the state as the result of adopted legislative measures.
«The fact that the consultative meetings of the heads of state of the region have acquired a permanent character and now, after the meeting in Tashkent, have their own regulations, suggests that intra-regional integration is possible, because the process has already been launched»,- Anuar Temirov, a young analyst from Nur-Sultan states in his article written specifically for CABAR.asia.
From 10 to 21 June 2019, young experts, active participants of the CABAR.asia School of Analytics from Central Asian countries have been trained in advanced think-tanks of Georgia to exchange experience.
A journalist based in Tashkent, Louiza Atabayeva, was wearing a headscarf for a week and told what it was like to hold business meetings, travel by underground, meet boyfriend’s friends and hear personal insults when you wear a headscarf.
«Uzbekistan’s foreign policy under Mirziyoyev follows the course set by Karimov in 2012 and will continue to do so at least for the next 5 years. There any many changes that are indeed significant, but they mostly refer to how Uzbekistan goes about achieving its foreign policy objectives rather than what those objectives are», – independent researcher Nurbek Bekmurzaev notes in his article written specifically for the analytical platform cabar.asia.