18 september 2014

Central Asia news: Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan: “You need to die to reach Sokh”

Uzbekistan: “You need to die to reach Sokh”

24.01.2013 09:55 msk Ferghana Valley Uzbekistan

The Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in the Fergana Valley remains closed and inaccessible on both sides. The status quo leaves citizens of respective countries a few choices to deal with it and resolve daily issues: buying food, trade, and observing religious rituals. Several visitors of the Fergana website and other voluntary informants told us about their life in blockade. It appears that despite tensions between Tashkent and Bishkek and the stalemate over the exact location of borderlines, local authorities, border guards, and businessmen are able to negotiate and compromise even in extreme situations. Apparently people learned how to live with each other and deal with day-to-day issues despite the conflicts at the highest echelons of power several hundred kilometers away…

Song for Dad, or Gulnara’s off-pitch

Song for Dad, or Gulnara’s off-pitch

27.12.2012 12:58 msk Analytics Uzbekistan

Many observers have noticed that the Uzbek president’s oldest daughter has started coming out in the media, on TV screens and on the internet more and more often. Whether she has started some new stage in her PR campaign, and what aims the Uzbek princess is following is yet unknown. Maybe she just likes being in the centre of public attention, under the spotlight… Some experts and political scientists have a different viewpoint. They see Gulnara Islamovna on her father’s place and are almost announcing her as the country’s future president. People say that there are no more deserving heirs, that the Asian model of passing power assumes dynasty, and Gulnara is exactly the one who can unite warring factions etc…

Uzbekistan 2012 Cotton Harvest: Continued State-Sponsored Forced Labor of Children and Adults

Uzbekistan 2012 Cotton Harvest: Continued State-Sponsored Forced Labor of Children and Adults

24.12.2012 10:51 msk Cotton Uzbekistan

The 2012 cotton harvest in Uzbekistan has concluded, and the system of forced labor of cotton production remained the same as in previous years. December 20, 2012, the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights and the Cotton Campaign released the Review of the 2012 Cotton Harvest, which explains that implementation of the forced labor system was carried out with a demographic shift to older children and more adults, accompanied with an unprecedented scale of corruption. The Review presents observations by human rights defenders throughout Uzbekistan, and highlights the following disturbing trends: continued forced child labor despite a demographic shift of the burden to older children, intensified forced labor of adults, continued rejection of independent monitoring, continued harassment of Uzbek citizens who attempted to monitor, and increased extraction of financial and other resources from Uzbek citizens by government authorities.

Andrew Stroehlein: Letter to Gulnara Karimova

Andrew Stroehlein: Letter to Gulnara Karimova

12.12.2012 16:50 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

After an exchange on Twitter with Gulnara Karimova, Andrew Stroehlein, Communications Director at International Crisis Group, has written an open letter to the daughter of the Uzbek president. He highlights human rights violations, including the lack of political freedom and imprisonment of civil society activists, torture, forced labour, the Andijan massacre and restrictions on freedom of expression. Andrew Stroehlein calls on Gulnara Karimova as Uzbekistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva to address these issues.

Uzbek government Vice President – Rustam Azimov: successor or scape goat?

Uzbek government Vice President – Rustam Azimov: successor or scape goat?

12.12.2012 13:50 msk Politics Uzbekistan

It seems that nobody actually believes that free and fair elections will ever take place in Central Asia. On the other hand, it is still totally unclear, how the power change will happen in some of the authoritarian countries. Will Nazarbayev, Karimov and Rahmon, who have been ruling for twenty and more years, rule until their last days, like Niyazov-Turkmenbashi? Or will they prefer to choose a handover mechanism of their privatized post to a trusted person while they are still living, like the Yeltsin-Putin scenario of 1999?

Human Rights Watch: Free Uzbek Political Prisoners on Constitution Day

Human Rights Watch: Free Uzbek Political Prisoners on Constitution Day

06.12.2012 11:47 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

The Uzbek government should unconditionally release all of its political prisoners on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the country’s constitution on December 8, 2012, human rights groups said today. Freeing the country’s many political prisoners would demonstrate a genuine commitment to Uzbekistan’s much-touted reform process, the groups said. The nine groups are Human Rights Watch, Freedom Now, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, the International Partnership for Human Rights, the International Association for Human Rights Defense “Fiery Hearts Club,” PEN American Center, ACAT-France, and the International Federation for Human Rights.

Gulnara Karimova and film: Gerard Depardieu as the latest whim of the Uzbek princess

Gulnara Karimova and film: Gerard Depardieu as the latest whim of the Uzbek princess

03.12.2012 21:28 msk Uzbekistan

World famous film star Gerard Depardieu has visited Uzbekistan. The actor visited Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand from 26 to 29 November. It seems that the visit made a bright impression on the sixty year old actor. He noted the “unbelievable scenery, richness and a sort of calm in everything” and called Uzbekistan a “country with a great nation.” At least, this is how the Tashkent media quotes Depardieu. Rumours have now been confirmed that Depardieu will participate in a film project started by the daughter of the Uzbek president Gulnara Karimova. It is a historical teleseries called “Kidnapping of the white cocoon” dedicated to the story of the creation and distribution of silk.

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia: There are more than 2,000 political prisoners in Uzbekistan

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia: There are more than 2,000 political prisoners in Uzbekistan

30.11.2012 00:07 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, visited Kyrgyzstan for the first time on 28 November. Human rights activists have been preparing for her visit in advance. The situation of political prisoners’ situation became the main topic in the messages sent by human rights activists. On 22 November, Human Rights Watch, a leading international human rights organisation, called Catherine Ashton to publically demand the liberation of illegally imprisoned activists, who are languishing in local prisons. Nadejda Ataeva, leader of the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, based in France, which is at one with HRW’s request, talked about the situation of political prisoners held in Uzbek prisons in an interview with NBC Central Asia. The shortened version of the interview is published on the IWPR website.

Obidhon Nazarov, imam shot in Sweden, is recovering and Uzbeks leave Stromsund

Obidhon Nazarov, imam shot in Sweden, is recovering and Uzbeks leave Stromsund

19.10.2012 09:56 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

An attempt on the life of Uzbek imam Obidhon-kori Nazarov took place on 22 February 2012 in Stromsund, Sweden. The Uzbek community in Stromsund believes that the imam has been an eyesore for the Tashkent authorities and has called on the imam to be vigilant. The attempted murderer shot the imam at the door of his home, since then, the imam has been in a coma, but is gradually recovering. “Our father is unconscious, but the doctors have said that the danger has passed and his wound is healing,” said the imam’s son Dovud. However, he said that the healing process may take a long time. The doctors have also not given an estimate for the imam’ recovery time. Dovud Nazarov comes to the hospital every day, and sometimes spends an entire day by his father’s bed. The doctors explained it is possible that Obid Nazarov hears and understands those who are near him, but cannot answer them yet.

Investigation: What happened to TeliaSonera in Uzbekistan?

Investigation: What happened to TeliaSonera in Uzbekistan?

15.10.2012 11:03 msk Business Uzbekistan

Communications company TeliaSonera has been shaken by a big scandal. A film shown on Swedish TV voiced suspicions that the management of this well known and large group of companies is involved in bribing powerful people and using corrupt business methods, in particular in regard to their Uzbekistan operations. The Swedish authorities reacted to the film quickly, and their police and independent auditors began an investigation, aiming to find out the legality of TeliaSonera’s deals to purchase companies in Uzbekistan. Following the initiative of their Swedish colleagues, Fergana has also decided to try to uncover the details of this curious and cautionary tale.

US Ambassador in Uzbekistan George Krol:

US Ambassador in Uzbekistan George Krol: "We recognize democracy may develop and look differently in Uzbekistan."

25.09.2012 10:51 msk Interview Uzbekistan

In recent months and years the political and economic cooperation between the US and Uzbekistan has been developing actively. This arouses lively interest and even some worry in other countries’ governments, and is a subject of discussion in the press and a reason for rumours amongst experts. Fergana interviewed US Ambassador to Uzbekistan George Krol. An experienced diplomat, Mr Krol avoided answering almost every question, moving away from the topic or swapping answers for quotations from press releases from the State Department. However, the ambassador of any country is not going to be the person to say exactly what he is thinking. He gives voice to the official position of the country whhich he represents. This position differs widely from the one that people who connect America to hopes of a swift democratic change in Uzbekistan want to hear.

Gayane Avakyan and TeliaSonera or Swedish Krona for Googoosha

Gayane Avakyan and TeliaSonera or Swedish Krona for Googoosha

21.09.2012 09:49 msk Business Uzbekistan

On 19 September a Swedish public television current affairs program called Mission: Investigate (Uppdrag granskning) by journalists Sven Bergman, Joachim Dyfvermarkand and Fredrik Laurin, reported on Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera’s entrance to Uzbekistan. According to the programme, TeliaSonera paid $320 million to Gibraltar-based company Takilant Ltd, a “local Uzbek partner”, in exchange for 3G licenses and a series of Uzbek phone numbers, which allowed it to start operating in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan: renaissance of street crime in previously safe Tashkent

Uzbekistan: renaissance of street crime in previously safe Tashkent

20.09.2012 01:30 msk Human Rights Uzbekistan

Only a few years ago, Tashkent was seen as quite a safe and happy city: you could go for an evening stroll in most neighbourhoods. It is now obvious to many that street crime is undergoing a renaissance, with crimes becoming more organised and dangerous. Even the city police itself has stopped fulfilling its function of public order defender, and police “protection” of street crime is becoming a widespread trend. For more, read more in an article by Fergana observer Maxim Baylis.

MTS Uzbekistan court case: “Faster, faster!”

MTS Uzbekistan court case: “Faster, faster!”

14.09.2012 13:48 msk Business Uzbekistan

The case of Uzdunrobita, the Uzbekistan subsidiary of MTS, is swiftly moving towards the finish line. The hearings began on 27 August, and only in two weeks, the court managed to question all the participants and witnesses and publish case materials. Yesterday, on 12 September, oral arguments took place in the Tashkent city criminal court. Apart from absurd accusations about creating criminal groups to draw out capital, the managers of the company are accused of the regional subsidiaries operating without licenses. As Fergana discovered, the branch structure of the organisation was created by its previous owners and one of the most influential people in the country was directly involved in implementing it. It was most likely the same person who is hurrying the court and stands behind the seizure of the successful Russian business.

Uzbekistan: Parents sent to the cotton fields instead of their children

Uzbekistan: Parents sent to the cotton fields instead of their children

11.09.2012 22:58 msk Cotton Uzbekistan

The Eighth International Uzbek Cotton and Textile Fair is taking place in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) on 17 to 18 October and Uzbekistan’s official media reports that it will be attended by world traders. According to the critics of Islam Karimov’s regime, which has been sending the republic’s unfortunate citizens to “help” the farmers since Soviet times, Western countries are gradually turning away from Uzbekistan’s “white gold” because of the use of forced child and teenage labourers.

Other news

Media headlines

The Guardian Uzbekistan's first daughter 'pictured under house arrest', 16.09.2014

London South East Oxus Gold Loss Widens As It Awaits Outcome Of Uzbekistan Arbitration, 15.09.2014

Deutsche Welle Central Asia's intensifying water dispute, 12.09.2014

The Guardian Uzbekistan's autocratic ruler may have found a way to silence his daughter, 09.09.2014

AAN Taleban Closing in on the City: The next round of the tug-of-war over Kunduz, 02.09.2014

Tengri News Kazakhstan may leave EEU if its interests are infringed: Nazarbayev, 31.08.2014

The Long War Journal Senior IMU leader captured by ISAF in 2011 now leads fight in northern Afghanistan, 31.08.2014

Arab Daily News Farmers protest Turkish economic policies, 31.08.2014

N.Atayeva's blog Kyrgyzstan: an attack on a basis of ethnicity, 29.08.2014

Norwegian Helsinki Committee Security Services sue independent journalist, 25.08.2014

Long War Journal Quetta airbase attacks carried out by Pakistani Taliban, IMU, 18.08.2014

New York Times Youth in Iran: Inside and Out, 16.08.2014

Today's Zaman President Erdoğan and the new Turkey, 11.08.2014

The Guardian Uzbekistan's feuding first family and the mystery of the president's missing daughter, 18.07.2014

Hurriyet The making of Turkey’s Gezi protests, 10.07.2014

Al Jazeera Uzbek leader remains jailed in Kyrgyzstan, 09.07.2014

EurasiaNet Uzbekistan: Minorities Taking Advantage of New Russian Citizenship Rules, 09.07.2014

Asia Times Karimov and Nazarbaev: 25 years on top, 27.06.2014

HRW UN Human Rights Council: Rights Defenders Behind Bars in Uzbekistan, 24.06.2014

Pakistan Observer Operation Zarb-i-Azb, 23.06.2014

Al Jazeera Can a homegrown university in authoritarian Kazakhstan incubate reform?, 20.06.2014

Middle East Online Thousands protest in Vienna against Erdogan visit, 19.06.2014

The Economist Pensions in Central Asia: Old and cold, 19.06.2014

Long War Journal US drones strike in North Waziristan, kill 6 'militants', 19.06.2014

RFE/RL Whereabouts Of Man Detained By Tajik Authorities Remain Unknown, 17.06.2014

NEWEUROPE About some trans-border problems in Central Asia, 16.06.2014

New York Times Afghans, Looking Ahead to U.S. Withdrawal, Vote With Guarded Optimism, 15.06.2014

Mining Global Centerra Gold Receives Approval from Kyrgyzstan for 2014 Mine Plan, 13.06.2014

Eurasianet Tajikistan’s Cash Cow: Enough Milk to Go Around?, 13.06.2014

RFE/RL Google Services Inaccessible In Tajikistan, 13.06.2014

The Guardian Suspected US drone strike kills 10 militants in north-west Pakistan, 13.06.2014

Carnegie.Ru Uzbek Terrorism: Myth or Reality?, 12.06.2014

Express Tribune Uzbek al Qaeda affiliate claims responsibility for Karachi airport siege, 11.06.2014

oDR Turkmenistan – where everything in the garden looks rosy, 06.06.2014

Global Post Russian company chief detained in Uzbekistan, 20.05.2014

HRW Exposing the Andijan MassacreMarch, 13.05.2014

Vice News Afghan Asylum Seekers in Turkey Are Sewing Their Lips Together in Protest, 10.05.2014

Eurasianet After Gazprom Takeover, Southern Kyrgyzstan Marks 24th Day Without Gas, 07.05.2014

TOL The Lost Sounds of Maqom, 07.05.2014

Forum 18 UZBEKISTAN: Another 5 year prison term for sermons in mobile, 04.05.2014


Vice News The Toxic Uzbek Town and Its Museum of Banned Soviet Art, 26.04.2014

Diplomat How Chinese Think About Terrorism, 19.04.2014

Interfax Beijing: Islamists control regional drug trafficking routes, 17.04.2014

Carnegie.Ru Will the Crimean Tatars Become Russia’s Headache?, 07.04.2014

Eurasianet Kazakhstan: Ex-Premier Makes Comeback in Choreographed Reshuffle, 03.04.2014

Guardian Sardar Ahmad: a courageous journalist who delivered exceptional coverage, 22.03.2014

Terror revisits Afghanistan Frontier Post, 21.03.2014

Carnegie.Ru The Russian Intervention in Crimea: Erdogan’s Dilemma, 15.03.2014

CNN Canada pulls out of Kabul as NATO winds down Afghan operations, 14.03.2014