Mahallas in Uzbekistan

by Anonymous on 8/12/2004 · 2 comments

According to this Russian language article in the site of Uzbekistan National News Agency, an official government body, which has also an English site, there are 9690 mahallas in Uzbekistan now. Though their role evolves in the current context, their main areas of action are community-based social welfare programs . They are fully integrated in Uzbekistan’s administrative structure. They are led by Aksakals, usually elders of the Mahalla who wield moral authority and are highly respected in their communities.

The point I would like to make with this article is about their possible role in building a civil society in Uzbekistan Any viable and sustainable change should be in conformity with people’s traditional values and mode of action, for this it should be based at the grassroots. And it is my belief that to have a more impact on everyday lives of ordinary Uzbeks, foreign assistance programs for economic reforms, democratisation and building a civil society should focus more on this particular institution of Uzbek society. Uzbek society is a collectivistic and very conformist one. Many Uzbeks do things not because they think it is the right thing to do, but because they think that this mode of action is not against the community and will be approved by the community. Mahalla institution is the only credible force and influential lever that has even a bigger though intangible influence on the Uzbek society than any ideology or religion.


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– author of 49 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Education 2003–2004 Master Degree in Developmental Studies (DESS “Gestion et dynamisation du développement”), The University of Pierre Mendès France of Grenoble, France 1998-2003 Bachelor Degree in International Economics, The University of World Economy and Diplomacy of Tashkent, Uzbekistan Work Experience 05/2004-08/2004 Researcher, The Economic Mission of France in Istanbul, Turkey 04/2003-09/2003 Research assistant and Translator in the UNDP project UZB 01/04 on institutional reinforcement of the Higher School of Business under the President of Uzbekistan 01/2003-04/2003 Interpreter, International Department, The Higher School of Business, Tashkent, Uzbekistan 09/2002-01/2003 English Language Junior Editor at the Journal “International Relations, Law and Economy” of the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Tashkent, Uzbekistan 06/2002-09/2002 Intern, CIS countries Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

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{ 2 comments }

Laurence August 12, 2004 at 9:43 am

Nathan, In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the URL for the Human Rights Watch report on mahallas:

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/uzbekistan0903/

Nathan August 12, 2004 at 10:35 am

Gotta give Alisher all the credit on this one.

I have seen complaints from human rights groups that mahallas are being used as neighborhood watches…

I have to mention that I love the word “aksakal.”

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