Uzbek Protest Roundup

by Nathan Hamm on 5/8/2005 · 1 comment

Throughout the week, we’ve had a number of posts on the protest at the US embassy in Tashkent by relatives and friends of Bakhodir Choriyev demanding that the Uzbek government return farmland seized from them. Choriyev’s farm and business was quite successful, and it appears that authorities seized his property for this reason.

Here is a collectin of our coverage:

Since about November of last year, there have been a number of protests in Uzbekistan. Bazaar merchants rioted in Kokand, forcing police to turn tail. Authorities nipped a protest in the bud in the Ferghana Valley more recently. There have also recently been protests in Jizzakh over land confiscation and nonpayment for crops. Additionally, there have been a number of smaller protests in the capital.

The grievances behind each of these protests have been economic. On the one hand, this is welcome news. No one has been calling for a new caliphate to cure their ills. But at the same time, this suggests that the inability or unwillingness of the Uzbek government to create more favorable economic conditions is a more durable source of instability than Islamism (though Islamism certainly still is a risk). It’s not as if the Uzbek government doesn’t know it needs to reform the economy, but one must wonder whether or not the pace of reforms is erring too much on the side of caution to head off widespread economic discontent.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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