A Disorganized Collection of Updates

by Nathan Hamm on 5/14/2005 · 8 comments

Ferghana.ru has loads of coverage in Russian. Here’s a link that might work for non-Russian speakers who want to keep an eye on the site. Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out Scraps of Moscow for excellent coverage and loads of translations. Lyndon’s Russian is much better than mine and he’s doing a great job keeping track of all the Russian-language news sites.

Dee Warren was evacuated from Andijon yesterday and has updates here, here, and here.

More protesters have assembled in the center of Andijon (machine translation). On the BBC last night, they reported that protesters were calling troops murderers. The Scotsman has a report as well. A spokesman called for a more democratic government. It kind of bothers me that the State Department has made statements calling for more representative government in the past, but is too skittish at the moment. It’s not as if our relations with the Uzbek government are at an all-time high right now, and it would certainly mean a lot for someone to say not just that Uzbek citizens want more democracy but that we think they should get it.

President Karimov has blamed Islamists for the violence and said that some of the gunmen escaped into Kyrgyzstan.

The president of Uzbekistan said fierce clashes in Andizhan, a large city in eastern Uzbekistan, had been orchestrated by Hizb ut Tahrir (the Islamic Liberation Party that has branches in many countries). “Those who seized the administration building in Andizhan are members of Hizb ut Tahrir’s local branch, Akramia,” president Islam Karimov told a news conference in Tashkent. Karimov said he had held talks with the man leading the group that had seized the administration building, who had declined to give his name.

This Forum 18 article gives reason to believe that there isn’t a connection between Akramiya and HT. But, each side definitely has a strong stake in what they are saying, so I advise skepticism of claims from either side.

Hizb ut-Tahrir denies the connection as they usually do. Though I believe that the nature of the unrest is sufficiently economic as to make it almost pointless to talk about what Islamic group is to blame, it’s important to remember that because of the way HT operates, there’s no way that London would know either way if an Uzbek cell was to blame.

Some reports indicate that hundreds have been killed.

AFP says that 600 Uzbeks have forced their way into Kyrgyzstan. Is this Ilichevsk? I got an email saying that protesters had seized a city on the border and that Kyrgyz troops were on the border trying to keep people out. Ferghana.ru (machine translation) seems to confirm this and says that local authorities have joined the people.

Journalists have been expelled from Andijon (Russian). Zaman has the story in English.

Almost forgot to mention that there was a protest outside the Uzbek embassy in Bishkek (Lyndon heard via Meder). Looking at the pictures, it seems Kel Kel was involved.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

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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david_walther May 14, 2005 at 11:04 am

ILICHEVSK is the name of the Uzbek side of Kora Su. It was one city during the USSR, and officially now the Uzbek half is Ilichevsk and Kora Su is the Kyrgyz half. They are seperated by a river, but residents have built a bridge over it today and are crossing freely from one side to the other.

Lyndon May 14, 2005 at 11:12 am

David, thank you, that answers the question I posed in the comment on an earlier post here. I figured something like that would be the answer on the city names, but the news about the spontaneous bridge-building and border-crossing is interesting indeed. What do you make of it? Maybe, as Eric suggested, it’s just practical traders trying to get their “tovar” to market and unable to cross at the usual border crossings?

david_walther May 14, 2005 at 11:22 am

I sent an article from RIA to Nathan that I’d hoped he would post—it’s from a few hours ago, it said that about 500 people crossed the border from Kara Su to participate in the protest that was happening in the center of the city. At last word, the city was fully under control of protesters, who have set various government buildings on fire and are holding the hokim (governor).

Nathan May 14, 2005 at 11:32 am

Post the link again. I had a million emails this morning and what you sent me either went to another story or I lost it in the mix 🙂

GweiLo May 14, 2005 at 11:45 am
Lyndon May 14, 2005 at 2:18 pm

Veronica of Neeka’s Backlog has a very interesting item from NTV about Ferghana.ru: http://vkhokhl.blogspot.com/2005/05/story-about-ferghana.html

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