Evening Updates

by Nathan Hamm on 5/14/2005 · 10 comments

The consensus that I seem to get from today’s reporting:

  • Hundreds were killed in Andijan
  • Additional protests today were not stopped
  • Thousands are trying to get across the border into Kyrgyzstan. The bridge to Kara-Su has been rebuilt and those fleeing raised hell on the Uzbek side of the border Ilichevsk. I can’t tell if people are trying to cross elsewhere
  • Security forces plan to move on Ilichevsk (though I’ve not seen Western press mention this. Lyndon pointed out this story)

Lyndon continues to have lots of great posts.

The OSCE has issued a statement on the violence and offered to help in any way it can.

RIA reported that convicts tried to sneak into Kyrgyzstan among those fleeing Uzbekistan.

RFE/RL is collecting all of its coverage on on page.

Another Peace Corps Volunteer comments. The author lives near Shakhrisabz.

Veronica Khokhlova has a great post on Ferghana.ru, one of the best sources for original reporting on Uzbekistan.

IWPR has background and Galima Bukharbaeva’s first-hand account of Friday in Andijon.

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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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julia May 14, 2005 at 6:03 pm

I’ve been following events in Andizhan as best I can, and I was wondering if anyone could answer a couple of questions I have. Firstly, is Andizhan an isolated incident in Central Asia, or part of a trend? Basically, are there going to be more protests such as this in the future? Also, does the US conduct any democracy related activities in Uzbekistan, such as financing a newspaper press as it did in Kyrgyzstan? I would really appreciate any replies! Thanks.

Katy May 14, 2005 at 6:04 pm

Nathan, thanks so much for the round-the-clock updates!

Katy May 14, 2005 at 6:08 pm

2004 U.S. Assistance to Uzbekistan: http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/35992.htm

Democracy Programs $15.7 million
Economic and Social Reform $21.2 million
Security & Law Enforcement $10.7 million
Humanitarian Assistance $2.0 million
Cross Sectoral Initiatives $1.0 million


ssistance. The United States has provided significant humanitarian and technical assistance to Uzbekistan. The U.S. has provided technical support to Uzbekistan’s efforts to restructure its economy and to improve its environment and health care system, provided support to nascent NGOs, and provided equipment to improve water availability and quality in the Aral Sea region. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section, the U.S. Government supports educational and professional exchanges and other programs that offer Uzbeks the opportunity to study in the United States and to establish professional contacts with their American counterparts. In FY 2002 and 2003, the United States provided roughly $219.8 and $87.4 million, respectively, in humanitarian aid, technical assistance, military-to-military funding, and microcredit support in Uzbekistan. These programs were designed to promote market reform and to establish a foundation for an open, prosperous, democratic society.

USAID provides both technical and humanitarian assistance. Technical assistance to Uzbekistan promotes sound fiscal and management policies, improved private business operations, a competitive private sector, citizens’ participation in political and economic decision making, improved sustainability of social benefits and services, private investment in the energy sector, reduced environmental risks to public health, and other multi-sector reform programs. Programs include business training, subsidies for business development, environmental education, and environmental preservation programs. The latter includes the Aral Sea/Regional Water Cooperation program involving the Interstate Council for the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, waste minimization demonstration programs, and the National Environmental Action Plan. The USAID/CAR/Uzbekistan water program is aimed at improving water management on both national and local levels, concentrating efforts on sustainable development of the water users’ associations (WUAs). The USAID/CAR/ Uzbekistan health program focuses on 4 chief needs: primary health care reform, infectious disease control, drug demand reduction, and maternal and child health/reproductive health (MCH/RH). The USAID Participation and Education Knowledge Strengthening Program (PEAKS) began in January 2003, focusing on 5 major aspects of the education system: in-service teacher training, school-based curriculum development, parent and community involvement in the decision making, management, and technical capacity at all levels of the education system; and rehabilitation of school infrastructure. In addition to PEAKS pilot schools, more than 100 schools across Uzbekistan received over 1,000 computers from USAID, with more than half of these schools obtaining Internet connections.

Lyndon May 15, 2005 at 12:31 am

Nathan, the largest estimate of deaths I’d be comfortable using at the moment is 200. There are not really any confirmed reports (by which I mean, a reporter saw and photographed or counted that number of bodies) even of 200 dead, though, and some Western media seem to be backing down from the higher figures – http://scrapsofmoscow.blogspot.com/2005/05/ok-so-what-really-happened.html

Also, I’ve just translated the latest from Kara-Suu – according to RIA Novosti, things have “normalized” there. Take it with a grain of salt if you will, but it’s the only news out there on the situation that’s been updated since last night – http://scrapsofmoscow.blogspot.com/2005/05/situation-in-kara-suu-normal-ria.html

david l May 15, 2005 at 2:31 am

check out Bagila Bukharbaeva’s report on AP giving 500 dead based on talking to a local doctor – she’s a careful journalist, and was in Andijan until everyone was thrown out, and apart from the fluff her editors put in, has been doing a great job. Its still second-hand of course. HR activists in Andijan are also putting out figures in high hundreds or even I’ve heard 2,500 (!), but that is clearly impossible. There is usually exaggeration of figures because of shock and double counting, etc but clearly this is going to make Aksy look like a picnic.

Anyone in Tashkent know if US embassy is finally going to make a statement? ‘No comment’ from White House on Saturday seems a pretty inadequate response.

Matt W May 15, 2005 at 9:49 am

Wow, it’s great that we’re doing German now too. Anyone for Esperanto just to make things simpler?

Many (but not all) independent human rights activists in Uzbekistan tend to hyperbolize shamelessly (check out the Fergana.ru forums for the universe many of them live in– useful for info and interesting, but must be taken with about a kilogram of salt), so I’ve been even suspect of figures from highly-regarded news outlets that refer to their source as something along the lines of “a human rights activist in Andijon”.

Like so much else here, we’ll probably never know.

Eric May 15, 2005 at 12:11 pm

Uzbek human rights organizations in the past have certainly been desperate for attention. Higher figures also make for better news. It would be a shame though for many of those organizations (HR or news oriented) to use this one big shot to blow their credability.
I for one was pretty disturbed by an account or two that has bounced around about soldiers “finishing off the wounded.”
(like this one that reuters got from somewhere: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L15228509.htm)
Shooting into a crowd is one thing, i can see conscripts or regulars doing that. Plugging the wounded is altogeather scarier.
There were some reports of special forces back in the mess of reporting about the militiray activity. Putting both these, admitedly sketchy, reports togeather makes me wonder about how the Uzbek military is structured for this sort of thing. Seems to me like they would want some SMB or special units that would preform in a realiable, scary, and generally un-Kyrgyrs militsya way.

Jim H. May 15, 2005 at 8:19 pm

Nathan- The West is having a difficult time with reporting this story. To the West it seems like they heard President Karimov’s comments and they heard “Islamic Militants blamed for attacks” and then decided that this must be a terrorist sponsored uprising. I just heard FOXNews talk about the “jailed Islamic militants”.

I also don’t believe that people have let this high number of deaths on Friday sink in. If 500 is accurate(?) that would be huge percent of those present at the protest killed on Friday… something like 10-25%!

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