Ferghana.Ru Costs More Than Porno

by Laurence on 6/1/2005 · 11 comments


According to this photographic evidence found on Ferghana.ru, from a Tashkent internet cafe…

Following is from Nathan
For our readers who don’t know Russian, here’s my less-than-stellar translation for the orange-ish highlighted part:

Fines for violations of the rules:

  • Viewing porno sites — 5,000 so’m!
  • Intentional damage of computers — 20,000 so’m
  • Viewing political sites such as ferghana.ru, centrasia, and the like is categorically forbidden! Fine 10,000 so’m!

I wonder if Registan.net is “the like.” If so, I further wonder if our new tagline should be “More harmful than porno!”

In the Ferghana.ru story, the staff thanks Uzbek authorities and businesspeople for such an effective, free advertising campaign.


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{ 9 comments }

Julia June 1, 2005 at 9:18 pm

for those of us who don’t know, what’s the sum to dollar ratio these days?

Nathan June 1, 2005 at 10:29 pm

NBU’s website says they buy dollars at 1105 and sell at 1107. That’s higher than I thought it would be.

They even have a neat graphing tool on their website.

david_walther June 2, 2005 at 3:07 am

great post, laurence, this is a real gem.

nathan, the rates have been climbing about 5 so’m a week for the last few months… I don’t konw if they are going to actually let it float (slowly) to its real value, or if they are just reflecting the recovery of the dollar that’s finally happened. i guess we’ll just have to see how far it finally goes. the climb is nice on one hand, but there has been quite a bit of inflation on common products and basic food stuffs over the last two months too–hard to say whether it’s because of the rate climb, or the rate climb is because of the inflation (which would also be something new).

if anybody gets ahold of either some new economic surveys or an actual policy statement somewhere, i’d love to see them…

sorry, that was a bit of a tangent… again, it was a great post. i don’t go to internet cafes very often but i’ll keep my eyes out to see how many more little signs like that i see. i think all cafes are required to put up a sign that says roughly “viewing antigovernment propoganda is strictly forbidden” but i’ve never actually seen one that mentions sites by name yet.

Peter June 2, 2005 at 4:04 am

Well, I’m writing this from an Internet cafe in Tashkent and there seem to be no limitations on content viewing. The fine described above sounds like a money-making scheme more than anything. The computer I am at now has blocked access to ferghana.ru, though I can still look at IWPR, Eurasianet, and the BBC (which is still sometimes blocked in some places in the city).
Interestingly, these limitations were almost inexistent in Bukhara, where I was last week. You could read anything you wanted in all of the Internet cafes I visited there, and I went to a fair number.
As for the som, the currency seems remarkably resilient considering its historic form and the recent troubles. It is no more erratic in the downward trend than the ruble is in the upward direction. As it happens, the most serious problem with soms is finding the damned things. Yesterday alone I went to eight exchange bureaus and two banks, all “bez somov”.

Peter June 2, 2005 at 5:47 am

Oh, and here’s an interesting piece by Christopher Hitchens on a topic argued exhaustively on your site;

http://www.slate.com/id/2120004/

david_walther June 2, 2005 at 11:48 am

peter—

the so’m is as “resilant” as the central bank wants it to be—the value is not set by the market.

Matt W. June 3, 2005 at 1:59 am

Yeah– This is good news for the black market in Tashkent — for those who put a premium on convenience, buying so’ms at a worse-than-official rate is suddenly looking more attractive. As of Wednesday, one could buy for 1050 — losing .05 to the dollar, but saving on the time and taxi fare it would take to drive around town to find so’ms. For over a year the black market so’m rate has been almost identical to the official rate (in Tashkent– Valley is somewhat different) and now it looks as though they are back in business, at least in the short-term until those Andijon pensions and military salaries get paid.

robert June 6, 2005 at 10:15 am

You folks in the States may be interested in a
little known fact about the police state of Uzbekistan. The local banks have no money. Government decides on a day to day basics to stop the buying and selling of local currency.
A political decision to keep people here poor.

Igor M.Shenblyat June 28, 2005 at 9:57 pm

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