Natan Sharansky on Uzbekistan

by Laurence on 6/6/2005 · 2 comments

President George W. Bush’s favorite philosopher of democracy reportedly supports Karimov’s tough stance against Islamist terrorists according to this May 27, 2005 article in The Forward:

In Israel, one key supporter of Uzbekistan has been Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet refusenik who until recently was minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora affairs.

In an interview with the Israeli daily Novosti Nedeli last August, Sharansky said that terrorism threats were a reminder that Karimov’s uncompromising stance against extremists was justified, according to the BBC monitoring service.

“The Uzbek government adopted such an uncompromising position because it is understood in Tashkent, in the same way as Jerusalem, that the battle against terrorism is not some sort of tribal conflict; it is a world war of the forces of democracy against international terrorism,” Sharansky was quoted as saying. He added, “It goes without saying that the strengthening, development and defense of democracy in Uzbekistan are an important part of the struggle for human rights all over the world. However, it would be a mistake to believe that the democratization process could be speeded up by way of slander and defaming the courageous struggle that Uzbekistan is waging against terrorism.”

Sharansky could not be reached for further comment.

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Nathan June 6, 2005 at 3:48 pm

Which isn’t to say we know what his current position on the country or the violence in Andijon is since this statement comes from before a chain of anti-government protests that had to do with economic issues.

We also don’t know if this includes supporting the arrest and lynching of democracy activists, or if he uncritically accepts that everyone Uzbek authorities arrest as Islamic extremists actually are.

Mark Hamm June 7, 2005 at 12:13 am

The current Uzbek government is a ‘force for democracy’? That would be hard to argue even before Andijon.

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