Rotar Interview with Ferghana.Ru

by Nathan Hamm on 8/14/2005

Igor Rotar, who was officially deported from Uzbekistan after he refused to buy a ticket home of his own volition, gave an interview to Ferghana.Ru. It’s only in Russian at the moment, but an unusually bad machine translation can be found here.

At the end of the interview, Rotar says that as a Russian citizen he finds the behavior of the Russian embassy shameful when compared to that of the Swiss, Norwegian, and American embassies that also interceded on his behalf. He says an American representative arrived on five occasions throughout his detention.

UPDATE: Ferghana.Ru has posted their own English translation of the interview.

It was the Americans who defended me. An official of the US Embassy came on five occasions. He said afterwards that when they had called and demanded explanations, the men on the other end of the line replied that the matter was handled on a higher level and hang on. When I told the men who had detained me that it was stupid and could damage Uzbekistan’s image in the eyes of the West, they said that they did not give a damn. Before the events in Andizhan, Uzbekistan made at least a half-hearted effort not to encroach on human rights openly. Afterwards, after Andizhan and the demands to the Americans to withdraw their base, the authorities must have decided to do away with this camouflage. That’s how I see it. These alleged representatives of immigration services were very knowledgeable about my previous life in Tashkent. I had spent two years there. I’m convinced that my phone was tapped and I myself under surveillance. Still, they kept a low profile then. They make it plain now that they do not care about the West or its opinion, that they do not fear anything, and they will go to the end.

“You should appreciate how humane we are,” they told me. “After all, we did not let you cross the border. Had you crossed the border, it would have been instant arrest and criminal charges. You are lucky that our president abolished capital punishment…” Since I had always abided by the law, I asked what the charges would have been. “You’ll know when you cross the border,” they said.

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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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