links for 2006-01-31

by Nathan Hamm on 1/30/2006 · 6 comments


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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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{ 6 comments }

Juniper January 31, 2006 at 4:26 am

I have noticed over the past couple of months a shift in the currency black market in Uzbekistan. I was hoping one of you brainiacs could do a reasonable job of explaining it to me.

I have lived in Uzbekistan for 6 years now and originally they had an Official Rate, Bank Rate, and the Black Market. Back in 2000 you could at times find a 40% difference. Around 2002 the black market pretty much dried up and there was only a bank rate.

Ive noticed a revival of the black market the past couple months. It started out as a small margin of difference from the official bank rate, but has now grown to about 6%.

I have heard enough local rumors to write a book, was wondering if anyone had any insight into the real reason.

Rustam January 31, 2006 at 6:07 am

Regarding the Karimov’s birthday – he is actually 68 not 58 as it says in the article. As always Putin is cautious not to seem endorsing Karimov absolutely, his style is typical KGB style, total endorsement behind the curtains. You should have read the comments posted regarding this news in centrasia.ru.
Here is the most extreme but the one in my opinion fully expresses general sentiment of the people of Uzbekistan: “I do very much hope that You will find a place where You will be buried (after Your death) and where You will be able to lie in peace at least for some time. I hope that You are not wasting Your time for this in Uzbekistan, because there people will always dig Your body out in the same way as in that film “Obedience””.

David L January 31, 2006 at 9:43 am

would be interested to hear some of the local rumours?? the black market was always heavily controlled by the government/mafia, so I’m sure its not completely accidental. I would have thought though that 6% was a reasonable premium to avoid the tiresome necessity of dealing with an Uzbek bank and retaining some anonymity.

Brian January 31, 2006 at 2:51 pm

Can you still change money on the street easily in Uzbekistan? Back in 2003 when I was there the black market (more accurately, free market) rate was approaching the official rate, but there were still lots of money changers. I figured they would still be in business since getting the banks to do anything special for you in Uzbekistan (such as withdraw your own money) is like pulling teeth.

Nathan January 31, 2006 at 4:49 pm

You can change money in the banks? 😉

Brian January 31, 2006 at 7:56 pm

I actually had to do it once, but had to wait almost a week until the bank had enough money… you can’t expect banks to have ~50,000 sum.

Maybe it was a stupid question, of course the street changers are still there. Better service AND confidentiality, it can’t be beat!

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