Scratching Backs

by Nathan Hamm on 8/14/2006 · 2 comments

Free Uzbekistan’s website has been shut down. It has now moved to a new address where one can find a statement about the closure and move.

Russian authorities have closed the independent human rights site “Free Uzbekistan.” In place of the site http://freeuzbekistan.com/ is a strange notice that the site allegedly has not been paid. This information does not correspond with reality as the domain has been bought through the 22 of April 2007, which can be seen by looking at the information about registration held by an independent organization http://reports.internic.net/cgi/whois?.whois_.nic=.freeuzbekistan.com&.type=.domain.

Four years ago, when the project started, relations between Russia and Uzbekistan were more than cool. Uzbekistan was friends with America. The media of each country slung mud at one another. We chose to host the site in Russia mostly for the Russian language interface for management of the site.


Then came the turn of independent sites which are hosted in Russia. It became known from confidential sources that the real reason for closing the site “Free Uzbekistan” is its political activities, which allegedly “undermines the constitutional order…,” “kindles dissent…,” “defames the name and merit…” In general, the full boquet of absurd charges which are leveled at the opposition, which is already judged and condemned in Uzbekistan.

The editorial site of the independent website “Free Uzbekistan” declares that it will not waver against the pressure of authoritarian regimes and will continue its activity.

Actions to restore the site are underway at the new address: http://afreeuzb.com

Our fight has not ended, it has only begun!

There is a big difference between paying one’s registrar and paying one’s hosting bills. I pay my registrar once per year or two for each of my domains. I pay my host every month.

Nevertheless, that Russia might shut down the website of vocal critics of the Uzbek government is not entirely unthinkable. It has done other things to please Tashkent lately, after all.


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This post was written by...

– 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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{ 2 comments }

Brian August 14, 2006 at 9:07 pm

It is a badge of honor to get shut down by the government? One the one hand the website gains some “street cred”, one the other hand it’s shut down.

Sanjar August 15, 2006 at 12:48 pm

From the USA, how does one regsiter domains with “.uz” ? Just curious.

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