Pavlovsky Comes to Tashkent

by Nathan Hamm on 11/24/2006 · 2 comments

Gleb Pavlovsky, the delightful ideologist from Russia’s Foundation for Effective Politics, recently visited Tashkent to impart a bit of wisdom about how Uzbekistan can be a bit more like Russia, an authoritarian state with a semi-believable democratic facade.

A website run by Pavlovsky’s Foundation,, enumerated the topics as 1) Deepening the process of democratic, socioeconomic, and social and political reforms: the experience of Uzbekistan and Russia; 2) Current condition and prospects for development of democratic institutions and processes: the experience of Uzbekistan and Russia; and 3) Challenges and threats to the development of civil-society institutions and how to overcome them.

Unsurprisingly, there was a strong emphasis on the importance of the state, including the belief that civil society and the state are one, and that the former cannot be strong unless the latter is. Daniel Kimmage’s article details much more of the visit, and sums up the main point as reported in the Uzbek media.

The state must remain in firm control; democracy is whatever political system is described as democratic by an individual state in line with its officially recognized national traditions; outside involvement in internal affairs is unwelcome; and, finally, foreign media coverage that deviates from these postulates is not objective.

This little lovefest, full of Russian praise for the wisdom of Uzbek policy, should reveal to any of those in the West who hope for a renewal of relations with Uzbekistan (Ariel Cohen…) that democratization will absolutely not be part of the deal. Well, real democratization will not at least. Karimov has found a patron who supports his idea of democratization.

Kimmage also notes that a sub-theme of the meeting was displeasure with outside meddling, something that Uzbekistan expressed toward the US today.

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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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arrw November 25, 2006 at 1:57 pm

Allies in the war on terror like Spain. They got beat up in Iraq, Afghaistan, changed government and still cannot win. The Americans, media and the humanitarian groups who want cash for monitors in country make the US a pass. Better with Russia.

Kyrgyz Kid (Borat) December 5, 2006 at 4:56 am

Democracy should be an evolutionary process not revolutionary. One cannot bomb down other countries into democracy. Democracy was forced on Iraq, and what happened there? Country collapsed down into sectarian violence. What matters is that Uzbekistan is starting first tentative steps towards democracy. That’s what important.

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