United Uzbek Opposition

by Nathan Hamm on 1/11/2007

So, members of Uzbek opposition parties who seek democracy in Uzbekistan got together in Sweden and agreed to work together against Karimov’s government. At the meeting were people from Birlik, Erk, and “other parties and movements.”

Given how well they’ve all worked together in the past, it should come as no surprise that the agreement to work together is not so simply about opposing Karimov.

Yet again Uzbek opposition members called on all the opposition forces to unite and arrived at one opinion that the chairman of the Birlik party, Abdurahim Pulatov, was an obstacle to this.

His latest escapades such as justifying the Uzbek authorities’ move to crush a rally in Andijan in 2005, attacks on the leader of the Erk party, Muhammad Salih, and endless moves to curry favour and ingratiate the regime in Tashkent were condemned by the conference, including members of his party who raised the issue of relieving him of the post of party leader.

This hardly inspires confidence that everyone will stay on task… A suggestion from a Birlik member though, appears quite useful. Muhiddin Kurbanov suggested that opposition members outside the country should work with those inside Uzbekistan for a common plan of action. But, as involved as the opposition needs to be with people actually inside the country, the stated goal of the united forces, overthrowing the current system, will likely only inspire a tighter clampdown on those brave few activists still working in the country.

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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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