Uzbekistan — Buyuk kelajak bo'lgan Davlat!

This blog is dedicated to providing rigorous analysis of current events in Uzbekistan. Debate and criticism are welcome, please inform me if you would like to offer a correction.


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Shavkat Mirziyoyev Chips Away at the Security State

Uzbekistan is, along with Turkmenistan, the post-Soviet state that has done the least to dismantle the expansive and oppressive security apparatus inherited from the USSR. With the new legislation passed on 23 September 2016, Uzbekistan may have taken another step towards eroding this edifice by establishing the first restrictions on the pervasive electronic surveillance which characterizes Uzbekistani society.
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Decision Uzbekistan

The dates have been set and candidates named for what will easily be the most momentous event in Uzbekistan political history since independence. Only a few times in each country’s history is there a clear and identifiable choice about the future, and the presidential elections scheduled for 4 December 2016 are one such opportunity. Most elections feature incumbents of one form or another, a path of the known that cautious voters can plant themselves on; this is not so for the December elections, where for the first time in Uzbekistani history, the country’s founder and former President, Islom Karimov, will not being competing. Although they rose to power within the Karimov administration, all four candidates are very different politicians from the late Mr. Karimov and represent major departures from the former president’s vision of Uzbekistan. Unlike past elections, in which the immense political capital of the first and only President overwhelmed political opposition and limited all rival candidates to below 10% of the national vote, the election held this December will have no clear winner and no predictable outcome. While there are many objections to declaring the elections ‘free’ — there is no indication that the Ministry of Justice will be anymore willing to register Islamist or Neoliberal parties than before Mr. Karimov’s passing — they will represent a genuine and ‘fair’ competition between four powerful elites of the political class for the support of the roughly 20 million voters expected to participate in the December elections.
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Prices Set for Cotton Procurement

The government of Uzbekistan officially announced the prices that O’zpaxtasanoat — the government stock company responsible for purchasing and processing the country’s “white gold” — will pay farmers for their crop. Although the company reserves the right to pay farmers more or less depending on the quality of the cotton produced, the price being paid for one kilogram of medium‐quality cotton is set at 285 so’m, an increase of 9% from the price paid last year. This changes in wages are extremely important in Uzbekistan, where approximately 20% of all arable land and slight less than that portion of the population is involved in cotton production, as millions of people are dependent on cotton procurement as their main source of income.
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Shavkat Mirziyoyev seeks political support abroad

Following his sidelining of several key ministers — Elyor G’aniev first among them — by creating alternative advisory and supervisory bodies, interim President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has been actively seeking new allies to support his fledging government. Mr. Mirziyoyev has recently alienated a number of key players in Uzbekistani politics and has had trouble finding supporters outside of the Senate and his Deputy Prime Ministers. He has secured the right to the nomination for the O’zbekiston Liberal Demokratik Partiyasi, but this is not secure and he will need more supporters than Mr. Azimov and Mr. Yo’ldashev if Mr. Mirziyoyev genuinely intents to win the Presidential elections. Facing a lack of new supporters at home — most ministers and the security organs appear prepared to wait it out for another few weeks before backing a candidate for the Presidency— Mr. Mizriyoyev has turned to the leadership of other post‐Soviet states to endorse his succession to the Uzbekistani presidency.
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Position of Shavkat Mirziyoyev precarious after strikes against political opponents

After only two weeks in office as the acting President, a temporary position held alongside his Prime Ministership, Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev has begun the difficult task of removing rival statesmen from power while still preserving his aura of stability. At this point, Mr. Mirziyoyev’s appeal among both the public and elites rests almost entirely on his ability to ensure the continuity of the Karimov administration’s policies, and he has received this support largely because so far he has only used the expansive powers of the Uzbekistani Presidency to pass legislation already approved by the Oliy Majlis and popular with President Karimov. This leaves Mr. Mirziyoyev in a difficult position, since political ambitions for the Presidency would demand that he remove his political rivals from their positions, yet doing so risks tarnishing his appeal to scores of status quo politicians and conservative voters. Mr. Mirziyoyev’s solution shows that he is much more intelligent and infinitely bolder than his record as Prime Minister would suggest.
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