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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 9,949 9,713 11,300 91
GNI per capita
 US $ 420 450 550 173
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (date from the World Bank)

Books on Uzbekistan

Update No: 334 - (27/10/08)

Statism and autarchy have some advantages
The Uzbek regime will likely weather the economic storm afflicting the world economy better than most. This is because it is to a large degree insulated from it by its etatiste and autarchic policies. 

It is not always remembered that the Soviet Union, for all its grave faults, did not experience the 1930s global crisis adversely on its economic growth. It rather engaged in a massive boom and industrialisation, precisely from following the same policies.

But of course these policies have their drawbacks – or they would not have been so universally abandoned. Uzbekistan is still suffering from the downside in abundance.

What about the disadvantages?
There are paupers galore in Uzbekistan. There are few opportunities for self-advancement in a tightly buttoned-up state. 

One has to kowtow to the authorities in this caricature of a totalitarian state or one ends up in prison, where the most grisly methods are practised.

Need for a new leadership
Uzbekistan needs a new dispensation. It needs a new leader. Its present one, is a sinister man, Islam Karimov, responsible for atrocities galore under the old and the new regime. He is reputed to be at death's door. But this could just be wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, one can only hope this is true. This may seem callous; but a lot is at stake. 

The death of a nasty dictator, indeed a crackpot one, in Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan in December, 2006, has transformed his country for the better in the last two years, leading to a milder regime and its burgeoning integration with the wider world. Uzbekistan sorely needs something similar. 

The most central of the 'stans' 
Uzbekistan has one great advantage, its central location in its region, Central Asia. It is also the most populous of the five FSU 'stans' and neighbouring them all.

This may not be so evident a boon right now with an awful, endless war on next door in Afghanistan. But an Obama victory in the US could see some new thinking. It was the Democrats after all who settled the Bosnian conflict in 1995, with Richard Holbrooke crafting the Dayton Agreement. It is speculated that he might be Secretary of State in a Obama administration, but even if not, his appointment as roving ambassador again would be a shrewd move, supposing Obama wins. 

Peace in Afghanistan would give a big boost to Uzbekistan too, re-activating trade and investment across the border. The new regime in Turkmenistan has proved already positive for Uzbekistan, as commercial ties grow.

The Kazakh-Uzbek axis 
But the big one is Kazakhstan among its neighbours. The huge long boom there has been beneficial for the Uzbeks, who are cooperating on many new projects with the Kazakhs. There are no reproofs about human rights abuses between the two Central Asian behemoths.

Presidents Nazarbayev and Karimov rub along all right. They are the only two Central Asian leaders left, who were the communist bosses of their nations in late Soviet times. 

The global credit crunch may slow down cooperation somewhat. But the multiplier effects of the Kazakh economic dynamism are still likely to be felt strongly in Uzbekistan.  

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