FREE GEOPOLITICAL NEWSLETTER

uzbekistan  

For current reports go to EASY FINDER

UZBEKISTAN


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
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

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
447,400 

Population 
26,410,416

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Uzbeks 71.4%
Russians 8.3%
Tajiks 4.7%
Kazaks 4.1%

Capital 
Tashkent 

Currency 
Uzbek Sum

President 
Islam Karimov


Update No: 303- (27/03/06)

The Uzbek regime is an embattled one, seeing enemies everywhere, a trait which tends to multiply what it most fears, Islamic extremism. In this it rather resembles the US in Iraq, ostensibly to squash an alliance of Iraqis and al-Qaeda, in fact creating it. Unleashing extremism and civil war is the real price to pay for exporting democracy 'neo-conservatively', it would appear
There is little alternative for an oppositionist in Uzbekistan but to join the ranks of the Muslim fundamentalists, whose ranks are swelling along with the persecution of them. It can be said that in a cynical way the regime needs them to justify its repression of all, covering up its corrupt practices. Be that as it may, it is becoming more repressive by stealth, now that the Americans have been dispatched (They have left the base at Khanabad that they were extended after 9:11 for operations in Afghanistan).
It fears the internet, indeed every development of the modern Western world. It is literally a reactionary state, as was the Tsarist state and the Soviet one later.
There is no more important watchword for the regime than - SECURITY. 

Uzbek National Security Council discuss situation in Central Asia 
The National Security Council under President of Uzbekistan held its latest session on 16 March. The Uzbek President and chairman of council Islam Karimov chaired the session. 
The session exchanged opinions on the situation in Central Asia and around it. It also considered the issues of fighting modern threats and challenges to the security of the country, including in the information sphere (code phrase for the world-wide web, which is not to be so wide as to entangle Uzbekistan). The meeting discussed accession of Uzbekistan to the Eurasian Economic Community. 
The session determined the tasks of state bodies on ensuring stability and security in Uzbekistan. These are kept secret as a matter of course. But it is not difficult to envisage their nature.

Prominent Uzbek dissident imam Obidkhon qori Nazarov tells his story after 8 years in hiding
It is worth taking a look at the situation from the opposition's point of view. An intriguing perspective can be provided by the career of a prominent Uzbek dissident imam, recognized as a refugee by the United Nations, Obidkhon qori Nazarov. In mid-March he flew to a European country from Kazakhstan, where he has lived in hiding for the past six years.
The UN refugee agency gave Nazarov refugee status in January, and officials of the agency saw him and his family off at Almaty's airport on March 15th, the Ides of March, not, it may be hoped, an ill omen. He asked that their destination in Europe not be named for security reasons.
Nazarov, 47, became one of the most popular imams in the Soviet republic of 25 million in a period of relative liberty during Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika reforms and several years before the 1991 Soviet collapse that gave Uzbekistan independence. 
Prayer services led by Nazarov in Tashkent drew thousands of believers, and his taped sermons were sold across Central Asia. Asked what made him different from other imams, Nazarov said they didn't want "to harm themselves and anger authorities."
But independence had a baleful effect for him and his like. Karimov has ruled the ex-Soviet republic for the past 17 years with an iron fist, launching a relentless crackdown on Muslims who practice Islam outside state-controlled institutions. According to human rights groups, Karimov's government has jailed more than 6,000 innocent believers for alleged extremism.
Nazarov said that like all clergy, during the Soviet period he had to have regular meetings with KGB officers. That continued after independence, "but I told them that times were different and I didn't want to carry out their orders. They wanted to rule using communist methods, they knew no other way," said Nazarov, a thin man with a neat beard, wearing a white shirt and a black suit.
Nazarov said he wanted to choose the subject of his sermons independently. He spoke against government restrictions on women attending mosques, and on wearing beards and hijabs, or headscarves.
He denied government accusations that he was linked to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan - a militant group which aims to create an Islamic state and is blamed for several terror attacks.
"I had no contacts with the IMU," he said. "They wanted me to publicly criticize them, but I didn't because I wanted the freedom to speak about everything, otherwise there would have been no use."
Nazarov said that the rise of radical Islamic groups in Uzbekistan was the result of Karimov's repressive policies. "He is not letting people express themselves, to realize their talent and energy. Such policy can only bring bitter fruit," he said.
The official Muslim Spiritual Board dismissed Nazarov as an imam in 1996 and he was put under surveillance. His brief detention without any charges in 1997 triggered public protests. 
Nazarov's whereabouts had been secret since his disappearance in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, in 1998. He has been wanted since then by Uzbek authorities for alleged religious extremism and terrorism - charges that he denies.
After Nazarov's disappearance in 1998 under threat of re-arrest, authorities jailed his two assistants, three brothers and driver for alleged extremism. His wife was also jailed, but released under international pressure. His eldest son, Khusnutdin, disappeared in Tashkent in May 2004.
Nazarov said he decided to turn to the UN for protection after nine of his Uzbek followers were secretly arrested by Kazak authorities and sent to Uzbekistan, where they were held by police.
Nazarov said one of them phoned him when his house was raided at night by Kazak security officers.
" 'We are surrounded, we are on the roof, they are armed and have dogs,' he told me. I still cannot forgive myself for not finding the words to say, for not knowing how to help," Nazarov said.
Nazarov told The Associated Press in his first media interview in eight years that he intended to continue theological studies and write on religion while he is in Europe.

No more loans to Uzbekistan from the World Bank
One thing that one can be sure of is that cases such as Nazarov's are brought to the attention of the new head of the World Bank, the prominent neo-conservaive, Paul Wolfovitz, as it so happens. It is not difficult to imagine his reaction to the above story. It may not be possible to export democracy to Uzbekistan; but one can at least deprive dictators of credit from the West.
Martin Reiser of the WB office in Uzbekistan told Reuters on the Ides of March that there would be no more loans given to Tashkent. This time, it may be hoped, the date is ominous for somebody.
Wolfovitz of the World Bank has pledged to fight corruption and make the war on it one of the WB priorities. The World Bank has already suspended some major loans to several African countries. 
Reiser said that the decision with regard to Uzbekistan was made within the framework of the bank's strategy but did not ascribe it to corruption as such. "The WB wants to make sure that its money is being used in the projects that are really important," he said. "We are not convinced that Uzbekistan can guarantee it, the situation being what it is."
The World Bank loaned Uzbekistan a sum total of nearly US$600 million between 1996 and now. The Uzbek authorities may continue counting on technical aid loans.

« Top

ENERGY

Uzbekneftegaz, Stroitransgaz to build LNG plant


Uzbek national holding company, Uzbekneftegaz and Russia's Stroitransgaz plan to set up a joint venture in 2006 to carry out a project to produce liquefied natural gas at the Mubarek Gas Processing Plant in Uzbekistan's Kashkadarya region, at a total cost of about 200m Euro, Interfax News Agency reported.
According to a source in Uzbekneftegaz, the sides may sign the founding agreement for the joint venture in the near future. The sides plan to build a liquefied natural gas unit with a capacity of 36,000 tonnes of LNG (propane-butane mix) and 150 tonnes of gasoline (stable gas gasoline) per year. The unit will process 12 billion cubic metres of gas per year.
The source said that Stroitransgaz has already prepared an expanded feasibility study for the project, which is currently being agreed by ministries and departments in Uzbekistan.

« Top

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Direct foreign investment increases 67% in 2005 

Direct foreign investment in the Uzbek economy stood at around 545 million Euro in 2005, up 67 per cent from 2004, Deputy Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and trade Minster, Sabir Khasanov, said at an investment forum on February 3rd in Tashkent, reported Interfax News Agency.
Uzbekistan plans to implement 134 investment projects for a total of 918 million Euro in 2006 under its investment programme. Uzbekistan expects to attract 365.41 million Euro in foreign loans guaranteed by the government and 552.56 million Euro in direct foreign investment. The fuel and energy sector is expected to see the largest amount of foreign investment.

« Top

 

« Back

 


 
Published by 
Newnations (a not-for-profit company)
PO Box 12 Monmouth 
United Kingdom NP25 3UW 
Fax: UK +44 (0)1600 890774
enquiries@newnations.com