Uzbekistan. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Uzbekistan include Independence Day (September 1) and New Year (January 1). Regime critic Nadira Khidojatova from the new opposition group Uzbekistan’s Sunshine Coalition at the beginning of the year was charged with financial crimes. However, she had been arrested since she criticized the government’s bloody blow to the demonstrations in the city of Andizhan the year before. According to eyewitnesses, several hundred people were killed by security forces.
|Land area||447,400 km²|
|Residents per km²||68.3|
|Income per capita||$ 6,900|
|ISO 3166 code||UZ|
|Time zone UTC||+5|
|Geographic coordinates||41 00 N, 64 00 O|
The leader of Uzbekistan’s Sunshine Coalition, Sanjar Umarov, was also brought to justice. He had been arrested accused of, among other things, money laundering and other financial crimes, but according to supporters, the charges were politically motivated.
The Sunshine Coalition was largely the only opposition group to openly criticize the events in Andizan, as other groups were already crushed by the authorities. In a letter to Parliament, Umarov had also demanded market economy reforms. Both Khidojatova and Umarov had been kept in isolation, and when a lawyer visited Umarov he found the opposition leader naked and confused. According to supporters, he had been detained. Khidojatova was sentenced to ten years in prison and Umarov to fourteen years. According to the court, Umarov’s sentence would be reduced to just over ten years. He was also fined just over eight million dollars. According to the judgment, he was found guilty of having led a criminal group, which was devoted to, among other things, money laundering and tax evasion. Over 150 people had been convicted of various crimes in connection with the Andizyan uprising at that time.
Eight young men who stood trial in March in Tashkent testified in court that they had been tortured to confess. They were accused of Muslim extremism, which they rejected.
At the one-year memorial in May of the Andizyan massacre, Uzbekistan was called on by the United States to have an international commission investigate the incident.
In November, the EU extended the sanctions imposed on Uzbekistan following the Andizyan massacre. At the same time, it was decided to resume low-level talks with Uzbekistan. President Islam Karimov was reported to have admitted that there were deficiencies in the local government in Andizhan and that the leaders there neglected the needs of people.
From Uzbekistan to the Russian command – and back
The Timurites lost their dominance to the Turkish Uzbeks who had conquered the Transoxiana region between the Central Asian powers, Amu and Syr-Darya (Oxus and Jaxartes in Greek). The Uzbek rulers built a thriving center of culture and religion in Bukhara alongside Samarkand.
However, the disputing Uzbeks were threatened by the Persian superpower in the west and, since the mid-19th century, by Russia of Peter the Great and Catherine II in the north. Russia had a great desire to enter the Black Sea as England expanded its own Asian empire to the north from India. In Central Asia, the interests of the two major collided. On both sides began the unbridled conquest of territories, the “Great Game”. The Caucasus proved to be a difficult piece for Russia, but the conquests to the southeast of the Urals succeeded. The fertile steppes were capable of pushing cotton and grain for the needs of the great motherland, especially when Lake Araljärvi and its rivers were a great source for arranging irrigation. Born in the ruins of Russia, the Soviet Union established the Soviet Republic of Turkestan in Central Asia, which in the 1920s was divided into five separate republics: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan was the third largest republic in the Soviet Union after Russia and Ukraine. During the Soviet era, Muslims were deprived of opportunities to practice their own religion, the collectivization of agriculture and animal husbandry took effect, and dealings in national languages were changed to Russian.
The perestroika-induced turmoil ended the Soviet Union and all the Central Asian republics became independent, Uzbekistan in 1991. In a good “Stanian” (name comes from the rest of the four Central Asian republics), the former Soviet leader was elected to lead the new independent republic in 2016. Islam Karimov.