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Spotlight on Uzbekistan

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This new publication shines a spotlight on Uzbekistan and finds that the much talked about reform process is real, but so are the significant holes in it.

Despite recent progress, there is a lot of work to be done to create an open economy, pluralist politics and free society in Uzbekistan and it remains unclear whether President Mirziyoyev really wants to go far beyond the type of authoritarian modernisation seen so far. To date, the reforms have created a type of ‘managed freedom’ where there is space for ‘constructive criticism’ and there has been a reduction in state interference in everyday life, but some sensitive topics remain off limits. This progress has garnered Uzbekistan much international good will as it has returned to the world stage.

However, there are growing concerns about cronyism, corruption and citizens forced out of their homes as Mirziyoyev tries to build the new Uzbekistan. The response to COVID-19 has highlighted the successes and failings of the new system with swift action to control the virus and protect the economy but also local abuses of power and concerns about potential future unrest.

As Uzbekistan becomes more self-confident about the future, it must be more open about the horrors in its recent past under former President Karimov. There needs to be a historical reckoning and a new national conversation to help deliver transitional justice for the victims.

To see the full list of recommendations please download the publication.

Edited by Adam Hug (Foreign Policy Centre) the publication contains essay contributions from: Yuliy Yusupov (Centre for Economic Research- Tashkent); Kate Mallinson (PRISM and Chatham House); Prof Kristian Lasslett (University of Ulster); Navbahor Imamova (VOA); Dilmira Matyakubova (FPC Research Fellow); Nikita Makarenko (UzReport); Dilmurad Yusupov (University of Sussex); Lynn Schweisfurth (Uzbek Forum for Human Rights); Steve Swerdlow (University of South California/UNDP); Nadejda Atayeva (Association for Human Rights in Central Asia); Eldor Tulyakov (Development Strategy Center); and Dr Luca Anceschi (University of Glasgow) and Dr Vladimir Paramonov (Central Eurasia Analytical Group).

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