Uzbekistan in Central Asia is characterized by
its political and economic legacy of the Soviet era,
when planning economics and collective agriculture
created inefficiencies and environmental degradation.
Even after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991,
Uzbekistan has been ruled by authoritarian regimes,
whose critics are persecuted, imprisoned and exiled. The
country is a major cotton producer.
Brief profiles of Uzbekistan, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia
surrounded by Kazakhstan in the north, Turkmenistan in
the south-west, Afghanistan in the south, and Tajikistan
and Kyrgyzstan in the south-east. The climate is
continental with long, hot summers and short, cold
Uzbekistan is about the same size as Sweden. To the
north lies the vast desert of Kyzylkum (Red Sand) and
Lake Aral, whose northern part is in Kazakhstan. The
large rivers Amu-Darja and Syr-Darja flow into the Aral
Sea. So large quantities of water have been drained from
the rivers to irrigation that the Aral Sea has partially
dried out and almost all fish have disappeared.
Periodically, Amu-Darja no longer even reaches the Aral
The predatory operation on land and water has also
led to desertification, soil salting and groundwater
poisoning, especially in Karakalpakstan, which is an
autonomous republic in the northwest.
In southeastern Uzbekistan, the landscape is
dominated by the Tien Shan mountain range, which extends
through Central Asia from China. The Fergana Valley,
which is protected on three sides by mountains and
receives melt water from it, is the most densely
populated part of the country.
The complicated border-crossing that seemed to happen
randomly in this area during the Soviet era (1924-1991)
has fueled and exacerbated conflicts there. Uzbekistan
has small enclaves inside Kyrgyzstan, as well as there
are Kyrgyz and Tajik enclaves on Uzbek land (see Foreign
Policy and Defense).
The weather in Uzbekistan is mostly dry. Most
precipitation falls during the winter and early spring.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
447,400 km2 (2018)
Swedish +4 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan,
Capital with number of residents
Tashkent 2,500,000 (with suburbs, UN estimate 2019)
Other major cities
Samarkand 566,000, Namangan 521,000, Andizhan 437,000
(with suburbs, UN estimate 2019)
Khazret Sultan (4,643 m asl)
Average Precipitation / month
Tashkent 81 mm (March), 3 mm (Sept)
Average / day
Tashkent 0 °C (Jan), 17 °C (July)
German airbase is closed
The German air base in Termiz is closed. Thus, no Western military
installations remain in Uzbekistan.
Jail in Sweden for rented murderer
The man charged with attempted murder of an Uzbek imam in Sweden is sentenced
to 18 years in prison. The judgment will be appealed.
The state is accused of attempted murder in Sweden
The Uzbek state is designated as responsible for attempted murder when a
37-year-old Uzbek man is brought to trial in Sweden for attempting to kill a
fugitive opposition Uzbek imam in Strömsund in February 2012.
Opposition politicians free after more than 20 years
After more than 20 years in prison, Murad Jurajev, one of the country's most
famous opposition politicians, is released. He previously sat in parliament for
an opposition party but was sentenced to prison in 1995 for 9 years for trying
to overthrow the regime. The sentence has subsequently been extended repeatedly.
The release takes place shortly after a visit to Uzbekistan by the US Secretary
Minors are prohibited from participating in prayer times
The Ministry of Education prohibits minors from participating in prayer times
in the country's mosques. The ban is an attempt to prevent the spread of radical
Islamism among young people.
Several of Karimova's circle are seized
Another nine people with business connections to President daughter Gulnara
Karimova are arrested.
The President is re-elected in violation of the Constitution
In the presidential election, incumbent President Karimov gets just over 90
percent of the vote. The turnout is 91 percent. OSCE election observers
criticize the Election Commission for Karimov's candidacy despite the
Constitution stipulating that the president may only be re-elected once. The
OSCE also regrets the absence of real counter-candidates, saying that the
official media unilaterally favored Karimov.
Foreign examiners of child labor are expelled
A consultant who visited Uzbekistan to review the details of child laborers
in the country's cotton industry is being arrested and expelled. The World Bank
had set conditions for granting new loans to Uzbek agriculture that conditions
in the cotton industry would be subject to international scrutiny.
President's daughter is suspected to have taken billion dollars
The international journalism network OCCRP, based in Sarajevo, claims that
president's daughter Gulnara Karimova (see Current Policy, September 2012, March
2014) may have forced as much as the equivalent of a billion US dollars from
international telecommunications companies. The OCCRP, which is dedicated to
exposing organized crime and corruption, writes that the scope of Karimova's
extortion activities is likely to be far greater than anyone had expected. Among
other things, she has been accused of taking bribes from Swedish-Finnish
TeliaSonera. Since March 2014, Gulnara has been in house arrest. Several of her
employees have been imprisoned and she herself seems to have lost all political
Karimov again marks independence
Just over a week before he is expected to be re-elected, President Karimov
says that Uzbekistan "will never again be part of any bloc trying to reintroduce
old times with a bigger brother". He adds that Uzbekistan is strong enough not
to have to take orders from others. He is supposed to refer to the Russian-led
Eurasian Union, which is regarded as an attempt by Russian leader Vladimir Putin
to recreate the Soviet Union to a limited extent.
Three loyalists challenge the president
The Election Commission approves three counter-candidates to Karimov in the
March presidential election. However, all three are completely loyal to the
president and are expected to get no more than a few percent of the vote.
Oppositional online newspaper closes
The foreign-based opposition online newspaper Uznews.net decides to close the
site, after several Uzbekistan journalists who reported to it were threatened.
Karimov excludes Soviet-like cooperation
Karimov says that Uzbekistan will never join a union "similar to the USSR",
that is, the Soviet Union. Karimov is perceived to make a leap to the current
Russian leadership when he says in a speech in Parliament that his country can
never cooperate with countries that "glorify the Lenin and Stalin epochs".
Through the play, the President takes away everything from judging the newly
established Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Union.
New alliance gains majority in parliament
A second round of the parliamentary elections is held in the 22
constituencies where no candidate received a sufficient majority in the first
round of elections in December 2014. Only the two leading candidates in each
constituency participate this time. The election result involves only minor
changes in the distribution of seats between the faithful parties. After the
election, the two largest parties, the Liberal Democrats and National Rebirth,
form an alliance called the Democratic Forces Blocks, which together have 88 of
the 150 seats.