Sunday, August 28, 2016


Karimov: World Can Learn From Uzbeks

Uzbek President Islam Karimov: "So, will you join me, if I tell you that others should learn fairness from the Uzbek people?"
Uzbek President Islam Karimov: "So, will you join me, if I tell you that others should learn fairness from the Uzbek people?"
From charges of torture in its prisons to boycotts over children working in its cotton fields, it's not often that Uzbekistan is praised by an international organization these days.

So President Islam Karimov can hardly be blamed for running with his country's most positive appearance in the world's headlines in a long time -- FIFA's 2012 Fair Play Award for the country's national soccer team.

While chairing a cabinet meeting on January 18, Karimov declared that the world could learn something from the Uzbek way of doing things, according to Uzbek state television:

"Taking into account that all of us are fond of football and the fact that the FIFA has recognized the Uzbek football, we can say that all our efforts are now producing good results. Therefore, I feel great to congratulate you on the success. So, will you join me, if I tell you that others should learn fairness from the Uzbek people?" the president asked, smiling.

According to FIFA, world soccer's governing body, the award was a result of the good behavior of the national team and the country's clubs participating in Asian Football Confederation tournaments. The award also recognizes good fan behavior.

The other two nominees were the Guatemalan Football Federation and the Turkish team Eskisehirspor.

Mirabrar Usmanov, the head of Uzbekistan's soccer federation, accepted the award at the annual Ballon d'Or Gala in Zurich on January 7.

Now, if only the Uzbek leader could work on some positive press for his country's treatment of foreign investors or its action on high-level corruption. Then Karimov would really have something to crow about.

-- Dan Wisniewski
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Frank from: London
January 23, 2013 11:49
"So will you join me, if I tell you that others should learn fairness from the Uzbek people"

As head of the Uzbek kleptocracy he should know all about fairness. What breathtaking hypocrisy. Like his daughters' purchases of celebrity endorsements, I would not be surprised if he paid somebody to "win" this award.
In Response

by: Sal from: Colorado Springs, CO
January 27, 2013 15:06
Right on the spot Frank. It is no surprise that dictators like Karimov cling on to anything positive in the media and blow it out of proportion to help their image. I'm surprised we don't see any comments by "respectable" subject matter "experts" on Central Asia like Dr. Aftab Kazi who clearly plays an online Public Relations fixer role on behalf of the Uzbek regime. I guess truth is just too much to swallow...
In Response

by: Frank from: London
January 28, 2013 12:18
Sal, thanks. I agree with all your posts on Uzbekistan. I do hope Dr Kazi comes up with an alternative explanation. The non-reply has only made me start to wonder about the validity of monitoring Uzbek "elections". I suspect photocopying the vote tally and taking it back to Washington or Bishkek is not an adequate method to protect against election fraud (the question on my mind is do the voters have relatives in jail having their finger nails pulled out and is there any come back if a voter votes differently to the way he was instructed to vote given there is presumably an auditing procedure to link back a ballot paper to the original voter?). I guess we will have to wait a long time to find out why Lola Karimova and her partner, Mr Tillyaev, overpaid on No. 14 Chemin Vert, 1253 Vandoeuvres, Geneva (7467 Swiss Francs per sq metre when the going rate was 3000) resulting in the waste of over 20 million Swiss Francs.
(The property can be seen using Google satellite by typing in that address)
There is also an article here about the same purchase (and of course the picture of the property in the article matches what you can see typing in that address in google satellite).

The fact the Uzbeks are complaining to the Swedes about court revelations on the Teliasonera bribe case (the one that hints at links to Gulnara Karimova being the recipient of a $320m bribe) only adds to my suspicions. Hopefully Dr Kazi will allay our suspicions :-)
In Response

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
January 29, 2013 04:47
No reason to respond the comments bent upon downgrading not Uzbekistan but entire Central Asia. Commentators seem to be living in the world that existed two decades ago. I already spoke with conscience in two comments on some previous articles, essence of which was commented upon only with rhetoric. These two commentators only see dirt in everything good, not the gold which is also there. Uzbek model of development, including gradual democratization, indeed has several worthy aspects, from which several in the world could learn. By the way, in a previous comment, I did not say about having brought photo copes of voting tallies, I stated about having brought the photo copies of the Polling Station Register, signed by every observer while visiting the polling station, which demonstrates that OSCE observers did not visit the polling station for observation, despite official claims. The problem with Western propaganda against Central Asian states is that CA leaders are following their own models of nation-building, than following the advice from our West, hence they are independent. As said previously, continue whatever you might say, CA is heading forward with astonishing developments. Neither regime change nor Arab Spring is possible in those countries because people are nearly 100 percent educated and law abiding and busy reestablishing their economies after an approximately two decade long overhaul, besides the political and economic systems and political order. My advice to commentators is that they must study the economic and political reform these states have enacted and are implementing. In CA, it is not the 1990's, but these countries moving forward with speed in the 21st century. I understand that my comment will be followed up with more dragging remarks, but I will not be responding. My own life is becoming increasingly busy.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
January 29, 2013 09:50
Dr. Kazi, hi.

“Uzbek model of development, including gradual democratization, indeed has several worthy aspects, from which several in the world could learn.”

If you mean the Uzbek model of development is one from which several criminals could learn, I agree. It is very hard work to steal $320m by robbing banks. In Pakistan you might have to rob 500 banks to achieve that, and that is more than 15 robberies a day to do it in a month. The driving from one robbery to another alone would be tiring. If Gulnara Karimova has embezzled $320m of mobile phone licence money belonging to the Uzbek State, she will have saved herself a lot of hard work. By having the money paid into the Takilant account overseas, she will also have saved herself the bother of having to convert the money into dollars: after all, in a country with no rule of law (the corrupt judiciary) power rivals can use the same techniques to steal your wealth as you have used on them, so the theft proceeds have to be stored abroad, and therefore need to be in hard currency/overseas property.

“The problem with Western propaganda against Central Asian states is that CA leaders are following their own models of nation-building, than following the advice from our West, hence they are independent. As said previously, continue whatever you might say, CA is heading forward with astonishing developments.”

I don’t dispute Uzbekistan is heading forward with astonishing developments. It perhaps is, if you look at the new buildings going up. I am talking about where the finance comes from for developing these . I suspect it comes from the proceeds of theft. The Palace of International Forums in Tashkent is impressive, but a lot of German contractors involved have never been paid (theft). Oxus has not been paid for the seizure of its mine ($400m theft): even the $2.5m drilling rig that was leased to the mine has not been returned and Oxus still has to pay monthly instalments to the drill manufacturer despite not having use of the machine (theft). Khandiza confiscated outright after proving up a commercially viable zinc mine (theft). Yes, the development model is “independent” of the West’s preferred model (promotion of the rule of law, people sovereignty, accountability and transparency like in Hongkong and Singapore), but the Uzbek model is also self-serving to an unaccountable elite and leaves a lot of people’s livelihoods needlessly ruined (what about all those market traders in Tashkent only given a week’s notice of impending demolition of their market?).

My take on the low gas pressure and the electricity blackouts (in Tashkent) is that foreign currency shortages are forcing them to sell more gas abroad so there is less available for heating and making electricity or they don’t have the foreign currency to build more power stations: the Uzbek business thefts have perhaps put off foreign investors.

You still haven’t answered how the ruling family has any business acumen when it overpaid more than 20m Swiss Francs on No. 14 Chemin Vert in Geneva. 20m Swiss francs could buy quite a few mechanical cotton harvesters? Needless to say ordinary Uzbeks don’t have the luxury of being able to discuss these matters, do they? They are being systematically pillaged by a ruthless kleptocracy that uses sexy images, charity work and celebrity endorsements to cover up its crimes, to say nothing of its human rights abuses (such as on your fellow compatriot, Haroun Choudhry). I agree Gulnara Karimova is very clever: her cleverest crimes require a degree in corporate finance to comprehend, and the victims don’t often know they are victims. That is very clever. And the Uzbek model you cherish so much of course promotes uneven development: one of metrics that is responsible for putting Uzbekistan at no. 39 in the list of failed States. I look forward to a detailed rebuttal point by point to be convinced otherwise.
In Response

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
January 29, 2013 10:51
No further comment for additional caricatured and stereotyped propaganda oriented responses. Everything has been said and done.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
January 29, 2013 12:57
"No further comment for additional caricatured and stereotyped propaganda oriented responses. Everything has been said and done."

Black is white because I say so. Come on Dr. Kazi you can do better than that! I am not an specialist on Uzbek matters; I don't even have a PhD; and I've never even been to Uzbekistan, unlike you.

The widespread pattern of business thefts in the country needs to be addressed, as does Lola Karimova's choice to blow 43m Swiss Francs on No. 14 Chemin Vert, Vandoeuvre, Geneva (as does the 20m Sw Fr foolish overpayment if you read the comments of locals familiar with the Geneva real estate market) when she could have bought mechanical cotton harvesters instead to save her fellow citizens from gathering the harvest by hand (the truth perhaps is the machinery can be stolen but No.14 Chemin Vert can't?).

That she prefers to invest in her own comfort rather than take business risk (which includes the risk of theft of the machinery by rivals to succeed her father) puts a new perspective on her "charity work"; and the fact that she won't even invest in her own country should be a warning to prospective foreign investors; it is too dangerous? The symptoms of foreign currency shortages are all there (electricity blackouts and low gas pressure). The Uzbek som needs to devalue (to bring in more foreign exchange).

P.S. Did you know that Lola and Gulnara both having jobs with the UN and UNESCO in Geneva meant that their respective Swiss house purchases did not have to be referred to Le département des affaires régionales, de l'économie et de la santé (DARES) for vetting to decide if the money was from legitimate sources?

There appears to be a written question and an official response about it here:

The jobs would give them the required valid residence permits ("une autorisation valable de séjour"?)

They would then have to declare the houses are their main residences and that they are less than 3000 square metres in area to avoid questions on the origins of their funds.

In Response

by: Sal from: Colorado Springs, CO
January 29, 2013 20:55
Aftab Kazi, what is your stake in all of this? Is it that you are trying to legitimize your failed role as an unbiased elections observer or just trying to keep your job in Central Asia? After all, if you are the same Aftab Kazi who is a Senior Fellow with the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan then by bringing some some positive spin to these regimes in Central Asia online, you must be trying to preserve your job in Central Asia given the attitude of these regimes in regards to any form of dissent, foreign or domestic. You must be running out of options, dude? It is no secret that regimes like the one in Uzbekistan hire and pay a lot of money to special PR firms to put a positive spin on everything revolving the country for an outside audience. My only take is that you are just another part of that failed strategy. But you have been trying to do your "job", I will give you that much.
In one of your previous statements, you wrote that people that work in Uzbek cotton fields find themselves there due to their own choice and because of the mentality they have. I never understood what you meant but I hope this article washes the propaganda-machine grease off your eyes so they "see" better:

Spare me the "I have been there - done that" scientific researcher BS. I take it you never spent a day on a cotton field doing backbreaking labor. Well, I have when I was a kid. The only reason why I'm freely able to write this now is because my parents didn't see a future in a "kelajagi porloq' Uzbekiston" for their children. So you can consider my family one of the lucky few who had an opportunity to emigrate. As for you, unfortunately I can't hide my contempt as it is because of people like you these regimes cling on to anything remotely resembling to legitimacy. I hope the money is worth it.
In Response

by: Sal from: Colorado Springs, CO
January 30, 2013 00:58
Kazi, did I ever tell you that your name correlates with a Central Asian dish called Qazi - Horse meat. Well, not to draw any similarities but I'm afraid I can't help but notice that everything you say in your comments relate to "horse s*&t. Thank you for your attention.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
January 30, 2013 14:22
Dr Kazi,

One observation I made yesterday has been made correct much quicker than I expected (the power blackouts and low gas pressure being symptomatic of forex shortages: today you can't buy dollars at the official rate any more - devaluation of the Som is coming soon. That will cause inflation to rise. So much for your independent model of development you cherish so much.

See the story here:

The Karimov leadership is a callous (See Sal's article about how it seeks to augment its precious supply of forex from slave labour) kleptocracy.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
February 14, 2013 05:49
I might agree with pattern of most of factual comments per say,
But not with the generalization that paving road for proposition,
Russia making, that independence from Russian occupation,
Slavery - bad for non-Russians, let accept the Russian way.

Russian usurpers prepare chain of events since the 1947,
As Stalin was put under the house arrest, CIS-restoring,
Stated by 1936 Constitution, was reversed-amended,
And CIS nations influxed by Russia's seven-eleven.

Since 1954 pact of Russians with Bechtel and Brits,
Since 1955-56 pogroms on Georgians and Hungary,
Since grabbing by Russia and occupation evil greed,
Ethnic Russia plan "prevent-independence" canning.

Former USSR and East Europe nations, even more,
like Finland, Turkey, Afghan and on, Russians want,
Are polluted by master-plans for Russia annexations,
Based on devious subversion and GRU interventions.

Uzbekistan is not exclusion from above - their leaders
Also an old nomenclature - mind-controlled by Russia.
Parts of Fergana in Uzbekistan and neighbor countries
And Andijan hold hostage to pseudo-separatism kasha
To hold in line leadership, while pseudo-helping armies,
Masked Russian assassins, inciting killing and tortures.

by: Jack from: US
January 28, 2013 00:40
as RFE/RL propaganda goes US-propped regimes of Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan are NOT corrupt mideaval dictatorships who engage in torture, murder, and imprisinment of anyone who critisize their ruling mafia and its retarded cult. According to US propaganda those are beacons of Sunni democracy who can give evil Karimov a run for his corrupt millions.
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 28, 2013 11:35
Jack, hi

"According to US propaganda those [Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan] are beacons of Sunni democracy"

Can you quote the source of such "propaganda" please?

Saudi Arabia is the only country of the four you mention close to Uzbekistan in population size, but it has a per capita GDP that is maybe 3 or 4 times that of Uzbekistan's, so the need to use cost saving measures like torture should be less (unless you are suggesting they use torture for pleasure?). Yes, I have read a harrowing account of a Bahraini doctor punished (and beaten up?) for treating injured demonstrators. However, if you look at the 2012 Failed States Index, only Uzbekistan gets a mention out of the four countries you name as being a failed state in a list of 59 : Uzbekistan fails (all scores out of ten) principally on poor human rights (9.1), factionalised elites (8.7), security apparatus (8.2), delegitimisation of the State (8.7) and uneven economic development (7.9) (the Karimov business thefts don't help the scores of the latter two categories, do they?). I presume therefore Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan are in completely different categories from Uzbekistan even if we do hear occasional distressing anecdotal evidence of brutality (e.g. the beheading of the Sri Lankan maid in Saudi Arabia recently as a punishment for the death of baby in her charge).

Please do post your evidence that Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are beacons of democracy. They are not my idea of beacons of democracy, but the quality of life enjoyed by the nationals of those countries seems a great deal better than that which can be obtained from living in a failed state like Uzbekistan. P.S. Uzbekistan also scores poorly on group grievances (7.7).

Source of info:

PPS The FX currency shortages in Uzbekistan are probably responsible for periodic blackouts and the low gas pressure (energy is a dollar denominated commodity). Some Uzbeks must be freezing cold as a result of their leadership's behaviour - that perhaps isn't the case in the countries you mention.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
January 28, 2013 14:31
Uzbekistan indeed fails short of your expectations. For example in Saudi Arabia you will be executed for choosing Christianity over Islam. Not in Uzbekistan. So according to US government, US-propped Saudi democracy is so much better than Uzbekistan and its CIA-compiled "index" is so much higher too
In Response

by: Ilya
January 30, 2013 07:41
Lets see if the US State Department describes Saudi Arabia as a democracy:

"the United States remains concerned about human rights conditions in Saudi Arabia. Principal human rights issues include abuse of prisoners and incommunicado detention; prohibitions or severe restrictions on freedom of speech, press, peaceful assembly and association, and religion; denial of the right of citizens to change their government; systematic discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities; and suppression of workers' rights."

... hmm ... nope. Here's a link to the definition of 'proof':
Note that the definition does not include "voices inside Jack's head".

by: peter from: ottawa
January 29, 2013 12:31
Kamirov is a one man show just like at the circus, the center of attention is the clown surrounded by chimps and mongrels, as for Jack hes not the same since he found out his father is a russian army deserter and his mother dated the whole Chechen football team , she was so popular the team issued her own jersey, the number 69. Have a nice day from snowy Ottawa

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
January 30, 2013 13:24
Neither Central Asia-Caucasus Institute is based in Bishkek, KR, nor I have a job in Central Asia that I am trying to save. Sal from Colorado, just as you have wrong information about me, so you do have or you are deliberately creating stereotypes. Talk to the parents of boys and girls who work in cotton fields (they are not children as often portrayed) but high school and college students. Parents support this experience. I have nothing further to say to anyone interested in the creation of polemics.
In Response

by: Sal from: Colorado Springs
February 09, 2013 15:25
Again Kazi, that horse meat that I was telling you about... I will let the net do the talking this time.

Face it, you are a little bolt, a nut in this dysfunctional Uzbek propaganda machine that is just not putting out. I wonder how you are getting paid by the uzbek regime given the new laws on currency convertibility - a plastic card or bundles of Uzbek soum.
In Response

by: Aftab Kazi from: Washington DC
February 10, 2013 10:55
Bug off you paid commentator and a propagandist with fake identity. Correct your false information before commenting. Central Asia-Caucasus is and will be developing peacefully in an organized manner under its leadership and folks such as yours will be prostituting their mind offering distorted and misled comments continuously. Such are the ways of this world, especially in world politics.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
February 11, 2013 13:21
Dr Kazi,

"Talk to the parents of boys and girls who work in cotton fields (they are not children as often portrayed) but high school and college students. Parents support this experience. I have nothing further to say to anyone interested in the creation of polemics."

I think you will agree that there will be some pupils who enjoy missing a day at school (if they have awful teachers) but nothing is going to comfort them when they find out (perhaps many years later) they have been exploited to provide cheap foreign exchange for the leadership (cotton isn't called white gold for nothing), and the leadership doesn't need the money, but the pupils do: I won't be surprised if this drives some people to religious extremism. And of course the increase in the supply of "slave" labour deprives adult agricultural workers of some of their scarcity value, thus further subsidising the cost of the leadership's forex supply.

I think there is a difference between teaching children the value of service in the community (helping old people and doing charitable work) and helping a wasteful, corrupt leadership obtain cheap forex (recall Lola Karimova and Timur Tillyaev overpaid by 20m Swiss francs on the 43.5m Swiss franc purchase price of No. 14 Chemin Vert, Vandoeuvre, Geneva). Earning more cheap forex for the leadership is not my idea of service in the community even if the Uzbek leadership presents it as that.

The thought that Lola prefers investing in overseas luxury properties to taking business risk (which includes taking substantial theft risk when the assets invested in are in Uzbekistan) and saving her compatriots from unpleasant manual labour by investing in mechanical cotton harvesters I find disturbing.

As the economy now goes into a tailspin (foreign investment will not come what with a record of theft like the Uzbek leadership has and what with the country's crooked official exchange rate set as it is to cheat foreign investors) there won't be many Uzbeks flying on Uzbekistan Airways' new routes to Geneva and Madrid will there, what with the fx currency shortages? The longer these routes are flown for, the more likely it is they are just gold smuggling routes (under diplomatic cover) for the leadership rather than commercial operations to make money for the national airline.

I don't think the Swedes will prosecute Gulnara and Takilant, (not because they are not guilty) but because it is unreasonable to expect small countries like Switzerland and Sweden to be the deliverers of justice for the Uzbek people (they need the support of USA and the whole of the EC?). The result will now be that Takilant demands Teliasonera buy out its 6% stake in Ucell for 500m Kroner (the Uzbek leadership needs the hard currency desperately) and then the leadership will set about plundering Ucell in the time honoured way it plunders every company.

Mr Blomqist, the new CEO, of Teliasonera is going to have a fun time explaining the loss of Ucell to a few irate Teliasonera shareholders in about a years’ time.

There's quite a good article here on how Gulnara stole an Uzbek owned restaurant business.

Yes, it's wonderful your independent model of economic development that Uzbekistan is following. It is undoubtedly effective at increasing the wealth of the leadership, but sadly of no one else, and the leadership will soon get a load of angry Swedish investors in addition to the already angry American (Newmont), British (Oxus and Marakand), Israeli (MetalTech, Uzbek (Alisher, the restaurant owner), Russian (MTS), German (the contractors who built the Palace of Forums), Pakistani/Indian (Haroun Choudhry) and Swiss (Romak SA) investors. At some point Mr Karimov is going to have a bit of a crisis. It will be hard not to laugh then, except that the victims of his crimes are all for real.

Sal, thanks for the links.
In Response

by: Sal from: Colorado Springs, CO
February 12, 2013 01:27
First of all, I don't see what my identity has to do with the truth of the matter regarding the failing policies of the Uzbek dictatorship.
"Central Asia-Caucasus is and will be developing peacefully in an organized manner under its leadership..." - nice sucking on it once more Dr. Kazi. You just killed my desire to get a PHD. "...and folks such as yours will be prostituting their mind offering distorted and misled comments continuously..." - organized manner of what? PLUNDER! haha, the fact that you blindly and tirelessly defend every way this preposterous dictatorship conducts itself is indicative of big time prostitution. Does your family know about this? Again, my question to you is what is your stake in the continuation of the regime? You keep blending the regime and its subjects as if they are one but I guess you don't know the history of the region Mr. Senior Fellow. Sooner or later people will rise up in the face of constant injustice. I just hope you find yourself in Uzbekistan when it happens, that would be priceless. Meanwhile, if I can plagiarize - "for everything else" there is Uzbek children that pay the price in cotton fields.

Frank, I would not waste another breath on this idiot who calls himself a doctor. He is a doctor alright, for plastic surgery for an ugly, disfigured Uzbek dictatorship. I rest my case.
In Response

by: Frank from: London
February 13, 2013 14:16

Thanks. I think Dr Kazi has discredited the Central Asia Caucusus Institute in not answering my questions properly. I am surprised, and not surprised. I’ve discovered a few more things in the last few days about Gulnara e.g. her getting her diplomatic status after being arrested in the UAE, probably a long time ago after she divorced her Afghan American husband.

(web site here mentions it: )

It even mentions Gulnara in connection with sex trafficking to Dubai (plausible in that it is one way to earn hard currency and make another, otherwise unprofitable, Uzbekistan Airways route achieve the all important break-even passenger load factor if that route wasn’t previously achieving it) . I may also write to Mr Blomqist and ask if he thinks it is a good use of Teliasonera’s shareholder funds to continue investing in Uzbekistan given Gulnara’s alleged record of business thefts, particularly in view of the fact Gulnara’s Takilant company will be in a position to demand 500m Kroner from tomorrow for its 6% stake in Ucell.
Found an intriguing article here about Bekhzod Akhmedov. It looks like he is the key person who can implicate Gulnara. I expect he will turn up dead before that though (if he isn’t already). The Russians also want him too.

BTW, it has been useful to hear Dr Kazi’s responses, just to see how the regime in Uzbekistan really does do "damage limitation", but it is possibly a zero-sum game: the more he attempts to limit the damage to the regime’s reputation the more he damages that of himself and that of the institute he works for? Got to leave it there.

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