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No Laughing Matter

RFE/RL's Gulnoza Saidazimova offers a brief glimpse into one of the world's more obscure independence campaigns in "Uzbekistan: Shadowy Group Agitates For 'Free Karakalpakstan'." It is difficult to know whether to chuckle or cringe when reading about the chat-board dreams of the "Free Karakalpakstan National Revival Party."

What is clear, however, is that many thousands of people in that region of northern Uzbekistan endure terrible squalor beyond the notice of virtually anyone but UNICEF.

It is also clear that even the remote specter of separatist "unrest" can serve as a pretext for brutal retaliation in the hands of a former factory foreman turned leader-for-life like President Islam Karimov. That's why it's alarming to hear analyst Toshpulat Yuldoshev suggest that while the separatists have no means to achieve their goal, they could "definitely" destabilize the country.

-- Andy Heil

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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