His argument is essentially that many of the complaints that the Kyrgyz people have against ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev are also on people's minds in Uzbekistan, only in an even more exaggerated form. The collapse of the Kyrgyz administration might therefore "put thoughts of revolution into the heads of Uzbeks," according to Walker:
Amid all of this, ordinary Uzbeks live in crushing poverty, with no free press and in fear of the rapacious security services. The country's border with Kyrgyzstan has been shut off since the unrest began last week, and the Uzbek authorities have ensured that local media do not cover the uprising. Nevertheless, the fear for the Uzbek regime will be that news of the collapse of the Kyrgyz regime may put thoughts of revolution into the heads of Uzbeks."
But invoking the Kyrgyz experience to explain Uzbeks rings hollow.
It's not that Uzbeks are afraid of a few broken windows or cars set on fire. It's just that if there is any notion of revolution in Uzbek heads, it is crowded out by the events of May 2005, when Karimov's troops killed hundreds of demonstrators in the eastern town of Andijon.
So if Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution was fueled as much by alcohol as conventional wisdom has it, I wonder how much Uzbeks must drink to overcome their fear of Karimov's brutality. His regime has been annihilating the opposition and freedoms for some time, and the result of that evolution is a situation that is difficult to change. It's about more than just President Karimov. We Uzbeks also have evolved the way who we are -- prone to patience and hope without action regardless of oppression and tyranny.
Russian ethnographer Vladimir Nalivkin wrote in an 1813 essay contrasting "Stan" nations -- including the "settled" Uzbeks and the nomadic Kyrgyz:
The parallel between then and now is clear. But if my theory of Uzbek evolution proves wrong, I would be more than happy to accept it.
-- Alisher Sidikov