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Silly Dictator Story #18: '95 Percent Of Uzbeks Are Happy To Live In Uzbekistan'

“Splendid and infinite happiness” is not good enough for Uzbek President Islam Karimov, because according to the latest poll by the government’s center for public opinion, 95 percent of Uzbeks are happy to live in Uzbekistan.

Rights allegations aside (and there's plenty here in this 2011 report by Human Rights Watch), why the sudden urge to conduct a nationwide poll?

As Uzbekistan’s state agency, UzA reports, the poll was conducted “on the eve of the 21st anniversary of the independence of Uzbekistan.”

In the run-up to Independence Day on September 1, there has been much of the same. To mark one of the state’s most important public holidays, Uzbekistan’s state news agency UzA has recently published a compendium of news articles praising Uzbekistan’s glowing achievements.

According to UzA, all citizens over the age of 18 participated in the poll and the figures rating people’s satisfaction with progress in the economy, social protection, personal safety, and human rights are all in the above-90 percentile range.

As a point of comparison, according to 2012 research done by the Pew Institute, only 29 percent of Americans were satisfied with the way things are going in their country.

The happiness, according to UzA, is testament to “Islam Karimov’s own Uzbek method of development, which has been internationally recognized.”

-- Deana Kjuka

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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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