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Uzbekistan Restricts Toponyms For Naming Places, Things

Uzbek President Islam Karimov
Uzbek President Islam Karimov
PRAGUE -- Uzbek President Islam Karimov has signed a decree forbidding the naming of towns, regions, villages, factories, streets, or buildings after people or historical events, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

The decree requires that airports, train and bus stations, ports and other facilities must be named after the town, city, or region where they are located.

An exception was made for certain people deemed to have made a significant contribution to the country's history, such as the city of Navoi, named after the famous 15th-century Uzbek poet Nizam al-Din Alisher Navoi.

Changing the names of geographical locations is only permitted when reverting to an earlier, historic toponym. Many Soviet-era toponyms have already been replaced by earlier Uzbek ones.

The lower house of parliament approved a similar measure in March and the upper house in late August.

No reason was given for the edict.

Karimov banned building monuments to living people in 1993, at about the same time that large statues of then-President Saparmurat Niyazov were being built in neighboring Turkmenistan.

Read more in Uzbek here