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Independence declared: 31 August 1991

Population: 25 million

Capital: Tashkent

President: Islam Karimov (since 24 March 1990)

 Country profile


The collapse of the Soviet Union happened just before we retired, so we werenít able to change our lives radically. At first inflation went up every day, and it was difficult for everyone, not just us. Then life became a little easier. But our adult son has not found permanent work. The factory where my husband used to work has almost ground to a halt. We were forced to sell our flat in order to pay our debts.

Blagodar Faina, housewife

Iím personally happy with my life. I graduated from the polytechnic institute, and my neighbour and I opened a billiard hall. We first acquired one shop, and then a few more. Admittedly, we donít have a steady income. The explosions in Tashkent in February 1999 also really destabilised the situation. One of the shops and the billiard room were situated at a railway station, designed for guests from other towns. They became unprofitable.

Shavkaat Xhuseinov, 32, businessman

Our family came to Uzbekistan in the 1970s. We didnít think it would be for long, but it turned out to be for 30 years. Iíve always wanted to go back to my homeland, but the children were at school, and then life got more difficult. They declared independence. At the beginning of the 1990s, when anti-European feelings ran high, the children went back to Russia. Itís been difficult for me, of course, and Iím dependent on money from my son. I will move back too when they have enough money.

Lidia Aleksandrovna, pensioner

Introduction 4. Lithuania 8. Georgia 12. Uzbekistan
1. Russia 5. Belarus 9. Armenia 13. Tajikistan
2. Estonia 6. Ukraine 10. Azerbaijan 14. Kyrgyzstan
3. Latvia 7. Moldova 11. Turkmenistan 15. Kazakhstan

Uzbek women at work
The economy is tightly controlled in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan reluctantly declared independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Today it is seen as one of the most authoritarian countries in the region, with no real opposition inside the country, a servile media and a tightly controlled economy.

The government justifies its tough security measures because of what it perceives as an Islamic threat from radical groups, reportedly based in Tajikistan and Afghanistan, which the government says are trying to overthrow the secular government and set up an Islamic state.

In 1999 a series of bomb attacks killed 16 people. The president said they were an attempt on his life, and four people were sentenced to death.

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