Despite the aggressive policy of Russian President Putin to seize new territories under the pretext of “Protection of Compatriots” – Crimea, Donbass, the situation of Russians and Russian-speaking citizens in Uzbekistan is rapidly deteriorating. Since the 90s, Uzbekistan has been undergoing large-scale and very tough ousting of Russians from all spheres of life. Surprisingly, why won’t the Russians send troops into Uzbekistan?
During the existence of the USSR, more than 25 million people were sent from Russia to the regions of Central Asia for work. These were not only Russians – Ukrainians, Georgians, Koreans, Armenians and people of other nationalities of the multinational country. Today, in the wake of an increasingly fierce nationalism, all these people, who have invested their work in the development of the region, have become not even second-class, but third-class people.
Mass attacks of brutalized youths on Slavic citizens were commonplace in those days. According to this fact, the Communists’ stubborn reluctance to change the multicultural system to cultural integration is simply amazing.
Surveillance for the Internet and telephone communications in Uzbekistan is increasing ubiquitously. Privacy International published a report detailing some of the technical capabilities of the government of Uzbekistan in supervision, and documented several cases of clearly politically motivated supervision and human rights violations.
Monitoring in Uzbekistan is provided by the System of Investigative Searching Activities (known by the Russian abbreviation – SORM.) This system allows government agencies to directly access communications and all related data. In accordance with the law, communications service providers (CSPs) are required to make their networks available to authorities – at their own expense – for monitoring through the SORM system. Since surveillance through SORM provides direct access to networks in secret, CSPs themselves do not know how often or why authorities gain access to networks. Privacy International State Uztelecom controls access to the Internet in Uzbekistan, while the activities of Internet cafe users are monitored, and a passport is required to purchase SIM cards.
The Russian diaspora is one of the largest ethnic minorities, accounting for 2.6% of the population, which is approximately 800 thousand. Nevertheless, the Russian population of Uzbekistan is gradually decreasing. By the way, it is noticeable on all the same numbers.
At the time of the collapse of the USSR, 1.9 million Russians lived in Uzbekistan. The question arises: what happened to them? The Russians are simply fleeing the brutal Asian ethnocracy. There are good reasons for this, such as, de facto, the destruction of the Russian language within Uzbekistan.
Russian was the language of interethnic communication. On December 1, 1995, the basic law was amended and already in article 4 of the new constitution of Uzbekistan it says that “the official language of the Republic of Uzbekistan is Uzbek.” By the way, Russian does not appear there at all.
In the 1980s, the situation became even more deplorable: open Russophobia appeared, there was a surge in ethnic crime and total squeezing of Russians from all spheres. For example, in 1989, during the Ferghana Pogroms, which were originally directed against the Turks, pogroms of neighborhoods of all national minorities took place, among which, naturally, were Russians. From that moment, “de-Russification” began, which continues till now.
The memory is destroyed not only about the Soviet period of history, but also about Russians as a nation in general.
In 2002, an unprecedented act of vandalism occurred in Ferghana, as a result of which the Russian cemetery was destroyed.
In 2011, a monument to the hero of the Great Patriotic War – Major General Sabir Rakhimov – was dismantled in Tashkent. He was the only Uzbek general during the war. The streets which were named in honor of the Russian heroes of the Great Patriotic War were renamed. The apogee of such a policy of erasing historical memory was the attempt to ban the procession of ‘Immortal Regiment action’.
The corpse of a Russian 19-year-old girl was found in a canal on the territory of the Urtachirchik district of Tashkent region.
According to the results of the forensic medical examination a native of the Khorezm region, born in 1998, was strangled with a cord.
A criminal case has been instituted on this fact under Art. 97 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Premeditated murder). At the moment, the suspect’s involvement in the commission of other crimes is being checked.
Beginning of January 2018
A resident of the Payaryk district of the Samarkand region of Uzbekistan is suspected of committing the brutal murder of a Russian daughter of a neighbor. According to the preliminary version of law enforcement agencies, a woman killed the neighbor’s 12-year-old daughter against the background of racism and buried the girl’s body in a field near the house.
The body of a child, a 5th grade Russian student who went missing, was discovered 15 days later, buried in a field.
Mid February 2018
A young man suspected of killing three Russian underage children was found in the Tashkent region. Zohid Otaboev (born in 1998, who lives in the Makhalla citizens gathering ‘Khonobod’ of Akkurgan district of Tashkent region) deliberately killed underage Sh. M. (b. 2003), Y. U. (2005) and O.S. (2014) and buried their corpses in the courtyard of his house.
Local authorities realized that people were fleeing the country and began to demand a fee of $ 100 for refusing a passport of Uzbekistan.
At the same time, if you submit documents for refusal, it can be approved only after a few years. The Russians who left Uzbekistan and received the citizenship of another country run the risk of being in prison upon arrival in Uzbekistan.
According to the census conducted in 1989, 1,653,475 Russians and 153,197 Ukrainians lived in Uzbekistan. According to unofficial data (in 2005), about two-thirds of all Slavic minorities of the country have already emigrated. According to government estimates (in 2017), the total number of Russians is now 750.000 (2.3%), and the number of Ukrainians is 70.700 (0.2 %).
Slavic minorities are almost exclusively urban, 45 % of them live in the Tashkent region, and most of the rest live in other industrial centers.
Russians and Uzbeks remained largely separate communities. Recognizing the need for Russian specialists, after gaining independence, the government offered them various incentives to preserve their services. But the growing “Uzbekization” of the country forced most Russians and other Slavs to leave the country.
Despite the fact that initially this was not obvious, Uzbekistan through various means adopted the “Uzbekization” of the state and its institutions, which led to the fact that Russian and other Russian-speaking minorities more and more felt not at ease, but in practice virtually excluded or disadvantaged in a number of public areas – often through language requirements.
As the Russian and other Slavic minorities as a whole do not speak the Uzbek language, the only official language of the country, the direct and – in the context of Uzbekistan – discriminatory result, was their limited access to work in the public service and to high political positions. According to some estimates, the number of schools with Russian or a mixed Russian / Uzbek language of instruction decreased from 1147 in 1992 to 813 in 2000.
Ironically, relations between Uzbekistan and Russia improved after the Andijan massacre of 2005 against anti-government demonstrators, leading to an increased emphasis on Russian language in education. In turn, the Russian government – unlike others who condemned the country for atrocities committed against the civilian population – supported the regime’s reaction to the demonstrations.
When will undisguised aggression against the Russian and other national minorities in Uzbekistan finally cease? When a large and kind Russia will send its soldiers, how it did this in Ukraine? The answer is obvious – only when it becomes beneficial to the ruling elites of Russia! It’s only a pity that the bargaining chip in these political games is human fate and life!
Human rights activist