Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Had Karakalpaks Not Been Suppressed, Uzbekistan and Other Central Asian States Would have Faced the Risk of Disintegration, Sariyev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 22 – Had the protests in Karakalpakstan not been suppressed quickly, it is entirely likely that this would have led to the disintegration of Uzbekistan as a state and that in turn would have led to the intensification of separatist challenges in other Central Asian countries as well, according to Mars Sariyev.

            It was a good thing not only for Uzbekistan but for all of Central Asia that Tashkent suppressed the protests in Karakalpakstan by a combination of concessions – the proposed elimination from the constitution of the right of that republic to seek independence – and repression – the imposition of martial law, the Kyrgyz analyst says.

            Had the Uzbek authorities not done so, the July 1-3 events in Nukus would have triggered demands for secession in a variety of places, including Uzbekistan’s Tajik-dominated south, the ethnically mixed Fergana valley, and Tajikistan’s restive Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, he says (

            Sariyev clearly believes that the only way the countries in Central Asia can maintain themselves is by a clever combination of carrots and sticks, an indication that specialists in that area view it was far more unstable than do many outside, at risk not only from foreign interference but even more from the aspirations of portions of their own populations.  

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