For large part of the post-independence period, Uzbekistan's elites have legitimised their rule in the name of a struggle against religiously motivated and foreign-funded extremism. Without President Karimov's rule, the theory that country would have fallen prey to Islamic militancy and possibly slid into chaos has been the cornerstone of the republic's state formation and consolidation efforts. Legal and public dissent, let alone protest or resistance, has been all but silenced in the country. Since the late 1990s, however, episodes of unrest and protest have grown in number and intensity. This book examines the origins of the current waves of protest in Uzbekistan. The author analyses how these have changed over the years and provides an outlook into the country's future. Arguing that the `Andijan events' were not an isolated episode of resistance and/or repression in post-Soviet Uzbekistan, the author shows that they are simply the latest episode in the deterioration of state-society relations in Uzbekistan. Showing how the combination between economic insecurity, social insecurity, and the state's fear of any form of opposition and the declining state authority and legitimacy have all contributed to a state of fear and powerlessness among the population, the author theorises that deprived of any legal outlet for airing grievances, the country is leaning towards various forms of both violent and non-violent opposition.
Table of contents:
1. Authoritarianism, Security and (in)Stability along the Silk Road 2. Uzbekistan's Political System 3. Opposition Politics in Uzbekistan from Birlik and Erk to Andijan 4. Continuity and Change in State-Group Relations 5. Whither Uzbekistan?
Matteo Fumagalli is Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Central European University (CEU), Hungary. His interests include Central Asian and post-Soviet politics, social and political activism, the comparative study of authoritarianism, and the politics of identity and ethnicity.