CRIME IN UZBEKISTAN

CRIME IN UZBEKISTAN

In the early 2000s, Uzbekistan’s relatively low rate of violent crime has increased. The rate of common street crime also has increased during that period. Beginning in the late 1990s, Uzbekistan’s location north of Afghanistan has meant increased narcotics trafficking, despite efforts to improve border controls. Several routes move drugs from Afghanistan through Uzbekistan to markets in Russia and Europe. The availability of drugs has stimulated a significant increase in domestic sales and drug addiction, together with associated forms of crime. Corrupt law enforcement officials have been involved in the trafficking process. In the early 2000s, large-scale smuggling operations in oil (out of Uzbekistan) and cigarettes (into Uzbekistan) also have flourished, and a black market in cotton exists. [Source: Library of Congress February 2007 **]

According to the OSAC: “The government of Uzbekistan (GOU) does not release official crime statistics. Most data received is through informal sources. The Regional Security Office (RSO) has been made aware of specific violent and property crimes. Speculation by local police is that violent crime continues to rise; however, specific numbers and types cannot be addressed. Violent crimes do not appear to target foreigners. Property and financial crimes are much more commonplace and have an increased focus on foreigners. [Source: “Uzbekistan 2011 OSAC Crime and Safety Report,” Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State <<<]

Every year, the government releases thousands of prisoners in a nationwide amnesty program. The majority of those released are women, underage offenders, and men over age 60, as well as individuals convicted of petty criminal offenses (robbery); however, those convicted of crimes of moral turpitude could be released under certain circumstances. Figures have not been released at this time, but it is anticipated that the number may be at least equal to the number release in 2009: 3,500. Offenders are often released into a depressed economic situation with high unemployment, and many return to their criminal ways. The recidivism rate is especially high for those who commit thefts. <<<

Violent crimes against Americans and other foreign persons are rare. In general, Americans and other foreigners are perceived to be wealthier than the local populace and are, therefore, prime targets for financially-motivated crimes. Corruption is endemic in both the government and in the private business sector and is often closely tied to criminal mechanisms. Criminal links can be found throughout Uzbek society, but they are less likely to impact American business interests. <<<

All five republics of Central Asia have suffered increasing rates of crime in the liberalized atmosphere of the postindependence years. Drug trafficking, official corruption, and white-collar crime have increased most noticeably. All republics lack the resources to equip and train qualified police and specialized forces, and their judicial systems are not sufficiently removed from their Soviet antecedents to deal equitably with new generations of criminals. Evaluation and quantification of crime in post-Soviet Central Asia have been hampered by changes in responsible agencies, by irregularities in reporting procedures, and by lack of control and responsiveness in law enforcement agencies, particularly in Tajikistan. Statistics for the years 1990 and 1994 from Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan show dramatic increases in every type of crime, although those from the other three republics, where record keeping is known to be substantially less comprehensive, show considerable drops in many categories. In 1995 and 1996, Kazakstan and Uzbekistan set up new, specialized police units to deal with economic and organized crime. [Source: Glenn E. Curtis, Library of Congress, March 1996 *]

Crime Threats in Uzbekistan

Crimes of opportunity (muggings, pickpocketing, snatch-and-grabs, theft of unattended bags, bag snatching) are common, especially in crowded places (bazaars, on public transportation). Credit card fraud is rampant and you have a high probability of being victimized if you use them. Violent crime and property crime are on the rise. Unofficial news outlets and informal sources continue to report violent crimes in some of the more impoverished areas of Tashkent. Unofficial reports advise that vehicle theft and carjacking exist. [Source: “Uzbekistan 2015 Crime and Safety Report,” Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State <<<]

The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens to exercise caution while traveling throughout Uzbekistan, especially in Tashkent’s Sergeli, Chilanzar, and Hamza districts and around the Chorsu Market (also known as the Old City). Unsolved property and violent crime are more common in these areas. Throughout 2010, the RSO has been made aware of criminal incidents not related to the expatriate community in Tashkent. These crimes have occurred near GOU buildings and in areas patrolled by private security guards and GOU law enforcement. <<<

The RSO continues to receive reports from individuals concerning assaults and thefts after using private unregistered taxis; these crimes affect local and foreign citizens alike. A common practice is for the driver to ask the passenger to sit in the front. The driver then stops along the way and picks up another “fare”. This person is an accomplice of the driver. They stop and rob the passenger. Assaults can and have occurred during this robbery. <<<

Muggings, pickpocketing, and confidence scams are commonplace in major cities in Uzbekistan. In general, foreigners are perceived by locals to be well-off and, thus, prime targets for financially-motivated crimes. Crimes against U.S. citizens have tended to be financial- or property-related. Americans have been assaulted while frequenting night clubs as well. During 2010, Americans tended to experience property crimes and to be targeted in financial scams. The criminals' motivation did not appear to be based on the victims' foreign citizenship but rather to obtain objects of value. Kidnappings have occurred in Uzbekistan in the past; however, U.S. Embassy Tashkent is not aware of instances of this crime involving the expatriate community. <<<

Drug Related Crime in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has drug and narco-terrorism issues, given its geographic proximity to Afghanistan and its location within a major corridor of routes of movement of Afghan heroin and opium. Several times a year, authorities announce the seizure of large drug shipments at border crossings, and this likely represents a fraction of what is transiting the country. The drug addiction problem is likely much worse than is acknowledged by the host government. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that there are ten times as many drug addicts in Uzbekistan as officially acknowledged. As with many criminal activities, the expatriate community is not generally impacted by this issue. [Source: “Uzbekistan 2015 Crime and Safety Report,” Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State]

According to the United Nations: “In Uzbekistan, the drug related crime trend illustrates a substantially flatter version of the inverted-U pattern observed in other Central Asian countries. Drug related crime for 2006 totalled 8,834 incidence. Of the 5,490 people convicted, the majority were convicted for selling (2,305) and only a small portion were convicted for trafficking (122). Drug related crime prevalence for Uzbekistan was 31 per 100,000, below the regional average of 41 per 100,000. [Source: “Illicit Drug Trends in Central Asia”, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central Asia, April 2008 |~|]

Drug Related Crimes in Uzbekistan:7,942 in 1997; 8,424 in 1998; 8,900 in 1999; 10, 317 in 2000; 9,226 in 2001; 8,716 in 2002; 8,893 in 2003; 8,538 in 2004; 8,367 in 2005; 8,834 in 2006.

Drug Related Crime Offenders in Uzbekistan: 4,237 in 1997; 4,863 in 1998; 5,448 in 1999; 6,205 in 2000; 8,122 in 2001; 6,871 in 2002; 6,858 in 2003; 6,289 in 2004; 5,121 in 2005; 5,490 in 2006.

“The majority of drug related crime occurred in Tashkent city with nearly three times the national drug related crime prevalence (86 per 100,000). Samarkand and Khorezm both reported above average drug related crime figures. These three cities also have the highest prevalence of registered drug users. |~|

Main Drug Related Crimes Registered in Uzbekistan: A) Smuggling: 141 in 2005; 122 in 2006; B) Storage: 2003 in 2005; 2021 in 2006; C) Distribution: 2,247 in 2005; 2,305 in 2006; D) Cultivation: 472 in 2005; 621 in 2006.

See Separate Article on DRUG TRAFFICKING IN UZBEKISTAN

Drug Laws in Uzbekistan

According to Sensi Seeds: Uzbekistan has among the most restrictive drug laws in Central Asia. For possession and use, individuals may be punished with correctional labour or imprisonment of up to three years, or five years in the case of prior convictions. Drug users are institutionally criminalised, and compulsory registration, treatment programs and routine testing are imposed. [Source: Sensi Seeds sensiseeds.com *-*]

“Cultivation is punishable by a fine of 25-50 minimum monthly wages, or correctional labour or imprisonment for up to three years (for small-scale cultivators with no previous convictions); 50-100 monthly wages or 3-5 years’ imprisonment for medium-scale cultivation or that conducted by previously convicted cultivators; or 5-10 years’ imprisonment for cases of large-scale cultivation, or that conducted by ‘dangerous recidivists’ or organised groups.*-*

“For production, sale, purchase or storage of small amounts of narcotics, 3-5 years’ imprisonment is the typical sentence. For medium-sized quantities, 5-7 years is the standard sentence, and for larger quantities 7-10 years. For particularly large quantities or for sale conducted by organised or recidivist groups, the sentence may be as high as 20 years. For trafficking of smaller quantities (limits are not defined), individuals are subject to a custodial sentence of 5-10 years; for larger quantities, the prescribed sentence is 10-20 years.*-*

“As drug use is heavily criminalised in Uzbekistan, it is advisable for visitors to exercise extreme caution if attempting to secure cannabis or hashish. Knowledge of a good, local contact goes a long way, as with most countries; however, in the absence of such assistance, frequenting the bars and nightclubs in urban areas of Tashkent and other major cities will usually yield results with time. *-*

“Be cautious at all times in Uzbekistan—police patrols are common, and are not averse to throwing people in jail for personal drug consumption. However, they are known to be somewhat reticent when it comes to tourists, particularly Europeans and Americans, and bribes may also be effective in some circumstances (and once bribed, officers are often happy to ‘look out’ for tourists in return).*-*

“Once a source has been secured, one can expect to receive one’s cannabis or hashish tightly packed into a matchbox, a style also common in Kazkahstan and Afghanistan (and probably throughout the region). The price for a matchbox full of cannabis or hashish ranges from 24,000 – 60,000 Som ($10 – $25), depending on quality, seasonal availability and location.*-*

Political Violence in Uzbekistan

According to the OSAC: “Uzbekistan has no meaningful political opposition. Since 1991, virtually all prominent government opponents have fled or have been arrested. Demonstrations are rare, but they do occur in small numbers. They typically occur under strict control of the government in front of the General Prosecutor’s Office, Monument of Courage, the Supreme Court, and district courts in Tashkent. [Source: “Uzbekistan 2015 Crime and Safety Report,” Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State]

Civil unrest is very uncommon in Uzbekistan due to the high degree of control exercised by the Uzbek government from the national level down to the local neighborhood associations (malhallas). When unrest has occurred, it has usually been rapidly addressed with strong police action. There is the potential for terrorist attacks and civil disturbance in Uzbekistan, such as a May 2009 suicide bombing in Andijon province.

See Separate Article ANDIJAN MASSACRE

Rape and Domestic Violence in Uzbekistan

According to the U.S. Department of State: “ The law prohibits rape, including rape of a “close relative,” but the criminal code does not specifically prohibit spousal rape, and the courts did not try any known cases. Cultural norms discouraged women and their families from speaking openly about rape, and the press rarely reported it. [Source: “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014: Uzbekistan ,” Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State \*\]

“The law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence, which remained common. While the law punishes physical assault, police often discouraged women from making complaints against abusive partners, and officials rarely removed abusers from their homes or took them into custody. Human rights contacts, however, reported greater willingness by local police and officials to address reports of domestic violence, including in Jizzakh Province and in the traditionally conservative Fergana Valley. Society considered the physical abuse of women to be a personal rather than criminal matter. Family members or elders usually handled such cases, and they rarely came to court. Local authorities emphasized reconciling husband and wife, rather than addressing the abuse. \*\

“There were no reported cases in which women attempted or committed suicide as a result of domestic violence, although those active in women’s issues suggested that there could be unreported cases. According to observers, the usual reason for suicide was conflict with a husband or mother-in-law, who by tradition exercised complete control over a wife. There were no government-run shelters or hotlines for victims of domestic abuse, and very few NGOs focused on domestic violence. \*\

Human Trafficking in Uzbekistan

According to a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), “Central Asia is a growing region of origin for human trafficking.” The difficulty with determining the numbers of the trafficked across the region remains the lack of reliable statistical information. The U.S. State Department annual report of 2003 stressed that “confirmed information on the extent of trafficking from Uzbekistan only recently emerged, and there is a concern that the deterioration in the economy may lead to a growing problem.” Uzbekistan is the “main country of origin” for human trafficking, followed by Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and to a lesser degree by Kazakhstan.” According to UNODC, “victims trafficked from Uzbekistan are primarily brought to Western Asia and North America.” [Source: Saltanat Berdikeeva, China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Volume 7, No. 2 (2009) p. 75-100, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies]

According to the U.S. Department of State: Uzbekistan is a source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and women and children subjected to sex trafficking. Uzbekistani women and children are subjected to sex trafficking in the Middle East, Eurasia, and Asia, and also internally in brothels, clubs, and private residences. Uzbekistani men, and to a lesser extent women, are subjected to forced labor in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine in construction, oil, agricultural, retail, and food sectors. Internal trafficking is prevalent in the country. [Source: “2015 Trafficking in Persons Report: Uzbekistan”, Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Department of State]

The Uzbekistan government has made progress in recent years addressing trafficking-in-persons, including those trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor migrants. Article 135 of the criminal code prohibits both forced prostitution and forced labor, and prescribes penalties of three to 12 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with punishments prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Uzbekistan’s law enforcement data are opaque and cannot be independently verified. In 2014, law enforcement agencies reported conducting 1,016 trafficking investigations, compared with 1,093 investigations in 2013. Authorities reported prosecuting 641 people and convicting 583 trafficking offenders in 2014, compared with 597 in 2013. The government reported 559 convicted offenders were sentenced to time in prison and 19 traffickers were sentenced to correctional labor, compared with 583 convicted offenders sentenced to time in prison in 2013. The government reported that of the 583 convicted and sentenced offenders, 130 subsequently received suspended sentences. In 2014, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) converted an existing law enforcement unit in Tashkent to an anti-trafficking section and increased the number of staff devoted to trafficking in each regional anti-trafficking unit.

Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Authorities continued to address transnational sex and labor trafficking, implementing anti-trafficking awareness campaigns; the government operated a shelter to help sex and labor trafficking victims and strengthened its ties with NGOs to repatriate victims and provide services, although no systematic procedures for assisting trafficking victims were in place; NGOs unaffiliated with the government faced additional scrutiny in 2013, hampering their efforts to protect victims (2014)

The government did not have a systematic process to proactively identify victims from vulnerable populations, including those subjected to internal trafficking, and refer those victims to protective services. Police, consular officials, and border guards referred potential trafficking victims who were returning from abroad to NGOs for services. Government-provided rehabilitation and protection services were contingent on victims receiving official “victim” status by filing a criminal complaint with the Inter-agency Commission to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the MOI’s affirmative decision to open an investigation into the case. Victims who cooperated with law enforcement were allowed to receive security, including escorts to and from trials, under the anti-trafficking law. NGOs reported officials were increasingly complying with legal requirements to maintain victim confidentiality.

The government continued to fund a trafficking rehabilitation center for men, women, and children, which assisted 369 victims in 2014; it included a 30-bed shelter and provided medical, psychological, legal, and job placement assistance. Victims could discharge themselves from the shelter. To remain at the shelter, however, victims had to obey rules, such as obtaining permission to leave, and adhere to a curfew. The government provided funding to local NGOs to conduct vocational trainings and provide health services for victims, in addition to tax benefits and the use of government-owned land. Victims were eligible for medical assistance from the government; in 2014, 898 victims received medical examinations and follow-up care. Uzbekistan’s diplomatic missions abroad helped repatriate 368 victims. While there were reports of potential transnational sex and labor trafficking victims facing criminal penalty of a substantial fine or imprisonment for illegally crossing the border, once victims were formally recognized as such, the law exempted them from prosecution for acts committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking. When such victims were nonetheless charged, NGOs reported success in having the charges dropped.

Organized Crime in Uzbekistan

According to the OSAC: “Organized crime, while thought to be widespread in Uzbekistan, does not often touch the expatriate community. Corruption is endemic in Uzbekistan in both the government and private business sectors and often tied closely to organized crime. Organized crime links can be found throughout Uzbek society, but they are less likely to impact American business interests. [Source: “Uzbekistan 2011 OSAC Crime and Safety Report,” Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State]

Central Asia researcher Saltanat Berdikeeva wrote: “Organized crime in Uzbekistan has been in existence since the Soviet times. As the world’s second largest exporter and fifth largest producer of cotton, Uzbekistan has repeatedly faced major cotton fraud cases involving high-level government officials. The black market for cotton has always been particularly dynamic in Uzbekistan; one of the many areas where organized crime took a sophisticated form in Uzbekistan before it did in any other Central Asian country after the fall of the U.S.S.R.. During the Soviet years, government officials, both at the central and local levels, employed legitimate businesses as a fig leaf for illegal activities. Cotton-related crimes continue to this day as “farmers and officials habitually underreport quantities of produced cotton” to be able to charge much more from smuggling to Kazakhstan than if they sold it at home. [Source: Saltanat Berdikeeva, China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Volume 7, No. 2 (2009) p. 75-100, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies. Saltanat Berdikeeva is a Senior Research Analyst at the Energy Policy Research Foundation, Washington DC, and a contributing security Analyst for Exclusive Analysis, London >>>]

“External factors facilitate serious organized criminal activities in Uzbekistan. Some of the critical cross-border crime issues are narcotics and human trafficking, illegal smuggling of cotton, as well as the smuggling of wheat, scrap metal, and cigarettes. Uzbekistan is an important transit route, as well as a market, for drug trafficking, the volume of which is believed to be rising due to “its location and relatively good roads.”“ >>>

Organized Crime Activities in Uzbekistan

Saltanat Berdikeeva wrote: “ Due to strong policing, ordinary crime such as racketeering is low in Uzbekistan. As the state is strong in tackling petty crime, more serious matters such as narcotics and cotton trade, where criminals and government officials act hand in glove, have remained largely untouched. Money from drug running and privatized cotton cartels sustains criminals with close ties to the government. Corruption and criminal influences in the government are so intertwined in Uzbekistan that the state has essentially “institutionalized criminality and corruption.”[Source: Saltanat Berdikeeva, China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Volume 7, No. 2 (2009) p. 75-100, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies >>>]

“Along with Turkmenistan, it is also a smuggling route of precursor chemicals. Drugs to Uzbekistan and further north mostly come from Tajikistan. The restoration of the Uzbek-Afghan Friendship Bridge, connecting Hayraton (Afghanistan) and Termez (Uzbekistan) is feared to serve as a facilitator to drug trafficking between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Drug smuggling groups are rather small within Uzbekistan and the domestic organized crime is believed to be mostly under the control of “corrupt officials and local grandees.” >>>

“Sharing the 137 kilometers boundary with Afghanistan and bordering all the Central Asian states, Uzbekistan is an important drug trafficking route. The rising rate of drug trafficking through the country is compounded by the shortage of competent law enforcement corps to do drug-related investigations. Drug smuggling across the region has added to the problem of terrorism and organized crime. The terrorist group, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), is believed to have engaged in drug trade. Russian special services recently noted that the IMU “is trying to become “a distributor” of Afghan drugs in Central Asia and Russia,” indicating the group’s ongoing presence in the region. >>>

“Uzbekistan’s location also allows smuggling of nuclear materials “from north to south, the opposite of the paths for drugs traveling from Afghanistan along the so-called “northern route” through Central Asia to Europe.” The Head of the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Tashkent and President of the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences, Bekhzod Yuldashev, has been quoted as saying that “We have nuclear neighbors, Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and India. Uzbekistan plays an important role. Transit [of all goods] is very intensive.” >>>

“Although Uzbekistan has been challenged by a booming business in smuggled weapons with ties to drug trafficking, the rate of arms trafficking through the country, and the region generally, appears to be rather limited. Due to the worsening rate of people trafficking in Uzbekistan, the government ratified the UN Protocol on Prevention of Human Trafficking in February 2009. >>>

“Money laundering appears to be low in Uzbekistan, mostly because it is not a large financial center, its “currency is not freely convertible and banking services are unsophisticated.” At least one source argues that Uzbekistan’s exchange bureaus are used to launder money. According to UNODC, “Article 243 of the Uzbek Criminal Code criminalizes money laundering related to any criminal activity. A decree issued in October 1998 allowed banks to offer anonymous hard currency accounts, but the measure failed to attract significant deposits.”The government has established limits on the amount of money flowing across the Uzbek borders. The Uzbek legislature “passed a new law in August 2004 to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, scheduled to take effect in January 2006,” but its adoption has been further postponed. >>>

Uzbekistan Government and Organized Crime

Diplomatic memos released by Wikileaks revealed that the Uzbekistan government hads “close connections with organized crime.” Associated Press reported: “The March 2006 communique sent by then-U.S. Ambassador Jon Purnell says the embassy had obtained video footage of lavish parties thrown by relatives of a reputed mafia chief and attended by the wives of several government ministers. [Source: Associated Press, January 17, 2011 <<<]

The cable named the crime boss as Salim Abduvaliyev, a man described by Russian crime experts as being a former wrestling champion who consolidated Uzbek organized crime groups in the 1990s and acquired various businesses in former Soviet republics. "Salim's wife and the wives of the GOU [Government of Uzbekistan] Ministers form a tight circle of friends," wrote Purnell, who left the post in 2007. "GOU" stands for Government of Uzbekistan. Uzbek officials, who rarely comment on controversial matters, could not be reached for immediate comment.

The cable describes an engagement bash for Abduvaliyev's son, Sardor, in July 2005, attended only by women, as is tradition. Included among the 20 guests were the wives of Interior Minister Bakhodir Matlyubov, Justice Minister Burtosh Mustafayev, Foreign Minister Elyor Ganiyev and Finance Minister Rustam Azimov, the cable said. <<<

“Abduvaliyev, who is referred to in the cable as a "Tashkent mafia chieftain," was not at the party, but an associate of his handed out $100 bills to guests as they danced, another local custom. Each guest also got a $1,000 necklace from Abduvaliyev. The party was held at Abduvaliyev's mansion near Tashkent, decorated by a Versace representative flown in especially for the job, the cable said. <<<

“Abduvaliyev also threw a grandiose birthday party for his wife, Shahlo, around the same time, attended by the wives of both Ganiyev and other former officials, the cable said. Most guests, also including a foreign-based oligarch and a prominent businessman, gave his wife $3,000 cash, the cable said. Abduvaliyev chairs Uzbekistan's wrestling association and provides lavish support to Uzbek athletes. In 2007, he received a government award as "the year's best sports sponsor."

Uzbekistan President Karimov and Organized Crime

Saltanat Berdikeeva wrote: “According to an Uzbek country expert, President Islam Karimov’s entourage, which controls the entire economy, is the real mafia. All illegal businesses are done through the state, embracing industries such as oil, gas, sugar production, flour making, Internet distribution, and telecommunications, among others. There have been reported cases of illegal circulations of gold and non-ferrous metals. [Source: Saltanat Berdikeeva, China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Volume 7, No. 2 (2009) p. 75-100, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies >>>]

More recently, President Karimov’s family was suspected by some of involvement in organized crime activities in the country, including Karimov’s daughter Gulnara. Gulnara Karimova, along with the handful of ministers with ties to the criminal world, reportedly controls many profitable businesses in the country such as telecommunications, gold mining industry, trade, Internet, and investments to real estate. >>>

“Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, alleges that Gulnara Karimova was “directly implicated in atrocities and the major beneficiary of the looting of the Uzbek state.” Two prominent figures of organized crime of the Soviet times – Ghaffur Rahimov and Salim Abduvaliev – are now believed to be largely passive in Uzbekistan and have mostly legalized their businesses, and live and work abroad. From the mid-90s they “controlled exports of gas and cotton, several aluminum enterprises in Russia, as well as the trafficking of narcotics from Afghanistan to Europe.” >>>

“Reportedly, President Karimov has established good relations with them mostly out of fear. The concentration of power in the hands of corrupt security agencies in Uzbekistan over the past decade, most prominently the National Security Service (SNB), has contributed to the institutionalization of criminality and corruption, giving them enough leeway to take control over key economic and political spheres. The Chairman of the SNB, Rustam Inoyatov, is reportedly the second most powerful person in the country and has “stacked” the state with his people. >>>

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated April 2016

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