Uzbekistan - the Emergence of a New Nation

By Khudaiberganov, Nodir | Contemporary Review, October 1998 | Go to article overview

Uzbekistan - the Emergence of a New Nation


Khudaiberganov, Nodir, Contemporary Review


After the dissolution of the former USSR, completely new countries with new financial and political systems have appeared in its territories. They add new features to the political and financial map of the world. One of them is the newly independent Republic of Uzbekistan, which is developing open and free market relations and trying to build a just society and a strong democratic state. In this article I shall endeavour to highlight the main changes which have taken place since Uzbekistan became independent, the reforms that have been implemented, and the country's potentials.

Having an area of 447,800 square kilometres, Uzbekistan is situated in the middle of the Central Asian Region. Administratively it is divided into 12 provinces and the Karakalpakstan Republic. The population of Uzbekistan exceeds 25 million people and half the population is twenty years or less. The capital is Tashkent, which has more than 2 million inhabitants. More than 70 per cent of its population is Uzbek. However, the country's ethnic composition is heterogeneous, and other Turkic, Slavonic groups are also represented.

The main industrial sectors in Uzbekistan are aircraft production, metallurgy, energy, chemical, light and food industry, as well as construction materials production.

The main agricultural product is cotton, which is not surprising since the territory of present-day Uzbekistan used to be the main cotton-growing area in the Soviet Union. Today, Uzbekistan is the fourth cotton producer in the world and the second exporter of this product (after the USA). Uzbekistan aspires to export processed cotton and ready-made products through technological innovation and development.

On August 31, 1991, the Parliament of Uzbekistan proclaimed the independence of the Republic, and consequently a new page was turned over in the country's history. A new constitution was adopted on December 8, 1992.

Currently, deep economic and socio-political transformations are taking place. Day by day Uzbekistan is ridding itself of the Soviet system, including the planned command system, and little by little it is facing the principles of market economy, that is, a multi-structural economy with different forms of ownership and competitive markets, etc.

The method for achieving this objective is based on five key principles formulated by the president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov. These principles have passed the test of time and their efficiency has been confirmed in practice. They have been approved and supported by the people of Uzbekistan. Nowadays, the realization of these principles secures sociopolitical stability and persistent advancement towards the implementation of market relations in the Republic.

Key Principles of Reform

The first principle is that economy should have priority over policy. Economic reforms should not follow the political processes. In other words: the country's current policy focuses on the economic development.

The second principle is that the state should be the chief reformer during the complicated transition period. It should initiate the process of reform in the interest of the nation, identify priorities for economic progress, elaborate and consistently implement a policy of radical transformation in the financial, social, public, and political spheres.

The third principle is that the entire process of renovation and progress must follow the law. This is based on the conviction that tangible results of economic transformations can be expected only if they are founded on practically applicable laws.

The fourth principle is that, along with economic reforms, it is necessary to provide the Republic's population with a system of social security. This is crucial to prevent a social imbalance leading to social unrest. In other words, social stability creates favourable conditions for carrying out reforms.

The fifth principle is that the establishment of a new system and the implementation of economic reforms should be introduced carefully and stage by stage. …

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