Capital : Tashkent
Size: 172 700 sq m Popn: 21 627 000
The Turkic-speaking inhabitants are descended from the Mongols who invaded in the C13th. The region was conquered by Tsarist Russia in 1865-76 and the emir of Bokhara became a vassal. He was deposed in 1920 as the power of the soviet of Tashkent was extended after 1917 and Uzbekistan became a constituent republic of the USSR in 1925, despite guerrilla resistance which continued for some years. In 1944, Stalin transported 160 000 Meskhetian Turks from Georgia.
After WWII, Uzbekistan became an important cotton growing producing region, accounting for two thirds of Soviet production. The notoriously corrupt Uzbek Communist Party leaders ran the republic like a feudal fief and were given large subsidies in return for their obedience to Moscow. A rise in Islamic consciousness during the 1980s led to violent clashes between the Uzbeks and the Meskhetian, Armenian and Kyrgyz minorities especially in the Ferghana Valley, a centre of puritanical Wahabi Islamic militancy. The Birlik ('Unity') People's Movement, an Uzbek nationalist groupd, was formed in September 1989 and the UCP, led by Islam Karimov, declared sovereignty in June 1990, replacing Russian administrators with Uzbeks.
Karimov supported the coup attempt against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at first but when it failed, the UCP broke its links with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and independence was declared in August 1991. In December, Uzbekistan joined the Commonwealth of Independent States which replaced the USSR and Karimov was directly elected president with 86% of the vote. Uzbekistan joined the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in January 1992, and the UN in March, gaining diplomatic recognition from the USA. In February, it also became part of the Economic Co-operation Organization founded by Iran, Turkey and Pakistan with the aim of forming a customs union. Karimov began gradualist market-centred economic reform but political authoritarianism continued. Communist Party cells were no longer allowed in the police, civil service or military but the UCP, although it had changed its designation, remained very much in control, banning one opposition group, the Islamic Renaissance Party, and harassing others. A coaliton of religious leaders; led by the mufti of Tashkent, demanded multi-party elections and a cessation of CP activity. Many ethnic Russians, who had worked in bureaucracy and industry, left, causing economic problems. The revival of Islamic teaching continued with financial help from Saudi Arabia despite Karimov's secular position.
|al Ghudjadwani||al Hamadani||al Naqshband|
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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