Uzbekistan

Date:  2013-05-28  Author: admin    Source:Wikipedia

Republic of Uzbekistan
 
Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, is the only doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of only two such countries worldwide. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan andTajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south. Before 1991, it was part of theSoviet Union.
Once part of the Persian Samanid and later Timurid empires, the region was conquered in the early 16th century by nomads who spoke an Eastern Turkic language. Most of Uzbekistan’s population today belong to the Uzbek ethnic group and speak the Uzbek language, one of the family of Turkic languages. Uzbekistan was incorporated into the Russian Empire in the 19th century, and in 1924 became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR). It became independent on 31 August 1991 (officially, from the following day).
Uzbekistan's economy relies mainly on commodity production, including cottongolduranium, and natural gas. Despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, Uzbekistan continues to maintain rigid economic controls, which act to deter foreign investment. The policy of gradual, strictly controlled transition to the market economy has nevertheless produced beneficial results in the form of economic recovery after 1995. Uzbekistan's domestic policies on human rights and individual freedoms have been criticised by some international organizations.
Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres (172,700 sq mi). It is the 56th largest country in the world by area and the 42nd by population. Among the CIS countries, it is the 5th largest by area and the 3rd largest by population.
Uzbekistan lies between latitudes 37° and 46° N, and longitudes 56°and 74° E. It stretches 1,425 kilometres (885 mi) from west to east and 930 kilometres (580 mi) from north to south. Bordering Kazakhstanand the Aral Sea to the north and northwest, Turkmenistan to the southwest, Tajikistan to the southeast, and Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Uzbekistan is one of the largest Central Asian states and the only Central Asian state to border all the other four. Uzbekistan also shares a short border (less than 150 km or 93 mi) with Afghanistan to the south.
Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country. It is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world — that is, a country completely surrounded by landlocked countries — the other being Liechtenstein. In addition, due to its location within a series of endorheic basins, none of its rivers lead to the sea. Less than 10% of its territory is intensively cultivated irrigated land in river valleys and oases. The rest is vast desert (Kyzyl Kum) and mountains.
The highest point in Uzbekistan is the Khazret Sultan, at 4,643 metres (15,233 ft) above sea level, in the southern part of the Gissar Range in Surkhandarya Province, on the border with Tajikistan, just northwest of Dushanbe (formerly called Peak of the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party).
The climate in the Republic of Uzbekistan is continental, with little precipitation expected annually (100–200 millimeters, or 3.9–7.9 inches). The average summer high temperature tends to be 40 °C(104 °F), while the average winter low temperature is around −23 °C (−9 °F).
Major cities include AndijanBukharaSamarkandNamangan and the capital Tashkent.
 
The first people known to inhabit the Central Asian region of modern-day Uzbekistan were Iranian nomads who arrived from the northern grasslands of what is now Kazakhstan sometime in the first millennium BC. These nomads, who spoke Iranian dialects, settled in Central Asia and began to build an extensive irrigation system along the rivers of the region. At this time, cities such as Bukhoro (Bukhara), Samarqand (Samarkand) and Chash (Tashkent) began to appear as centers of emerging government and high culture. By the 5th century BC, theBactrianSoghdian, and Tokharian states dominated and ruled over the region.
As China began to develop its silk trade with the West, Iranian cities took advantage of this commerce by becoming centres of trade. Using an extensive network of cities and rural settlements in the province ofMouwaurannahr (a name given the region after the Arab conquest) in Uzbekistan, and further east in what is today China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Soghdian intermediaries became the wealthiest of these Iranian merchants. Because of this trade on what became known as the Silk RouteBukhoro and Samarqand eventually became extremely wealthy cities, and at the times Mawarannahr was the only large and one of the most influential and powerful Persian provinces of antiquity.
Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great conquered Sogdiana and Bactria in 327 BC, marrying Roxana, daughter of a local Bactrian chieftain. A conquest was supposedly of little help to Alexander as popular resistance was fierce, causing Alexander's army to be bogged down in the region that became the northern part of HellenisticGreco-Bactrian Kingdom. For many centuries the region of Uzbekistan was ruled by Persian empires, including theParthian and Sassanid Empires, as well as by other empires, for example formed by the Turkic Hephthalite andGokturk peoples.
In the 8th century Transoxiana (territory between the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers) was conquered by Arabs (Ali ibn Sattor), which inherited the region with the Early Renaissance. Many notable scientists have lived and contributed during the Islamic Golden Age. Among the achievements of the scholars during this period were the development of trigonometry into its modern form (simplifying its practical application to calculate the phases of the moon), advances in optics, in astronomy, as well as in poetry, philosophy, art, calligraphy and many other, which have set the foundations for a Muslim Renaissance.
In the 9th – 10th centuries, Transoxiana was included into the Samanid State. Later, Transoxiana saw the incursion of the Turkic-ruled Karakhanids, as well as the Seljuks (Sultan Sanjar) and Kara-Khitans.
The Mongol conquest under Genghis Khan during the 13th century would bring about a change to the region. The conquest and characteristic expansion of the Mongols led to the displacement of some of the Iranian-speaking people of the region, their culture and heritage being superseded by that of the Mongolian-Turkic peoples who came thereafter.
Following the death of Genghis Khan in 1227, his empire was divided among his four sons and his family members. Despite the potential for serious fragmentation, Mongol law of the Mongol Empire maintained orderly succession for several more generations, and control of most of Mawarannahr stayed in the hands of direct descendants ofChagatai Khan, the second son of Genghis Khan. Orderly succession, prosperity, and internal peace prevailed in the Chaghatai lands, and the Mongol Empire as a whole remained strong and united kingdom.
In the early 14th century, however, as the empire began to break up into its constituent parts, the Chaghatai territory also was disrupted as the princes of various tribal groups competed for influence. One tribal chieftain, Timur (Tamerlane), emerged from these struggles in the 1380s as the dominant force in Mawarannahr. Although he was not a descendant of Chinggis, Timur became the de facto ruler of Mawarannahr and proceeded to conquer all of western Central Asia, Iran, Asia Minor, and the southern steppe region north of the Aral Sea. He also invaded Russia, Turkey, Iraq, and placed under his command Iran and India, before dying during an invasion of China in 1405.
Timur initiated the last flowering of Mawarannahr by gathering in his capital, Samarqand, numerous artisans and scholars from the vast lands he had conquered. By supporting such people, Timur imbued his empire with a very rich Perso-Islamic culture. During Amir Timur's reign and the reigns of his immediate descendants, a wide range of religious and palatial construction masterpieces were undertaken in Samarqand and other population centres. Timur also initiated exchange of medical thoughts and patronized physicians, scientists and artists from the neighboring countries like India; his grandson Ulugh Beg was one of the world's first great astronomers. It was during the Timurid dynasty that Turkic, in the form of the Chaghatai dialect, became a literary language in its own right in Mawarannahr, although the Timurids were Persianate in nature. The greatest Chaghataid writer, Ali-Shir Nava'i, was active in the city of Herat, now in northwestern Afghanistan, in the second half of the 15th century.
The Timurid state quickly broke into two halves after the death of Timur. The chronic internal fighting of the Timurids attracted the attention of the Uzbek nomadic tribes living to the north of the Aral Sea. In 1501 the Uzbek forces began a wholesale invasion of Mawarannahr. The slave trade in the Khanate of Bukhara became prominent and was firmly established. Estimates from 1821 suggest that between 25,000 and 60,000 Persian slaves were working only in Bukhara at the time.
In the 19th century, the Russian Empire began to expand and spread into Central Asia. By 1911 Russians living in Uzbekistan numbered 210,306. The "Great Game" period is generally regarded as running from approximately 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, a second, less intensive phase followed. At the start of the 19th century, there were some 3,200 kilometres (2,000 mi) separating British India and the outlying regions of Tsarist Russia. Much of the land in between was unmapped.
By the beginning of 1920, Central Asia was firmly in the hands of Russia and, despite some early resistance to the Bolsheviks, Uzbekistan and the rest of the Central Asia became a part of the Soviet Union. On October 27, 1924 the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was created. From 1941 to 1945, during World War II, 1,433,230 people from Uzbekistan fought in the Red Army against Nazi Germany. (A number also fought on the German side.) 263,005 Uzbek soldiers died in the battlefields of the Eastern Front, 132,670 went missing in action. On August 31, 1991, Uzbekistan declared independence, proclaiming September 1 as the National Independence Day.
 
The first elections of the Oliy Majlis (Parliament) were held under a resolution adopted by the 16th Supreme Soviet in 1994. In that year, the Supreme Soviet was replaced by the Oliy Majlis. Since then Uzbekistan has held presidential and parliamentarian elections on regular basis but no real opposition candidates or parties are able to participate.
The third elections for the bicameral 150-member Oliy Majlis — the Legislative Chamber and the 100-member Senate — for five-year terms, were held on December 27, 2009, after the second elections that were held in December 2004 – 2005. The Oliy Majlis was unicameral up to 2004. Its strength increased from 69 deputies (members) in 1994 to 120 in 2004–05 and presently to 150.
The executive holds a great deal of power, and the legislature has little power to shape laws. Under terms of a December 27, 1995 referendum, Islam Karimov's first term was extended. Another national referendum was held January 27, 2002 to extend the Constitutional Presidential term from 5 years to 7 years.
The referendum passed, and Islam Karimov's term was extended by an act of parliament to December 2007. Most international observers refused to participate in the process and did not recognize the results, dismissing them as not meeting basic standards. The 2002 referendum also included a plan for a bicameral parliament, consisting of a lower house (the Oliy Majlis) and an upper house (Senate). Members of the lower house are to be "full time" legislators. Elections for the new bicameral parliament took place on December 26. There is currently a political situation emerging in Uzbekistan around Islam Karimov and the selection of Akbar Abdullaev as successor.
The OSCE limited observation mission concluded that the elections fell significantly short of OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections. Several political parties have been formed with government approval. Similarly, although multiple media outlets (radio, TV, newspaper) have been established, these either remain under government control or rarely broach political topics. Independent political parties were allowed to organise, recruit members and hold conventions and press conferences, but they have been denied registration under restrictive registration procedures.

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