Uzbekistan’s New Face
Uzbekistan, long considered the center of Central Asia, has the region’s largest population and borders every other regional state including Afghanistan. For the first 25 years of its independence, it adopted a cautious, defensive policy that emphasized sovereignty and treated regional efforts at cooperation with skepticism. But after taking over as president in autumn 2016, Shavkat Mirziyoyev launched a breathtaking series of reform initiatives. His slogan—“It is high time the government serves the people, not vice versa”—led to large-scale reforms in virtually every sector. Time will tell whether the reform effort will succeed, but its first positive fruits are already visible, particularly in a new dynamism within Uzbek society, as well as a fresh approach to foreign relations, where a new spirit of regionalism is taking root. This book is the first systematic effort to analyze Uzbekistan’s reforms.
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