Uzbekistan: A Key Central Asia Nation

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Vladimir Pachkov, SJ

 Vladimir Pachkov, SJ / Issue 2002 / 21 January 2020

There has been a change of power recently in the main countries of former Soviet Central Asia. In effect, power has been transferred from the people who led these countries when they were still presidents of local communist parties to a new generation of leaders. Nursultan Nazarbaev, Kazakhstan’s first president, has resigned; in Uzbekistan, a change of power took place after the death of Islam Karimov, and the new government has embarked on a course of reforms that are bearing fruit in the economic sphere,[1] hoping that they will go beyond simply adapting the system to the needs of economic development.

A little history

Although the Uzbek people have occupied the territory of modern Uzbekistan only since the 16th century, the country can boast thousands of years of history. Today’s Samarkand was founded by Persians around the 7th century BC. The city was an important entrepôt on the Silk Road and the merchants of the region were the real mediators between China and the West, Iran, Byzantium, the Islamic world and Europe. Not only that, Uzbekistan is located close to the cradle of one of the world’s oldest civilizations.

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