Uzbekistan: new policy of the new President - doctor of Sciences, orientalist
Material posted: Pankratenko Igor N.Publication date: 06-12-2016
It is no exaggeration to say that yesterday in Uzbekistan the presidential elections were it Showkat Mirziyoyev. This fact was obvious to all from the beginning, from the moment when a few days after the death of Karimov, when at a joint meeting of both chambers of the Uzbek Parliament, the speaker of the Senate Nigmatilla Yuldashev, who under the Constitution had to temporarily inherit the powers of the presidency, took the rejection in his favor.

Equally obvious was the fact that competitors Mirziyoyev in this election - Hataman Meetings (national democratic party), Sarwar of Atamuradov (Democratic party "National revival"), and narimon Umarov (Social democratic party) – no serious competition acting President, before that, thirteen years head of the government, be could not the scale of these figures. And the question that 59-year-old Mirziyoev will become the second President of Uzbekistan was decided in the polling stations, and in the negotiations of local elites, the powerful clans, who quickly and without much conflict to divide the inheritance left by Islam Karimov.

So, neither citizens nor the experts much excitement in the course of yesterday's voting in Uzbekistan is not caused. The final result of the presidential election was known in advance. A greater interest is the question of where to lead the country's second President, what path of development it will offer to the state, a key player in Central Asia, what are the foreign policy priorities of the elected. Here, by analyzing the results of activities Mirziyoyev for the less than three months that he was "acting" President, there is something to say.

Showkat Mirzaeva got a very difficult legacy. Behind the facade of Uzbek stability – a huge problem in the social sphere, suffocating from a lack of investment, the economy, the growing discontent of the middle-class and youth, the complex relationship with its neighbors and the growing external pressure of Moscow, Washington and Beijing are competing for dominance in Central Asia. For the Uzbek elites, it is quite obvious that the country needs to modernize, what to preserve acute problems – what could Islam Karimov with his authority - will not succeed. But equally obviously, and another sharp turn to reform is fraught with social upheavals, loss of control over the situation and, as a consequence, loss of control over the country.

Hence the tactic, which will adhere to the new President of the reform will be launched, but will have to hold them with the utmost care, slowly, cautiously and carefully – to the well-known saying, "with water not to splash out the child". Proponents of rapid liberalization, will be disappointed, Uzbekistan will not be overnight, "a country with a high level of political and economic steps." But for Tashkent slowness in reforming the public and economic relations will ensure stability and avoid social upheaval.

Three initiatives, which in recent months has put forward Mirziyoev – development and adoption of the law on combating corruption, liberalization of the foreign exchange market in the country and protection of the rights of entrepreneurs if the country's Parliament will be created, the Ombudsman – in the case of their implementation can significantly reduce social tensions and enhance economic activity of the population. In addition, in October it was announced the reduction of the financial burden for farmers that export their goods abroad — they were allowed to sell to the state only 25% of foreign exchange earnings instead of 50%.

And the actions of the new President to attract foreign investors, in particular, to the joint development with foreigners prompted more than 200 projects for investment, including 547 mineral deposits can seriously improve the business climate and to bring in the Uzbek economy needed for its development, foreign Finance, because the internal is not enough. Total announced the start-up of 657 investment projects worth $40 billion over five years.

In fact, the economic program Mirziyoyev boils down to two fundamental issues - the protection of the business and attract foreign investment. His plans, outlined in the election program, needs to double GDP by 2030 and increase the share of industry in the economy to 40%. It is also planned to increase the volume of textile production in three times, and pharmaceutical – 2.5 times.

By the way, a serious place in the program Mirziyoyev is the project of construction of 15 thousand houses for low-income families in 2017 and halving the size of the initial fee to obtain a mortgage loan. Just Mirziyoev wants to build over the next three years 50 thousand apartments in multi-storey houses in the major cities of the country.

Of course, no one suggests that these initial reforms will take place quickly and painlessly. And the main reason is that officials offered to give up part of their powers in the field of control and issuance of various permits. Moreover, the results of the planned reforms have not only reduced their shadow incomes from bribes in the form of offerings and gratitude, but some will drop their status of "arbiter" they will be implementing the laws. Who will like it, and who is voluntarily and enthusiastically agree? Even more skepticism is caused by the plans to combat corruption, and hopes her victory can only cause a smile. But the fact is that not even the eradication, but only partial partial localization of the two ulcers, erosive Uzbekistan, the introduction of clear rules of the game can already give a positive effect in the economy and in social sphere. And Mirziyoev, and behind it the elite understand this very well.

No less complex are the tasks facing the new Uzbek President and his team in foreign policy, and regional, that is to say - the local and at the global level.

On this very "local" level, in relations with its neighbors, Uzbekistan has been facing a difficult dilemma. On the one hand, its competition with Kazakhstan has not been canceled, and dominance in relations with Bishkek and Dushanbe is a requirement of the Uzbek elite to the new President. And he himself is well aware that this dominance is a necessary condition of preservation of the high status of Tashkent in relationships with "big players" - the same Beijing, Washington and Moscow.

On the other hand, harsh methods of pressure on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which is actively used by the late Islam Karimov, by and large, little given to the inclusion of Bishkek and Dushanbe in the sphere of influence of Tashkent. So obviously the tone of Uzbekistan towards its neighbors will become more soft, very violent methods, like the cessation of air and railway communication, transportation, war and border conflicts will gradually leave in the past. But the desire to dominate the Tashkent is not going to disappear, and therefore to replace the hard - come "gentle pressure", more diplomatic, based on economic factors, with the involvement of "third parties".

As for relationships with "big players", here before Mirzaeva dilemma no less difficult. With Beijing, everything is quite simple – currently it is for Tashkent optimal partner, and – not make political demands, are ready actively to invest and attract the Uzbek side as a partner to its regional and international economic projects. In relations with China, Uzbekistan, in fact, it is only necessary to maintain a balance of self-interest and ensure that one fine morning have not found that a controlling stake in the Uzbek economy belongs to Beijing.

Harder with Moscow and Washington. The new us strategy of "Return to Central Asia 3.0" examines the expansion of relations with Tashkent and restore the positions of the USA in Uzbekistan as one of the key aspects of Washington's policy in the region. For what and old and especially new, the White house rejected the claims in matters "of violations by Uzbekistan of human rights" and other liberal wrappers.

Moscow hopes to persuade Tashkent to close partnership (and subsequent membership) with the Eurasian economic Union and accession to the CSTO. While subtly hinting Uzbek side about its readiness to act as a guarantor of security against "terrorist threats", which, like a week ago, said Russian defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his counterpart from Tashkent to Kabul Berdiev, "require a joint effort on the part of Russia and Uzbekistan, the situation at the border makes us think again on how important it is to date, the cooperation within the CSTO and the SCO".

But here, the Kremlin was expecting some disappointment. The rapprochement between Moscow and Tashkent will have its limitations even when Karimov: Uzbekistan is unlikely in the foreseeable future will allow myself to return to relations with Russia, which call into doubt his political and military sovereignty. This is the first. The second is economically more interesting Tashkent Beijing, therefore, the trade turnover between Russia and Uzbekistan, though will slowly grow, but the focus of the country is precisely on the Chinese economy and the Chinese projects will remain unchanged. Word about Tashkent as a new member of the EEU and the CSTO experts it is better not to talk, not to incur charges of incompetence.

In fact, in relations with the United States will also. The Uzbek leadership will try to extract maximum political, financial and economic benefits from bilateral relations, but will strictly adhere to the "red" boundary lines, not to become a "pawn" of the us games in the region, which aim to counter the expansion of Chinese influence.

Before the new President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirzieev that yesterday, the country chose its leader, are complex, often seemingly intractable, challenges: gently get rid of the negativity accumulated in the economy to ensure stable, without social upheaval, the ongoing development of the country, adaptation in part of an archaic social and economic relations to the challenges of the modern world. How successful will it reform plan, only time will tell, but the grounds for optimism there, as he himself, and his plans are a serious support of influential clans of the country. Whose consent with the ideas of the second President of Uzbekistan and has identified, in fact, the results of yesterday's vote.

Igor Pankratenko


Tags: Uzbekistan