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Saturday, August 06, 2005


Mystery article smears Uzbek coalition leader

From Arena:

Tashkent-based Zerkalo 21 newspaper published an article entitled “Cunning werewolf” signed by Aziz Tangriberdiyev, which was initially posted on c-asia.org website. The unknown but very well informed author reveals machinations of a renowned entrepreneur Sanjar Umarov and his numerous relatives.

Umarov is a businessman who in April announced creation of the Sunshine Coalition – a group positioning itself as a constructive opposition – and openly spoke about the urgent need for economic reforms.

The coalition put forward a number of required immediate measures, including reduction of taxes, freeing farmers from state slavery and giving lands to them, fast and transparent privatization of all sectors of economy, which are controlled by the family of the president – oil, gas, gold, ferrous metals etc.

However, the main crime of the Sunshine Coalition leader was that he dared to state publicly that the economic policy of Islam Karimov had led the country to a deep crisis, and that the situation could be solved by replacing the government that had discredited itself.

The punishment followed very quickly. Crowds of representatives of the prosecutor’s office, tax inspection and the national security service were sent to all enterprises belonging to large and prosperous family of Umarovs to immediately find a lot of violations and arrears. No objections and complaints were considered. As a result, accounts of these enterprises were frozen, some of Sanjar Umarov’s close relatives were arrested, while others had to flee the country. Today, most of the enterprises related to Sunshine Coalition leader are on the brink of bankruptcy.

Like any other campaign to destroy the enemy in the country, repressions against businessmen that openly stated their disagreement with the government policy had to be ideologically grounded. As a result, the above-named article appeared, which is meant mostly for those not closely familiar with the background of the matter.

Arena wrote earlier that similar articles are given to newspaper editors either by the national security service agents directly or by couriers from the president’s office. The editor cannot refuse to publish the article, otherwise he or she will be fired immediately.

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