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Home / Analysis / American think-tank about Uzbekistan: unprecedente...

American think-tank about Uzbekistan: unprecedented changes and big expectations

Reforms in Uzbekistan are increasingly being the object of detailed discussion by expert circles abroad. Changes in our country were analyzed by the specialists of the American "Jamestown Foundation" analytical center in a review material devoted to the main events of the past year - liberalization in internal affairs of Uzbekistan, establishment of good neighborly relations with the countries of the region, as well as expectations from 2018.

Jamestown Foundation - one of the recognized think tanks located in the United States. The article about Uzbekistan is published in the "Eurasia Daily Monitor" section, dedicated to the countries of the post-Soviet space.

The material, in particular, informs that shortly after the election of the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev began to eliminate existing serious gaps in domestic and foreign policy, as well as to eliminate stagnation in the system of state administration.
In 2017, Mirziyoyev made significant efforts to change the situation in the country. Major reforms were focused on revitalizing the private sector. The new government relies on small and medium-sized businesses as engines of Uzbekistan's economic development. Under the leadership of Mirziyoyev, concrete steps have been taken in the country to liberalize the financial and monetary policy, in particular, to facilitate the conversion of currency and reduce the significant regulatory role of the state.
The government began to solve problems with doing business. Last year, the new administration also began to respond to social and political issues by releasing dissidents, pardoning 16,000 people whose names were listed on the "black lists" for allegedly extremist religious views. Tashkent invited the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein to assess the human rights situation in Uzbekistan.

About a thousand documents were signed by the President for 2017 to create the legal basis for numerous changes. The most significant event in Uzbekistan, perhaps, was the process of reducing the distance between government officials and the population. It is no coincidence that the 2017th was named the Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests. Mirziyoyev in all public statements of the past year promoted the thesis that officials should serve the population, try to get people's approval. In general, Uzbekistan will remember the past year as a time of revival of hopes for change, that in the future pervasive problems can be solved, such as inefficient public services and corruption.

In international affairs, the new administration worked to shake up the deteriorating relations with neighboring countries for decades and reintegrate into the global community. In addition, the fact that ethnic Uzbeks are represented by numerous communities in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan is cited. For these and other practical reasons, last year Tashkent focused on improving relations with each of its closest neighbors.

As a result, Uzbekistan has reached a serious rapprochement with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, with whom until now it had tense relations. The delimitation of borders, the resumption of air traffic, transport, communications and economic cooperation were at the heart of discussions between the neighboring republics of Central Asia.

Pragmatism oriented Uzbekistan's approach to relations with foreign powers outside the region. Mirziyoyev's administration continued this policy in 2017, in particular, striving to make Uzbekistan more economically important both for its immediate neighbors and for other countries in order to expand its investment and trade potential. For example, Uzbekistan intensified cooperation with South Korea in information technologies, automobile production and medical education, with Turkey on production and tourism development, with Russia to increase agricultural exports, and with China on oil and gas sector development and in the credit and financial sphere. Tashkent seeks to maintain friendly neighborly relations, while assessing what economic benefits the cooperation will bring to the country.

According to the forecasts of the "Jamestown Foundation" analytical center, in 2018 the country's leadership will continue to develop a real market economy, in the center of which will be entrepreneurship and small business. The new administration in the promotion of the economy counts on small and medium-sized, rather than on large enterprises. Consequently, the government will continue to pursue multidirectional reforms to help the private sector grow, creating a favorable investment climate.

It is noted that administrative reforms will be continued. In his speeches, President Mirziyoyev advocates that government officials act with a more active, independent position. And although many officials are from the old system, they will have to meet the requirements set by the President. Accordingly, in 2018, one can also expect the continuation of personnel reshuffles. At the same time, because of the policy of political openness, the officials' faces become more recognizable to people, they become more frequent in the media.

The foreign policy of Uzbekistan in 2018 will be based on economic cooperation. Tashkent, most likely, will continue to follow the non-aligned status, but it will almost certainly remain open to all. In foreign relations, Tashkent is likely to continue to adhere to a bilateral format. In the "top" of the government's agenda there will be such projects as the construction of the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China railway, and others.

In general, over the past year there have been unprecedented changes in the domestic and foreign policy spheres, which the country has not known for a long time, according to the portal. Experts express the hope that the skepticism of local residents and foreigners formed in previous years will be dispelled by the persevering and systematic actions of the leadership. This is what is expected in 2018.
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