The escalation of the situation marked the beginning of July in Uzbekistan. The rallies took place in Nukus. It is the administrative centre of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The intention of the authorities to amend the Constitution triggered the rallies. The residents of Karakalpakstan were outraged that the amendments would significantly change the status of their republic in Uzbekistan. It would cease to be independent. Citizens felt that these amendments were infringing on the sovereignty of their region.
After looking at the reaction in Nukus, Tashkent decided not to rush to adopt the amendments. Parliamentarians signed the resolution on the extension of public debate over constitutional amendments until July 15. The authorities refused to change the articles relating to Karakalpakstan. The editorial staff of CentralAsia.news discussed the current situation, mistakes and need for fundamental changes in Uzbekistan with a political scientist Igor Dubovsky.
Past and future
The expert thoroughly studied the proposed amendments. He stated that the legislators paid increased attention to the democratic rights in Uzbekistan.
“They significantly expand the regulations and interpretations on human rights, the provisions of criminal law, freedoms of citizens and the quality and standard of living. Uzbekistan will develop as a secular state that complies with all recognized international norms,” the expert emphasised.
Igor Dubovsky has no doubts that the constitutional reform in the Republic is overdue. Another thing is that the status of Karakalpakstan should not be neglected. This region has the right to independence that it gained in the Soviet period. Moreover, the Constitution of Uzbekistan contains the clause on the right of Karakalpakstan to sovereignty.
“Actually, destiny of this region that was part of the three Soviet Republics at different times developed in different ways in the Soviet period. In Soviet times, Karakalpakstan had the right to secede from the Soviet Union. Today, the same right is assigned to Karakalpakstan as part of Uzbekistan,” the expert said.
Mistake and solution
The political scientist said transformational processes have been launched in Uzbekistan under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The problem is that they have reached the regions of the Republic at different speeds, and their level of efficiency differs as well. Dubovsky made two assumptions about what Tashkent had not counted on when it began preparations of amendments to the Constitution.
“The issues of state sovereignty raised in the amendments, on the one hand, were not discussed with the regions in a timely manner, on the other hand, could be used by radical forces to stir up political protests in the country at the moment when the country and people need to consolidate to the greatest extent possible,” the political scientist believes.
The expert considered the extension of public debate over constitutional justified. “It will allow developing a coordination position with the regions and citizens,” the political scientist expressed his opinion.
“Therefore, I believe that all amendments, probably with some adjustments on fundamental points, which require coordination during the extended period, will eventually be adopted at a referendum,” the expert concluded.