Uzbekistan Culture

Uzbekistan Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Uzbekistan

According to INTERNETSAILORS.COM, Uzbekistan is a country located in Asia. The official language policy is not reflected in the media landscape. Many newspapers, including government, are published in Russian, although the language has no official position. In schools, the Cyrillic alphabet was replaced with Latin in 1996, but a decision that the newspapers would switch to Latin writing in 2005 has been postponed in the future. So far, the younger generation can only find occasional Latin pages. Generally, the Russian-speaking media, including the Russian Federation’s TV channels, which are broadcast on the cable networks, turn to the residents of larger cities, while the Uzbek-speaking media also reaches the rest of the country. The official censorship was abolished in 2001 but was replaced by a comprehensive unofficial list of topics and words that must not be in the media.

Parliament’s Uzbek-language newspaper Halq sozi (‘The Word of the People’, founded in 1991) has an edition of 53,000 copies. (2009) and is also published in a Russian edition, Narodnoje slovo (15,000 copies). The Russian-speaking government body Pravda Vostoka (‘The Truth of the East’, founded in 1917) is published in 35,000 copies. Other newspapers’ editions rarely exceed a few thousand. Most widely circulated is the weekly newspaper Darakchi (‘Intelligences’), which monitors the celebrity world. The Uzbek-speaking edition is 150,000 and the Russian 40,000.

The state-controlled radio broadcasts in Uzbek, Russian and other languages ​​since 1927, television since 1956. In addition to the major state TV channels there are about 50 local, of which about 30 are privately owned. In addition to the official UzA news agency, the Foreign Ministry has its own, Jahon. The largest of the private news agencies is Turkiston Press, but Uzbekistan Today, which has a total of about 3,000 subscribers in Russian and English, is said to have the greatest significance for the news media in the country. In 2007, approximately 7% of the population had access to the internet.


According to ANIMALERTS, Uzbekistan is the only Central Asian country that has an ancient city culture. The capital of Tashkent dates back 2000 years and Samarkand is considered to have been founded around the year 700 BC. One of the trade routes on the legendary Silk Road went through the area that is today Uzbekistan.

When the Mongol ruler Timur Lenk (see Older History) made Samarkand its capital in 1369 AD, the city was one of the world’s largest, with more than 150,000 residents. Samarkand became a center for Muslim studies and had contacts with South Asia, the Middle East and Spain.

Timur Lenk’s grandson, astronomer Ulugh Beg, built an observatory in Samarkand. He calculated the location of the thousands of stars and made a map of the starry sky used by Chinese and European scientists for four centuries. Also from the area came other famous medieval scientists, such as the mathematician Musa Khwarizmi and the scientist and philosopher Biruni, who, however, came to work in Baghdad and Persia.

For many centuries the area was an Islamic center. In Samarkand, Bukhara and Chiva, medieval Muslim educational institutions and mosques are preserved.

The religious activity gave rise to a strong literary tradition. The oldest Uzbek literature dates from the 1400s, when the poet Alisjer Navoi appeared. At that time, people generally wrote in Persian. Navoi was one of the first to write the medieval Turkish language Chagatai. He is now regarded as Uzbekistan’s national call. His work received a renaissance during the cultural liberation of the communist and Russian-dominated Soviet era (1924–1991).

After independence, artists and writers have been more free to choose their subjects and motives than during the Soviet era, but the cultural workers must refrain from anything that can be interpreted as regime criticism. They should ideally portray Uzbekistan as a modern, successful and happy country.

In the 1990s, older Uzbek literature was published in new gifts, such as the first historical Uzbek novel “Past Days” by Abdullah Qadiri, which was active in the 1920s and 1930s. Novels with motifs from Uzbek history still occupy a prominent place. In poetry, Abdullah Oripov and Erkin Vahidov are the most famous names.

Film production in Uzbekistan was for a long time dominated by Russia. After independence, the country could not afford to produce more than a couple of films a year. The top directors include Zinovi Roizman and Jusup Razykov.

Singer Yulduz Usmanova is known both in his home country and abroad for his modernized version of classical oriental music. Listen to her on YouTube. There you can also see and hear President Islam Karimov’s daughter Gulnara Karimova, who in addition to being a politician and businesswoman (until she fell into disgrace in 2014) was also one of the country’s most popular pop singers.



Mirzijojev takes over as president

December 14

Fun cat Mirzijoev is installed as president. At the same time, new Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov, who was previously Deputy Prime Minister, will take office.

Presidential election with given result

December 4th

As expected, Shavkat Mirzijoev wins big over his three opponents in the election of new president after Karimov. He gets 88.6 percent of the vote according to the Election Commission. OSCE observers say they have found evidence that ballot boxes were filled with ballots by officials and that in many places people have voted for others. The OSCE delegation leader, the Swedish diplomat Peter Tejler, says that “the dominant position of the state authorities and the limited basic freedoms of the population have undermined political diversity and led to an electoral movement without real competition”. Russian President Putin calls Mirzijoev and gives him “his warm congratulations”.


Mirzijojev is running for president

September 16th

Mirzijojev announces that he is running for office in the presidential election announced until December 4. He is considered a great favorite for the victory.

No course change

September 9th

In his first appearance as acting president, Mirzijojev says that Uzbekistan will also not, under his leadership, form part of any military alliances with other countries. He thus follows the same line as Karimov, who has kept both Russia and the United States at arm’s length and tried to take advantage of the rivalry between the great powers. The motivation for electing Mirzijoev for president was that he is the best guarantor of stability.

Mirzijoev becomes interim president

September 8

Parliament appoints Shavkat Mirzijoev as interim president since Senate President Julda Dashev, who according to the constitution is expected to lead the country pending re-election, said he supports Mirzijoev.

President Karimov is buried

September 3

The country’s recently deceased President Islam Karimov is buried in Samarkand one day after the death announcement. Present at the funeral are the presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan as well as Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev. The uncertainty about who will become Karimov’s successor causes observers to follow the funeral act in old-fashioned Soviet fashion. They note that among those closest to the coffin are Prime Minister Shavkat Mirzijoev and Finance Minister Rustam Azimov. It was Mirzijoev who was given the task of leading the funeral arrangements, which in the Soviet era was a sign of a pending promotion.

President Karimov is dead

2 September

State TV announces that President Islam Karimov is dead. The death sentence is preceded by several days of rumors that the country’s leader has passed away, with subsequent denials from the authorities. Parts of Karimov’s hometown of Samarkand are blocked off and the streets are cleaned up before the funeral. Karimov, who turned 78, goes down in history as one of Asia’s most brutal leaders in modern times. Most notable was his regime when hundreds of protesters were killed in Andizan in 2005 (see Modern History). The president’s supporters have said that limited personal freedom has been a reasonable price to pay for political stability. In accordance with the constitution, Senate Speaker Nigmatilla Juldashev is appointed acting head of state. New elections for the presidential post shall be held within three months.

Dimmed Anniversary Celebration

1 September

The celebration of Uzbekistan’s 25th anniversary as an independent nation takes place in dimmed forms. Several heavy ministers are missing, leading to speculation about how the country is headed. The official media does not mention Karimov’s illness, and a greeting from the president to the nation is read by a studio reporter.


“The president lives”

August 31st

Rumors in Uzbek exile sources claim that Karimov is dead, but youngest daughter Lola Karimova-Tilljaeva assures that he is alive and that public support is helping him with the recovery.

Concerns about the country’s future

August 30th

The announcement that President Karimov is seriously ill – as well as rumors that he is dead – are triggering concern in Uzbekistan and the outside world. Karimov has led the country since independence in 1991 with such authoritarian methods that no obvious heir to power has been able to emerge. According to the constitution, the president of the Senate will temporarily replace the president until the election.

The president is seriously ill

August 29th

President Karimov is taken to hospital where he receives intensive care. According to daughter Lola Karimova-Tilljajeva, he has suffered a brain haemorrhage. His condition is described by the doctors as stable.


Telecom companies are fined for bribery

February 18

A legal investigation in the United States leads the Dutch telecom company Vimpelcom to admit that it made illegal payments of about $ 114 million to an unidentified official in Uzbekistan (it later emerges that the official is Gulnara Karimova). Vimpelcom is ordered to pay heavy fines to authorities in the United States and the Netherlands. The US Department of Justice is trying to seize the money paid to Karimova.

Uzbekistan Culture

About the author