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How central Asian autocracies help Putin’s regime survive. Will Сhina capture territory to the Caspian?

23.12.2022 admin

Journalist Evgeny Senshin’s of the Russian Internet magazine “Republic” interview with the founder of the political-oppositionary movement “Erkin O’zbekiston” Hasanboy Burhanov. 23.12.2022

Russia, despite the entire barrage of western sanctions, will continue to preserve its imperial essence, military, and economic potential to the point that it has the support of central Asiatic states, – assures Hasanboy Burhanov – a representative of the Uzbek opposition and founder of the political-oppositional movement “Erkin O’zbekiston”. Why does he think so? Has not Russia, for example, in the end not been able to create a gas union between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan? The words of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev where they touch upon Russia’s foreign policy in Ukraine are ambiguous. But Burkhanov is certain that all this is for show. Actually, almost all of central Asia is in Putin’s hat. If for now, the Kremlin is interested only in economic resources, in some time it might need human resources too – for future militarily-political aggressive bouts.

“While the Kremlin holds central Asia with its tentacles, there is no space for discussion about the collapse of Putin’s regime”

– Why did you come to the opposition?

– In Uzbekistan, I led a national organization for people with disabilities. It is impossible, however, to protect the rights of citizens in a separate category when in the entire country human rights are not observed. As a consequence of my social activism, I was subject to repressions by the authorities and was forced to leave the country in the autumn of 2012. In 2013 German authorities granted me political asylum. When in 2016 Shavkat Mirziyoyev, being the Kremlin’s lackey, came to power through an anti-constitutional coup, I decided that I must start oppositional activism. I know this man from working in the third sector, and it was already clear to me what future awaits Uzbekistan under his rule.

– So what future materialized under his rule? How would you define the political regime that has formed under Mirziyoyev?

– This is a kleptocratic and pro-Putin regime. With Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s assumption of power, criminals gushed into the country. These people were put under sanctions by the international community, and the American ministry of finances, they were wanted by Interpol. At the moment they peacefully do business in Uzbekistan and hold positions of power. For example, I can bring forth the caseof Uzbek criminal authority Gafur Rakhimov, who in February of the year 2012 was included in the sanction list of the USA ministry of finances, and in, and in the year 2013 – stated wanted by Interpol.

A week after the prime minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev became provisional president of the country, Gafur Rakhimov’s name was taken off the wanted list of the Interpol representation in Uzbekistan. Today he is the first vice president of the federation of professional boxing of Uzbekistan.

Another leader of Uzbekistan’s crime world – is Salim Abduvaliev, or the “Boss of Uzbek mafia”, as he was deemed by former USA ambassador to Uzbekistan John Purnell, under the Mirziyoyev regime elected to the post of vice-president of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan and president of the association of sportive wrestling of Uzbekistan. He has a Ph.D. in economics. On the 27th of March, this year in Konstantinov Palace in St.Petersburg – an official residence of the president of the Russian federation – Salim Abduvaliev was given the award of Ludwig Nobel for his “extraordinary professional achievements and services to humanity”.

Furthermore, a citizen of Russia, criminal authority Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, wanted by FBI –  for the capture of whom the US National department offers a reward of up to $4 mln – has contracts with the Uzbek government for the arrangement of gambling game zones.

The Mirziyoyevist regime makes these people heroes and examples to follow for the youth. Rakhimov, Abduvaliev, and Tokhtakhunov are adherents of Putin’s regime, they promote the rebirth of the USSR. As it was in the Soviet period, the Mirziyoyevist regime leans on criminal elements to fight civil activists, opposition figures, and other-minded members of society.

– You have named people accused of crimes, which are totally fine in Uzbekistan. We all know the Russian-Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov. He also falls under Western sanctions. Germany accused him of not paying taxes –  hundreds of millions of euros. What, do you think, is his role in Uzbek-Russian relationships?

– All the crime bosses mentioned above are linked by one chain to Russian citizen Alisher Usmanov. This is a widely known fact.

These ties were mentioned in the book “The Gang from Lubyanka” which was published in 2002 by a former officer of the Russian federal security service Alexander Litvinenko. In September 2007, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray published an article in his blog entitled “Alisher Usmanov, potential Arsenal chairman, is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist“, where he describes Alisher Usmanov’s connections with mafiosi. In 2017, Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation released several investigationson Usmanov’s crimes in corruption, which pointed to the criminal origins of his money.

In my view, Usmanov’s claims that he earned his fortune in an honest way, is as much of a myth as all of his charitable activities. Usmanov’s business flourished only during Vladimir Putin’s presidency. It was he, who let Usmanov, as well as other court oligarchs, rob the Russian people, turning them into his personal wallets.

Usmanov is under international sanctions – according to German authorities, his tax debt is €555 million. Nonetheless, he was attempting to circumvent sanctions. The Mirziyoyev regime has repeatedly and unsuccessfully appealed to German and EU authorities to remove Russian citizen Alisher Usmanov from the EU sanctions list. Similar written requests to European officials were sent by Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.  Of course, written requests of heads of state concerning Russian citizen Usmanov to the EU could not have taken place without the direct participation of Vladimir Putin.

By trying to get Usmanov out of the sanctions, the presidents of Turkey, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are showing their solidarity with the Putinist regime and its aggressive war in Ukraine. All these data confirm the fact that the Putinist regime, through Alisher Usmanov, influences and is directly related to the Mirziyoyev regime established in Uzbekistan.

Usmanov’s entire business in Russia, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan boils down to the following: under cover of the government, buy up as much national wealth as possible for next to nothing, sell it abroad at market prices, and accumulate the excess profits in offshore tax havens. The most important thing in his business is to stay in the country where this robbery of national wealth may take place in less than 183 days. This gives him the right not to be a tax resident of the state, which exempts him from paying tax on profits earned abroad.

Alisher Usmanov must stand before a fair trial and take responsibility for his actions.

– What were the reasons for the formation of such a regime in Uzbekistan in 2022? Protracted transit, usurpation, an immature society, which is not ready for democracy? We see that in other states something has happened. During this time, Kyrgyzstan has had several revolutions: the Tulip Revolution in 2005, the April Revolution in 2010, and the last one in 2020. President Tokayev of Kazakhstan, although you criticize him, is nonetheless trying to break with Nazarbayev’s past and promises political reforms.

– Alas, the role of personality has weight in history. Kyrgyzstan was lucky with its leadership, Uzbekistan – was not. In his time, Islam Karimov did a great job of destroying the opposition in the republic. Under his regime, Shavkat Mirziyoyev served as prime minister for 13 years. They created a republic of silence and lawlessness. Of course, it is impossible to establish free democratic institutions on such grounds. This is the reason why our modern society is apolitical. It is a result of the efforts of the last 27 years. People want democracy and freedom, people want change. But a real Uzbek democratic opposition movement is only at the formation stage. We hope that we can do our part.

A couple of words about the president of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: to believe his promises is not to respect oneself. After he denied Russia’s annexation of Crimea; after he allowed CSTO rapid reaction forces to enter Kazakhstan with the right to open fire to kill; after his deception that 20,000 trained terrorists from neighboring countries attacked Almaty; after his lies that bandits attacked morgues in Almaty at night and carried away the bodies of dead accomplices – how can one believe Tokayev’s words?

– What are the key grievances of the Uzbek opposition against the current government?

– Just like the Putinist regime, Mirziyoyev’s regime is leading the country into an abyss. Right now it is selling off profitable branches of the economy for next to nothing to criminals, including Russian ones. Nepotism, total corruption, and double security forces – are the characteristics of the government. Not to mention the regime’s contacts with international terrorist organizations. This regime deliberately makes the people of Uzbekistan harebrained – it implements non-typical for our traditions novelties and customs: new religious customs and new national traditions; denial of traditional values and morals; propaganda of sexual promiscuity; availability of drugs and psychotropic substances; romanticization of the criminal world; cult of money and luxurious lifestyle; spread of gambling etc. This is a catastrophe. Most importantly, there are targeted repressions of young civic activists who want change. In other words, a new generation is being scythed at the root.

– What is the opposition – what forces, ideologies, leaders are it?

– The doors to power in Uzbekistan are closed even to the secular democratic opposition, let alone the religious-political, Islamic opposition. The regime does not wish to have a dialogue with anyone at all. We aim to build a secular democratic state with the rule of law in Uzbekistan. There were other movements and leaders before us who called themselves the opposition. These were, for example, the people’s movement of Uzbekistan “Birlik” (Unity) and the democratic party “Erk” (Will).

On December 29, 1991, the first independent presidential election was held in Uzbekistan. Two candidates participated: incumbent President Islam Karimov and Muhammad Salikh, leader of the democratic “Erk” Party. This was the only presidential election in which an opposition candidate ever participated. After Islam Karimov was elected, he consolidated his grip on power and completely eliminated his political opponents. The leaders were forced to flee the country. In the last few years, they have been less active, and they have gained somewhat of an apathy, probably due to their age.

– In the past year in Uzbekistan there were riots in Karakalpakstan, and some people died. Is this also a manifestation of oppositional sentiments?

– This is a show staged by Russian, Kazakh, and Uzbek special services to pressure the Uzbek government. The fact is that since Mirziyoyev came to power, the government has been divided into several parts. He himself is pro-Russian, but some other members are against close ties with Russia, they tell him: “Why do you lie down under the Kremlin, let us work with the West or China”. So that Mirziyoyev does not doubt the need to obey Putin, Russian security services with the help of their Kazakh colleagues played a show in Karakalpakstan. There is indeed tension, discontent, and social problems, hence it was easy to ignite protests. But I want to draw your attention to the fact that a week before, all the hunting weapons were confiscated and the Internet was working irregularly. When that was happening, a lot of people from Kazakhstan went to Uzbekistan. Why were they going there? Now Mirziyoyev got his hands in blood after he suppressed mass protests. By all this, the Kremlin made it clear to him that he should not even think about trying to move away from the “partnership” with Russia.

Note that earlier in the year similar events took place in Kazakhstan. There, too, Russia came to the aid of a “brotherly nation”. Similar events took place in Tajikistan. These are all links of one chain, which leads to Moscow, which wants to keep Central Asia under control. This must be spread as loudly as possible, including by the Russian opposition. As long as the Kremlin keeps its tentacles tightly wrapped around Central Asia, there is no way for Putin’s authoritarian, corrupt, and repressive regime to collapse.

– Recently the head of the Senate, Tanzila Narbayeva, responding to a question from “America Ovozi” (Voice of America’s Uzbek Service) about the lack of real opposition in Uzbekistan, said: “How come there is no opposition? There is, they criticize the government everywhere. But it will probably take time for them to make a separate institutional form. Now [there is] freedom of thought. There are very sharp opinions being spoken on the internet with regard to the parliament, the leadership, the government, and so on. Is this not an opposition? The people themselves can also be the opposition”. How do you comment on this?

– I know Mrs. Narbaeva personally. According to Article 96 of the Constitution of Uzbekistan, if the incumbent president cannot perform his duties, they are temporarily performed by the head of the Senate of the Republic. That is why Tanzila Narbayeva was purposefully put in this position, so that at the right time she would fulfill her mission in the same way as the previous head of the Senate – Nigmatilla Yuldashev, who also recused himself in favor of Shavkat Mirziyoyev after the death of Islam Karimov in September 2016. Narbayeva is completely loyal to Mirziyoyev. She is apolitical and simply plays her role.

Her comment that you cite just shows her intellectual potential. It simply shows that she has no idea of what opposition is. She cannot distinguish a real civic society from its imitation on the Internet. A kingdom of curved mirrors was created in Uzbekistan – everywhere there is only imitation. Laws work on the principle of “execute(,) cannot(,) be pardoned” – everything depends on where the judge puts a comma. A comma affects whether a person is killed or allowed to live. Yes, there are journalists, publicists, and bloggers, who speak somewhat of democracy, sometimes even criticize, but all this is done in favor of Mirziyoyev’s regime.

– Do you ever plan to return to your country?

– A real opposition always aims to come to power democratically or in some other way. We work on this every day. We have good connections with international institutions, and in Uzbekistan, we are supported by many people. Our main achievement is that we have dispelled fear in Uzbek society. We have become a symbol of freedom. In the next few years, we plan to officially return to Uzbekistan and participate in political processes.

– How would you define today’s relations between Uzbekistan and Russia?

– Putin’s Russia is one of the leading trade partners of the Mirziyoyev regime. After the start of the military conflict in Ukraine, the trade between the two countries increased by 30 percent. The size of Russian investment in the country’s energy sector is about $12 billion. In the past 10 months, it has been about $7 billion. And last year, it was $7 billion in 12 months alone. There are plans to build a nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan. All of this is evidence that Putin’s regime is anchoring deeper and deeper into Uzbekistan.

– But how do we interpret then Putin’s arrival in Bishkek in December to participate in the Eurasian Economic Union summit, in which Shavkat Mirziyoyev refused to participate? Did it happen so by chance?

– Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov spoke on behalf of Mirziyoyev at the expanded meeting of the leaders of the Eurasian Economic Union. If you listen carefully to his speech, you can draw a logical conclusion. Already in a couple of years, Uzbekistan will become a full member of the EEU, although it will not bring any benefit to us, the Uzbeks. It will only strengthen Putin’s regime. In the future, Putin will use this organization to conduct military operations in more countries.

– How do you understand then, that the Uzbek and Kazakh authorities recently decided not to conclude a “triple gas union” with the Russian Federation? According to Jorabek Mirzamahmudov – Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan – a gas agreement with Russia does not imply an alliance, and Tashkent will proceed from its national interests. From the side some people see this as a sign that alliances with Russia are becoming increasingly toxic due to growing sanctions. Is this not so?

– What has the Putinist regime excelled at so far? The ability to manipulate information to its own advantage. It portrays the leaders of the Central Asian republics as some kind of cowboys who can do whatever they want and even defy the Russian president. In fact, the Putin regime thinks itself cowboy in Central Asia. In Kazakhstan Russia has seven major military objects with a total area of 11 million hectares. Uzbekistan is full of Russian businesses. All such statements as “We will think it over whether we need an alliance with Russia” are just words for the public to create an appearance of independence for the Central Asian republics. Do not be misled by the illusion that these states can afford independence. I with all responsibility urge your readers to not believe such misinformation. This situation concerns us greatly.

Since Russia is under unprecedented sanctions, they also threaten the Central Asian republics, for they serve as the southern vanguard of Putin’s regime. Now Putin’s regime is only using the economic potential of our republics. In the near future, I am sure, it will come to the full-scale use of human resources as in the first and second world war, but for Putin’s future wars. I am not bluffing, I state this with all responsibility.

You cannot analyze the political processes of Central Asia separately from what is happening in Eastern Europe. The Russian opposition dreams that once Putin loses the war in Ukraine, they will be able to build the “beautiful Russia of the future”. This will not happen until Russia’s southern borders are blocked so that the regime does not receive economic aid through Central Asia from Iran, India, China etc.

– Taking into account what is happening in Ukraine, the former Soviet Central Asian republics are anxious about Russia also deciding to assert its claims against them. To what extent do you think such fears are justified? For example, I would like to recall the speech of Kazakh Arman Shuraev, who has harshly answered the Russian ambassador. So there are fears, after all.

– In February 2007 at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Vladimir Putin actually declared war to the entire democratic world. In August 2008, Russia attacked Georgia. In 2014, Putin’s regime illegally annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and initiated a military conflict in Donbas. On February 24 this year, Russia’s brutal invasion to Ukraine occurred. Russia is aggressive towards neighboring states. Then there are assassinations and arrests of political opponents of Putin’s regime, the destruction of elements of democracy in Russia. Business people, the progressive part of Russian society, and youth are leaving their homeland as they do not want to participate in the crimes of the authorities. All these and some other facts make the reasonable citizens of the Central Asian republics feel anxious.

By participating in all kinds of international forums, our movement tries to convey its concerns to the international community. Undoubtedly, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. Some countries already recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. Any alliance with Putin’s government would do no good to the Central Asian republics – it would only make them more dependent. But our society is split and apolitical. Few people understand this.

As for the video you cite as an example, I suggest you study the biography of its author – Arman Shuraev. He has been close to the Nazarbayev family for many years, working in pro-governmental media structures, serving Nazarbaev. After the early presidential elections in Kazakhstan in 2019, Shuraev ardently supports the new president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. To lure the electorate away from the actual opposition forces, the current government of Kazakhstan is trying to create a systemic national-liberal opposition using such “civil activists”.

– As in any former Soviet republic, the society in Uzbekistan is partially Russian-speaking. Are there any difficulties with that as, for example, in the Baltic states? Could they become a social basis for  further encroachment by Russia?

– There have never been any problems with Russian-speaking citizens in Uzbekistan. Such people have always occupied good positions in government and business. Former Uzbek President Islam Karimov came from a Russian-speaking family, and his wife Tatiana was half-Russian and spoke Russian. Due to this there has never been any discrimination against Russian speakers in Uzbekistan.

Sometimes provocations by pro-russian forces are put forth on this basis. This became especially noticeable after Mirizioyev came to power. Through such provocations, Uzbekistan can get involved in military-political alliances with Russia. Putin’s regime always has the opportunity to shout: “They beat our people!”, which means we have to go to the rescue and “save our people”. But all of this, as I said, is provocation and manipulation.

I’ll point out that a joint meeting of the heads of government of Russia and Uzbekistan took place on December 2nd, this year. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that 1 million Russian compatriots live in Uzbekistan. Not citizens of Uzbekistan who speak Russian, but Russian compatriots. Do you understand that this is not normal? Today those are just words, but in a few years, this may lead to the creation of some kind of pro-Russian paramilitary structures.

– You say Mirziyoyev’s regime is closely tied with Putin’s. However, it is not clear why Putin needs it. Does no one in the whole world needs Uzbekistan except Putin who is obsessed with the ideas of a “sphere of interests”, the revival of the USSR, etc? I’ll note that Tokayev, though you are skeptical about him, found the strength to declare that he does not recognize no DNR, LNR, annexation of Crimea etc. This fall, Emomali Rahmon explicitly stated his position on Putin’s policy in Central Asia. What about Mirziyoyev, then? Is he keeping quiet? Is he afraid?

– As I said, those are all just appearances. For example, if you look at how Iranian drones get to Russia, it is Kazakhstan that provides its airspace. Recall the events in January this year in Kazakhstan. As soon as Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev asked for help from the CSTO, de facto having asked Putin, the latter immediately provided him with military and police forces to suppress the protests. A massive amount of Russian businesses are in Kazakhstan. Tokayev is clearly on the side of Putin’s regime, I assure you.

Now about Emomali Rakhmon’s resonant speech at his meeting with Putin. It may seem like an attack on Putin, but if you listen carefully, Rakhmon is literally begging to treat him with respect, as he is in a critical situation. On the one hand, the Islamic opposition is undermining his regime. On the other hand, he owes China a lot  – Tajikistan is in debt and is paying for it with its territories. So Rahmon pleads: “Comrade Putin, I am all yours, but please give me some money.”

Mirziyoyev is in the same situation, but his position has always been explicitly pro-Putin. His power in general is based on the support of Russian lobbyists. Without it, he would never be who we know him to be.

– Very well, how then should the Central Asian republics build their relations with Russia? Let’s say that the opposition comes to power in Uzbekistan –  what will it do about Russia? Renounce all previous agreements, plans, and projects? Expel diplomats, until the opposition comes to power in Russia too?

– The relations can only be based on equal rights and mutual respect. Economic, cultural, and political contacts will be preserved. But Russia, as the legal successor of the USSR, will have to recognize the enormous crimes it committed in Central Asia in the early 20th century – millions of deaths of Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and people of other nationalities. Obviously, it will hardly be possible to demand an indemnity. But the acknowledgment of responsibility is necessary. This would be a pledge of neighborly and equal relations.

We must remember: Russia has national interests, but all post-Soviet republics have their national interests too. Unfortunately, even liberal Russians with oppositional views who have gone abroad still have the imperial virus in their heads. This is not normal. Every Russian should change in their essence, because they are like everyone else – no worse and no better, they cannot have any imperial pretensions toward the citizens of neighboring countries.

“If Chinese expansion is not stopped today, the Caspian Sea will already be washing the shores of China this century”

– What do you think is the role of the U.S. in the internal political affairs of the Central Asian republics today? How interested is the U.S. in this region after its withdrawal from Afghanistan? For example, political scientist Temur Umarov believes: “U.S. interests in Central Asia are limited, especially after America left Afghanistan. Today, the U.S. in this region is mainly focused on education, environmental development, and other humanitarian issues”.

– Central Asia is a crossroad of civilizations, a logistical fork between the West and the East, a kind of overland Malacca Strait. Uzbekistan in particular is a sort of autobahn towards Russia. Hence I would not agree that the U.S. has left Central Asia. They are present through political and educational institutions, the media, support for civic activists, in the form of diplomatic missions etc. The struggle of world powers for influence in the Central Asian region continues and will intensify under all sorts of signs and banners.

– Why is the United States fighting for Central Asia? As they say in Russian propaganda, to stage “color revolutions,” to spread the values of the Western world through education and the media, to fight for material resources, to spite Russia and China?

– Of course, it is useless to export democracy to countries where it does not take root. American politicians themselves have said this many times. But no one has canceled geopolitics. The US is a superpower and for it Central Asia is an important, attractive region of global importance, it is a crossroad between the West and the East, and in the future trillions of euros in trade will flow through it. Therefore, it is hard to imagine that the United States will give up its influence in such a region.

– Uzbekistan has signed an agreement with Turkey on military cooperation and other contacts on regional defense. How do you interpret this step in a geopolitical sense – is it good for the opposition?

– Against the background of Russia’s military conflict with Ukraine, the food crisis in the world, and the energy crisis in Europe, Turkey is simply plucking fruit. That includes trying to strengthen its geopolitical influence in Central Asia. Why does it need to do this? Just like Russia, Turkey is still raving about its great imperial past and is quietly planning to take revenge. The political opposition movement Erkin O’zbekiston is not a supporter of Uzbekistan joining any alliances. They all deprive some states of sovereignty and make some other, more powerful ones, big brothers.

– China today seeks to establish itself in the world, including at the expense of its closest neighbors. The authorities of Uzbekistan and China are making plans for joint economic projects. Does this rapprochement cause you any anxiety? Despite the economic successes of the past 20 years, China’s political regime still raises a whole lot of doubts. If Russia is an authoritarian regime, China is a full-fledged totalitarian regime, armed with all the latest technologies. Won’t economic projects become some kind of trap for China’s geopolitical interests?

– You are right, today China is obviously expanding into the states of Central Asia. First of all, it is investing in their economies. But you have to understand that because of the narrowness, authoritarianism, greed, and corruption of the leaders of these countries, the investments may be stolen, there will be no result, and then China will not hesitate to present its claims – probably first of all, it will demand some territories. This is very scary.

Remember that there was once an independent state of Uyghurstan (Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region). Now it is part of China and Muslims living there are in re-education camps. If we don’t make efforts to stop Chinese expansion today, we cannot exclude that already in this century the Caspian Sea will be washing the shores of China and the problem of Chinese concentration camps for Kyrgyz or Uzbek Muslims will be discussed at international human rights platforms.

Today, China feels very confident in Central Asia. Not as aggressive as Russia, but confident. China is showering the states of the region with unlimited loans for the construction of infrastructure and industrial facilities. The main condition for granting loans is that the projects will be implemented by Chinese companies, including those with dubious a reputation.

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are practically bankrupt states by now. They are unable to repay their debts to China. Tajikistan, because of debts to Chinese creditors, has given them more than 1% of its territory – this is a real fact.

We should also note another problem that you mentioned: China is exporting its methods of totalitarian control to other countries. I mean digital surveillance, the widespread distribution of video cameras under the pretext of fighting terrorism, crime, etc. The Central Asian states are following the same path of total surveillance of their citizens through video cameras. You cannot digitalize the entire society, right down to a citizen’s private life. Then we will all be vulnerable to the state and lose our privacy.

When one’s head is in the jaws of a tiger, it is impossible to demand one’s rights from the predator.

– The military activity currently taking place in the center of Europe has set in motion a chain of changes in the international political arena. In your opinion, how might this affect Central Asia?