Uzbekistan

 

Russia conquered Uzbekistan in the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after World War I was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic set up in 1924. During the Soviet era, intensive production of “white gold” (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry. Independent since 1991, the country seeks to gradually lessen its dependence on agriculture while developing its mineral and petroleum reserves. Current concerns include terrorism by Islamic militants, economic stagnation, and the curtailment of human rights and democratization.

 

Geography:
Location: Central Asia, north of Afghanistan
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 64 00 E
People:
Population: 28,394,180 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.5% (male 3,817,755/female 3,635,142)

15-64 years: 68.8% (male 9,620,356/female 9,742,818)

65 years and over: 4.7% (male 560,574/female 751,955) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Uzbekistan

conventional short form: Uzbekistan

local long form: Ozbekiston Respublikasi

local short form: Ozbekiston

former: Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic

Government type: republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 1.864 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 20.952 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 53 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 33

over 3,047 m: 6

2,438 to 3,047 m: 13

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 4 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Army, Air and Air Defence Forces
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 1-year conscript service obligation; moving toward a professional military, but conscription will continue; the military cannot accommodate everyone who wishes to enlist, and competition for entrance into the military is similar to the competition for admission to universities (2009)

Economy:

Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country of which 11% consists of intensely cultivated, irrigated river valleys. More than 60% of its population lives in densely populated rural communities. Uzbekistan is now the world’s second-largest cotton exporter and fifth largest producer; it relies heavily on cotton production as the major source of export earnings. Other major export earners include gold, natural gas, and oil.

 

Following independence in September 1991, the government sought to prop up its Soviet-style command economy with subsidies and tight controls on production and prices. While aware of the need to improve the investment climate, the government still sponsors measures that often increase, not decrease, its control over business decisions. A sharp increase in the inequality of income distribution has hurt the lower ranks of society since independence. In 2003, the government accepted Article VIII obligations under the IMF, providing for full currency convertibility.

Transnational Issues:

Prolonged drought and cotton monoculture in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan creates water-sharing difficulties for Amu Darya river states; field demarcation of the boundaries with Kazakhstan commenced in 2004; border delimitation of 130 km of border with Kyrgyzstan is hampered by serious disputes around enclaves and other areas