Russia-Uzbekistan: partnership or patronage?

During the latest Russian-Uzbek summit, Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov called on Russia to invest in the republic’s economy. In doing so, Mr. Karimov contended that Uzbekistan was the centre of the Central Asia and the gateway of the Orient. Enough time has passed since the break-up of the Soviet Union and the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, but the shadows of the past are still there. As before, Moscow is associated with the elder sister in former Soviet republics. At the same time, there are big disproportions – Russia and Turkmenistan remain major energy resource suppliers, while the others are hoping for Russian money to restructure their economy. A pity for our “younger brothers” cannot be accounted for rationally. We are ready to condone multi-billion debts, theft of gas from the pipelines, infringement of the Russian-speaking population and still invest in the decorating of the “gateway of the Orient” (because there is no money for more). In the meantime, Uzbekistan, having decided to make its own cars, has signed a contract with the Korean Daewooб and not with Russian GAZ or VAZ. NATALIA LEIN PRAVDA.RU

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