The Karakalpaks are a nation of Turkic origin in Central Asia. Their region was an autonomous region of Kazakhstan until 1930. Before it became part of Uzbekistan in 1936, the region was one of the republics within the Soviet Union.
Uzbekistan’s constitution guarantees Karakalpa the right to sovereignty and independence through a plebiscite. The authorities’ new proposal is supposed to remove this right.
Protests broke out on Friday against the change. Clashes broke out between protesters and police after some of them tried to besiege government buildings in the regional capital, Nukus. A wave of arrests followed.
On Saturday, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited Karakalpakstan and told the region’s autonomous authorities that he would withdraw from planned changes to the constitution. In a joint statement, the authorities announced that the “provocateurs” were trying to “split state institutions (…) society and destabilize the socio-political situation in Uzbekistan”.
In the evening, the President of Uzbekistan announced the introduction of a state of emergency in Karakalpakstan, which will last until August 2. The reason is to “ensure the safety of citizens, protect their rights and freedoms, and restore law and order”.
After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Uzbekistan remained visionary neutral. He did not participate in the UN General Assembly vote on the war in Ukraine.
After the outbreak of war, the Uzbeks declared their recognition of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Luhansk and Donetsk refused to recognize the independence of the separatist regions. Trade with Russia.
However, Uzbekistan is under strong pressure from the Kremlin, which wants far-reaching economic integration with Central Asian countries.
Sources: AFP, Reuters
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