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The process of transition in post-soviet Central Asia and its challenge: a case study of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Dagiev, D.; (2011) The process of transition in post-soviet Central Asia and its challenge: a case study of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Following independence and building on Gorbachev’s policy of perestroika, the democratic process in the Central Asian states has stalled. This thesis presents a detailed study of political developments in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and argues that, contrary to recent studies on region, the failure to democratise is a result of the employment of a form of nationalism focused on their respective Presidents by the newly empowered elites of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Previous scholars have argued that the development of authoritarianism in the Central Asian republics was a result of the legacy of the Soviet rule, especially issues of regionalism, clan politics, and the role of Islam in the area. This thesis argues that the concerns with stateness, which have in turn led to the development of authoritarianism in Central Asia, are of greater importance when considering the stalling of transition. This thesis also argues that after the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union and the declaration of independence, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan like many other former Soviet national republics, were faced with the issues of nationalism, ethnicity, identity and territorial delineation. These were the concerns that brought the issue of stateness to the fore, as many post-Communist nation-states made claims and counterclaims on each other’s territories. Many post-Soviet countries faced issues of stateness, identity, nationalism and ethnicity, but Tajikistan and Uzbekistan experienced different problems resulting from the Bolshevik policy of the national delineation of Soviet Central Asia in the 1920s. The employment of personalised nationalism in post-Communist Tajikistan and Uzbekistan has been the elites’ strategy to address all these issues: to maintain the stateness of their respective countries, as well as the unity of their nation; to fill the ideological void of post-Communism; to prevent the rise of Islam; and to legitimise their authoritarian practice. In this context, the elites promoted and imposed on their native countries a titular form of identity, grounded around the persona of the president, with the purpose of maintaining the stateness and national unity of their countries. This has helped the Presidents to acquire enormous power, which they have used to further their personal interests, develop authoritarian rule and stall democratisation. This thesis concludes that an analysis of the factors contributing to the development of authoritarian rule in Central Asia as a tool to preserve the nation’s stateness allows a better understanding of the reasons behind the stalling of the transition to democracy in the region.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The process of transition in post-soviet Central Asia and its challenge: a case study of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1317740
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