Behind the glitter: the pandemic and civil freedoms in Uzbekistan


This report from UK think tank the FPC looks at the performance of Uzbekistan’s government during the coronavirus crisis.

Moments of crisis are perhaps the best opportunities to test the efficiency of governments. It is also a litmus test on a state’s political position, whether it deals with the crisis in a democratic way, with empathy and respect to its people or it pushes the authoritarian tactics by imposing restrictions based on imaginary regulations. The government of Uzbekistan appeared to be dealing well with the pandemic in the beginning. It is almost five months since the government imposed the ‘self-isolation’ that enacted staying at home, strictly prohibiting people over 65 from going out and only allowing other people to leave their homes for nearby pharmacies or shops. The country’s health system failed to accommodate the mounting number of infected in the hospitals or provide tests for COVID-19, but the state is attempting to conceal its failure of tackling the crisis through distorted statistics and underreporting. Both logic and maths fail to validate reality when the number of cases is 33,323, and the number of deaths is only 216. This fantasy is reinforced by national TV channels, who keep focusing their reports on the number of recovered patients.

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