Dear friends, we present to you the first issue of the journal Oasis. This issue is thematic and fully applies to elections in the countries of Central Asia. Recent events in Georgia and Ukraine have shown that political elites in the countries of the former Soviet Union are no longer inviolable. The opinion of many experts on this situation sharply divided. Some of them suggested that the wave of "popular will" will necessarily spread to the Central Asian states. Others believed that such a scenario was unlikely, since the regimes of some of them, for example, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, would not allow this, including resorting to force methods. The Uzbek leader, Islam Karimov, at one time already unequivocally stated that he would not tolerate the “orange revolutions” brought from outside that could violate stability. There was no such talk at all in the elections in Turkmenistan. At the same time, the elections themselves were held exactly as President Saparmurad Niyazov saw. According to our correspondents in the field, the elections in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan outwardly looked quite democratic. However, even in this case, representatives of the oppositions of the two countries, as they are supposed to, in principle, did not agree with the election results and made statements about the violations found. In particular, the last, autumn, parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan, in the opinion of our representative, were held very roughly and obviously boiled down to the main task - the formation of an absolutely loyal to the president majority in the legislative branch. The obvious interference of the authorities in the electoral process during the parliamentary elections in the form of mass frauds and violations confirmed by independent polls and studies took place against the backdrop of the unprecedented political activity of political parties for Kazakhstan. Despite this, the authorities began to aggravate relations with the opposition. In Kyrgyzstan, the impact of opposition leaders on the population led to widespread unrest and voter discontent.
The Tajik opposition, for its part, claims that elections were held in their country "with gross violations of the law"
In Uzbekistan, the parliamentary elections in December last year did not bring anything new in the situation of the country. Sherzod Kudratkhodzhaev, the head of the Central Election Commission’s press center, did not tire of repeating to the media that the elections were in line with all democratic principles, and those opposition parties that, as a result, were not admitted to them, either simply could not collect the required number of votes, identified fraud. As a result, only those parties entered the parliament, which the opposition and international observers called exclusively “pocket”. In this regard, the OSCE statement says that the parties that passed to the Uzbek parliament have the same political platforms and cannot provide voters with a full-fledged political choice. Moreover, according to Surat Ikramov, an independent human rights activist, they are not essentially oppositional. That opposition, which still exists in some form in Uzbekistan (the popular movement “Birlik” (“Unity”), the democratic party “Erk” (“Volya”), “Ozod dekhkonlar” (“Free peasants”), the Party of Agrarians and entrepreneurs) seats in the Uzbek parliament was not found. There is simply no other opposition in the country. It was simply eliminated during the last years after the February 1999 bombings in Tashkent. By the way, about these explosions. In November 2003, Zainuddin Askarov, who was convicted along with the organizers of the February bombings for a long prison sentence, made a sensational statement at a press conference arranged in the Tashkent Prison for correspondents of foreign radio stations. He stated that the bombings in Tashkent were not an unexpected event for the government of Uzbekistan. In any case, the authorities knew about the impending attacks long before they were carried out, but did nothing to prevent them. This was the signal for the final defeat of the Uzbek opposition.
As for international observers, only Russia without any reservations in the person of its representative Vladimir Rushaylo recognized the elections in all countries as democratic and legitimate.