Central Asia, north of Turkmenistan, south of Kazakhstan
41 00 N, 64 00 E
country comparison to the world: 57
Russia conquered the territory of present-day Uzbekistan in the late 19th century. Stiff resistance to the Red Army after the Bolshevik Revolution was eventually suppressed and a socialist republic established in 1924. During the Soviet era, intensive production of "white gold" (cotton) and grain led to overuse of agrochemicals and the depletion of water supplies, which have left the land poisoned and the Aral Sea and certain rivers half dry. Independent since 1991, the country seeks to gradually lessen its dependence on agriculture while developing its mineral and petroleum reserves. Current concerns include terrorism by Islamic militants, economic stagnation, and the curtailment of human rights and democratization. (from CIA World Factbook)
Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country; 11% of the land is intensely cultivated, in irrigated river valleys. More than 60% of the population lives in densely populated rural communities. Export of hydrocarbons, primarily natural gas, provided about 40% of foreign exchange earnings in 2009. Other major export earners include gold and cotton. Uzbekistan is now the world's second-largest cotton exporter and fifth largest producer; it has come under increasing international criticism for the use of child labor in its annual cotton harvest. Nevertheless, Uzbekistan enjoyed a bumper cotton crop in 2010 amidst record high prices.
Following independence in September 1991, the government sought to prop up its Soviet-style command economy with subsidies and tight controls on production and prices. While aware of the need to improve the investment climate, the government still sponsors measures that often increase, not decrease, its control over business decisions. A sharp increase in the inequality of income distribution has hurt the lower ranks of society since independence. In 2003, the government accepted Article VIII obligations under the IMF, providing for full currency convertibility. However, strict currency controls and tightening of borders have lessened the effects of convertibility and have also led to some shortages that have further stifled economic activity. The Central Bank often delays or restricts convertibility, especially for consumer goods. Potential investment, primarily by Russia and China in Uzbekistan's gas and oil industry, as well as increased cooperation with South Korea in the realm of civil aviation, may boost growth prospects.
In November 2005, Russian President Vladimir PUTIN and Uzbekistan President KARIMOV signed an "alliance," which included provisions for economic and business cooperation. Russian businesses have shown increased interest in Uzbekistan, especially in mining, telecom, and oil and gas. In 2006, Uzbekistan took steps to rejoin the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Community (EurASEC), which it subsequently left in 2008, both organizations dominated by Russia. In the past Uzbekistani authorities had accused US and other foreign companies operating in Uzbekistan of violating Uzbekistani tax laws and have frozen their assets, but no new expropriations occurred in 2008-09. Instead, the Uzbekistani Government has actively courted several major US and international corporations, offering attractive financing and tax advantages, and has landed a significant US investment in the automotive industry. Uzbekistan has seen few effects from the global economic downturn, primarily due to its relative isolation from the global financial markets.
(More information is available from CIA World Factbook)
Intensive Language Programs
The American Association for Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) website has a page that describes intensive programs in Slavic and East European languages as well as in the languages of the Republics of the former Soviet Union. The listings include those programs offered in U.S. (and some Canadian) colleges and universities as well as in programs abroad. This is a free service provided by AATSEEL to such programs.
Each language has its own page, and programs are divided into the following categories: Summer Programs in the U.S., Summer Programs Abroad, and Semester/Year Programs Abroad. Information is added to this page as it is received, so check frequently for updates.
The website has a table which allows you to click on the language you are interested in, and it directs you to links to the program/school websites teaching the language.