Officials in Uzbekistan have relentlessly tried to erase vestiges of the Soviet era in the Central Asian nation, pulling down statues and renaming districts as if decades of Communist rule never happened. Yangiobod, a former uranium mining town in the Tashkent Region, appears to be an exception to the Uzbek revisionist rule, however.
Yangiobod’s small, grid-pattern of streets, lined with two- and three-storey apartment buildings, creates the impression of a place frozen in the Soviet era. Even the Russian sign – “Be Glorious, Tribe of Miners” – hanging over a derelict bridge is still there to greet cars driving into town.
Built in the 1950s as a showpiece settlement for Soviet uranium miners, Yangiobod rivaled Moscow in supplies of food, clothing and essentials, a 71-year-old retired miner told EurasiaNet.org. “People couldn’t come to our settlement because it was a closed settlement,” he said, recalling that many similar towns and cities during the Soviet era were closed to outsiders for military or economic security reasons. They were not shown on maps, either. “We needed to carry our passports to leave and enter the settlement.”
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