In many ways, Kalmar is an archetypal Swedish settlement with a picture-postcard center featuring fastidiously clean cobblestone streets and centuries-old wooden buildings. But the town, situated on Sweden’s southeastern coast, is unusual in one respect: it is home to hundreds of Uzbek refugees harboring a Silk Road secret.
The bulk of Uzbeks in Kalmar come from Andijan, a city in Uzbekistan’s Ferghana Valley that was the scene of a mass protest and subsequent massacre a decade ago. Many fled to Sweden out of fear that Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s regime, which is ranked by rights groups as one of the most repressive on earth, would imprison or harass them if they stayed.
To read the full story
Dean C.K. Cox is the multimedia editor for EurasiaNet.