Ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan are intensifying efforts to expand their political and cultural rights. But many Kyrgyz observers believe there is trouble with both the timing and the execution of the Uzbek advocacy effort.
Many of the Uzbeks' demands are long-standing, including the designation of Uzbek as an official language, greater political representation and implementation of a far-reaching anti-corruption campaign. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. At the same time, analysts point out that a late May protest in the southern city of Jalal-abad showed that Uzbek community leaders are now embracing more confrontational tactics. That shift, they add, heightens the risk of inter-ethnic discord in southern Kyrgyzstan, where Uzbeks make up a significant share of the population. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Overall, Uzbeks comprise Kyrgyzstan's largest ethnic minority, with a roughly 13 percent share of Kyrgyzstan's population.
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Alisher Khamidov Alisher Khamidov is a PhD Candidate at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C.