Amid a worsening financial picture in Uzbekistan, President Islam Karimov is pulling out his old Soviet playbook and trying to give new meaning to the concept of a command economy. But there appears to be a sizeable chance that the Uzbek government's policy prescriptions could end up exacerbating social tension in the Central Asian nation.
Uzbekistan, like other Central Asian states, has relied in recent years on remittances sent home by migrant laborers to help prop up the local economy. But over the past year, the most lucrative markets for migrant labor, Russia and Kazakhstan, have been hammered by the global economic crisis, and, as a result, seasonal work in construction and other sectors has evaporated. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
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