Uzbekistan: Unusually Frank Poll Highlights Unhappiness
Uzbekistan’s government-loyal polling company Izhtimoy Fikr has long been a channel for suspiciously on-message feedback about public sentiment, so it was a surprise this week to see it producing a survey appearing to document deep unhappiness about people’s basic everyday needs.
The company’s most recent survey has shown, for example, that half the respondents it queried have trouble getting piped water to their homes, 58.5 percent have the same problem with gas, and 60 percent are unhappy with their supply of hot water and electricity. Around 70 percent do not get centralized heating. Another 28.6 percent reported their dissatisfaction that they do not get drinkable water piped into their homes.
The main problem by far, however, is employment. Every third respondent complained that local authorities are not doing enough to create jobs or adequately remunerated employment.
But other aspects of the poll are decidedly less convincing.
On the more positive front, 85.8 percent of respondent said that conditions have become easier for doing business. It is not immediately clear to which period of time the respondents were alluding.
Similarly high satisfaction — in the high 80s — was expressed about the level of basic security provided to the country’s citizens. More than 75 percent reportedly expressed positive views about the work of law enforcement authorities.
None of this data sits well with a Foreign Ministry statement last month in which it was reported that out of 900,000 complaints registered with the president’s online public outreach page since it was created late last year, more than 93,000 specifically addressed the police.
Izhtimoy Fikr’s poll reportedly queried 1,100 people across Uzbekistan over a 10-day period in June.