tashkent 2000

Musik der
zwei Geschwindigkeiten
an der Seidenstrasse

Tashkent und sein Festival
symphonischer Musik

20.-25.Sept.2000
Alisher Navoi (Opera-/Ballet) TheaterDer Tourismus entwickelt sich erst langsam. Ein- und Ausreiseprozeduren am Flughafen erinnern stark an Sowjetrituale. Mit seinen breiten Strassen und dem vielen Grün wirkt das nach dem Erdbeben 1966 wieder aufgebaute Taschkent aber großzügig. Uzbekistan sucht Anschluss an die Welt. Der zentralasiatische Vielvölkerstaat lud jetzt zu seinem 2.Internationalen Festival symphonischer Musik.

Das vielleicht seltsamste Gebäude in dieser Stadt ist das Opernhaus. Japanische Zwangsarbeiter haben das Alisher Navoi Theater errichtet nach dem Krieg. Das Kassenhäuschen im Vestibül duckt sich hinter einem dicken Mauerpfeiler schießschartengleich. Türmchen im islamischen Baustil krönen den Portikus, finden ihre Fortsetzung in Verzierungen im Inneren. Amir Temur (Tamerlan) zurueck in TashkentÜber dicke Teppiche wandelt man durchs Foyer in das ebenfalls teppichweiche Parkett. Frisch bezogen leuchten die Sitze, die Wände frisch getüncht. Tschaikowskys Eugen Onegin allerdings, der an diesem Nachmittag gegeben wird, wurde wohl seit Urzeiten nicht mehr geprobt. Die stattliche Gruppe japanischer Touristen im Publikum kümmert es nicht.Musiker von "Sogdiana" im grossen Saal des Konservatoriums Musste zwar Puschkin von seinem Sockel an einem der schönsten Plätze Taschkents nach der Unabhängigkeit 1991 weichen und dem neuen Nationalhelden Amir Timur (Amir Temur, einem durch besondere Grausamkeit und Machtgier sich auszeichnenden moslemischen Despoten) Platz machen, Tschaikowsky durfte bleiben. Muchtar Ashrafi, der als Gründer einer eigenständigen uzbekischen Musik in den Zwanziger Jahren gefeierte Komponist und Dirigent, stützte sich mit seinen Opern, Symphonien, Balletten eng auf die russische Tradition. Das Denken in deren Kategorien mit ihrem Sentiment und Pathos, erweitert um die hämmernde Rhythmik eines Chrennikow, ist noch heute lebendig. Eine zweite Wurzel ist eine Art Fortspinnungsmelodik der Maquam-Tradition. Webern, Cage oder gar die Minimalisten haben hier nie Fuß gefasst. Aber, ist auch zu hören, eine Weiterentwicklung des von Ashrafi Begonnen wurde gestoppt in den Fünfziger Jahren unterm Schlagwort "Zentralismus".

Nun will man wieder daran anknüpfen. 1998 wurde ein Festival neuer "symphonischer Musik" gegründet. Es soll die Unabhängigkeitsfeiern im September krönen. Zum zweiten Mal fand es jetzt statt. Das Land sucht Anschluss an die internationalen Kreisläufe. Nicht nur behindert das zerrüttete Afghanistan den Zugang zu den Weltmeeren. Musiker von "Sogdiana" im grossen Saal des KonservatoriumsÜber die gemeinsame Grenze - und auch über die mit dem unruhigen Tadschikistan - infiltrieren fundamentalistische Moslems das Land. Ein Anschlag am 16.Februar 1999 in Taschkent hat die Ängste geschürt.

Museum fuer Amur Timur (Amur Temur / Tamerlan) in Tashkent[Die Vertreibung der radikal-islamistischen Taliban aus Afghanistan, die ihre terroristische Infrastruktur finanzierten aus dem Drogenhandel und sich stützen ließen von den internationalen "Araber"-Brigaden der binLaden-alQaida, dürfte aber diese Gefahr entschärfen oder gar beenden. Im September 2000 jedoch war es noch so:]

Die Miliz all präsent, Regierungsgebäude und Botschaften verschanzt hinter massiven Zäunen. Überlandfahrten etwa nach Samarkand, vorbei an endlosen, nunmehr als Staatsgüter geführten Baumwollplantagen, werden zum Hindernisparcours durch alle paar Kilometer zu passierende Straßenposten. Die Zufahrtswege zur Hauptstadt sind streng kontrolliert. Das vom Präsidenten, Islam Karimow, einem gewendeten Kommunisten, gewünschte neue nationale Selbstbewusstsein repräsentiert sich nicht nur im Reiterstandbild für Amir Timur, bekannt auch als Tamerlan, der im 14.Jahrhundert die Reichsgrenzen bis an die Mongolei weitete. A.Guzairova, SopranSein Mausoleum in Samarkand ist Pilgerstätte. Neu errichtet hat man ihm in der Hauptstadt auch ein Museum im Stil einer Moschee. Ein Besuch drinnen macht einem schlagartig die zwei Geschwindigkeiten in diesem zentralasiatischen Land klar. Ausländer zahlen den sechzehnfachen Eintritts-Preis dessen der einheimischen Bevölkerung, im gängigen Schwarzmarktkurs aber gerade mal ein Dollar. Ähnlich disparat ist es bei den Einkommen. Nur die bei den neuen ausländischen Gesellschaften Beschäftigten werden auskömmlich (in Dollars) entlohnt. Das Gros der 25-Millionen-Bevölkerung hilft sich mit Mehrfachjobs.

 

Staatliches Konservatorium "M.Ashrafi" TashkentRepräsentativer Ort für Auftakt und Abschluss des Festivals ist das "Turkeston Palace", eine neu gebaute Kongresshalle mit Anmutungen an den moslemischen Baustil. Personenkultige Danksagungen an die politische Spitze des Landes gehen dem vom Fernsehen aufgezeichneten Abschlusskonzert voraus. Ansonsten ist das 1936 gegründete Staatliche, nach Ashrafi benannte Konservatorium Hauptspielort. Rudolf Kehrer war einer seiner berühmtesten Klavierschüler und -Professoren. Im Zweiten Weltkrieg war das Petersburger Konservatorium hierher ausgelagert. Für Konzerte genutzt wird auch die Katholische Kirche. Die Aulen sind voll. Überall spürt man diesen Hunger nach Information. Aber es muss viel improvisiert werden. Die Veranstalter, der für die Komponisten hier noch immer als soziales Bett dienende Komponisten-Verband, konnte erst wenige Wochen zuvor die Finanzierung aus diversen staatlichen und privaten Quellen sichern. Höchst kompetente Berater und Helfer hat man zwar in dem russisch-englischen Pianisten- und Veranstalter-Duo Olga Balakleets & Julian Gallant. mit Olga Balakleets (mitte) und Julian Gallant (rechts)Doch ist das Programm eher zufällig. Eingeladen wird jemand, den jemand kennt. Die umliegenden neuen Republiken sollen präsent sein, dazu Komponisten aus dem entfernteren Asien, aus Amerika, aus Europa. Von den eingereichten Stücken greift man nach dem Praktikabelsten, bei dem Schweizer Melchior Ulrich etwa - ihm eher peinlich, aber vom Publikum applaudiert - nach einem Kinderstück. Zeit für gründliches Probieren fehlt. Spezial-Ensembles gibt es nicht. mit Kui Dong Staatliche Symphonieorchester, das des Rundfunks und des Konservatoriums schultern die Hauptlast des Sechs-Tage-Programms. Informationen zur gespielten Musik und zu ihren Komponisten sind rar. Unklar bleibt, auch nach einem Round Table am Schluss, die gewünschte "Vielfalt". Das Publikum reagierte auf seine Weise: mit munterem Kommen und Gehen, ungeniertem Sich-Unterhalten, wenn etwas nicht gefiel.

Dass den angereisten Beobachter eher Stücke wie eine Musik der seit zehn Jahren in Amerika lebenden Chinesin Kui Dong, The Soldier’s Rebel, ein Ballett über die amour fou eines chinesischen Kaisers (dirigiert von dem Amerikaner Charles Ansbacher), oder auch eine aus der Zusammenarbeit zwischen einem deutschen Komponisten mit Interpreten des die tradierte uzbekische Musik pflegenden Orchesters Sogdiana (der alte Name für die zentralasiatische Region) entstandene Miniatur für die Flöten Nay und Koshnay beeindruckten, Musiker von "Sogdiana" mit Nay und Koshnaydürfte nicht nur am unterschiedlichen kulturellen Hintergrund liegen. Kaum schon gewuchert wird mit dem eigenen Pfund, diesem ganz besonderen Tonfall des regionalen Instrumentariums mit seinen Holzblas- und Saiteninstrumenten. Zu sehr denkt man in den überkommenen Kategorien von "symphonischer Musik" einerseits, von tradierter Folklore andererseits. Fusionen zwischen beiden und deren Weiterentwicklung zu einem Eigenen, Neuen wagt kaum jemand. Nur wenig zu erfahren war auch über Uzbekistans junge Talente. gfk mit Kanikey Medetbecova (links) und Nigora Khasanova (rechts) Im Programm kamen sie nicht vor. Immerhin lernte man mit Kanykey Medetbekova eine jüngere Komponistin und Pianistin aus Kyrgyzstan kennen. Ihr Klavier-Concertino lässt auf viel Klang- und Formsinn schließen. Freilich, merkt man auch, die Kenntnisse über die internationale Szene sind spärlich. Helfen müssten Stipendien, die Möglichkeit sich umzuhören auch außerhalb der CIS/GUS-Länder. Aus eigener Kraft können die Musiker dort es nicht. Das Festival kann Schrittmacher sein. Was überwältigt, ist seine familiäre Atmosphäre, der enge persönliche Kontakt. [Medetbekova lebt inzwischen in Frankreich]. Insbesondere auch für Komponisten aus den kleineren zentralasiatischen Republiken öffnet es einen Türspalt nach draußen. Zuhause haben sie derlei nicht. Die Dirigenten mögen (auch dort) keine neue Musik. Schon Odessa mit seinem kreglen Zwei-Tage-Zwei-Nächte-Festival ist weit. So wird es wohl noch dauern, bis, wie ein Gast es formulierte, die alte Seidenstrasse wieder eine Musikstrasse wird.

(Fotos: Natalja Semjonowa)




Music, to be introduced to the conference
Tradition and New Music

Peter RUZICKA (*1948) /
Metamorphosen ueber ein Klangfeld
von Joseph Haydn
for orchestra
(Cologne 1990), 13'45"

The music of Mit (von links) Artikei Saforowa, Kanikey Medetbecova, Jyldyz Maldybaewa Peter Ruzicka seems to me best fitting to your general theme: new music and tradition. A prime mover in the music of Ruzicka (he was born in 1948 in Düsseldorf) is its close connection with the music we know from the concert hall. In this respect Ruzicka is a traditionalist in the best sense. He does not pretend to compose out of a vacuum. He is skeptical about what was a credo of the composers of the 19th century: the creative autonomy. Ruzicka wants to establish connections with the existing stores of tradition. And since tradition is a basic tool in serious composition, he creates new, unprecedented music. The music of Peter Ruzicka creates associations. His music, especially that of the early 70ies, creates the impression of a stimulating discourse. It reflects musical and nonmusical processes. Ruzicka composes “music about music” - what we call metamusic. The searching in the dark is a determining element of this music. It shows a respect to the material and an obligation represented by the tradition. Gustav Mahler, Anton Webern, Charles Ives and since the 80ies as well the music of the all labels evading Swedish composer Allan Petterson (1911-1980) are his most fascinating musical gods. Ruzicka not only feels as a mediator of their music, he feels as well as a mediator between tradition and work. Ruzicka is a very rare example of a manager and artist. After studies of piano, oboe and composition (from 1963 to 1968) he went on to musicology and law. For his compositions he got many awards. In 1979 he became Intendant of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and in 1988 he became Intendant of the Hamburg State Opera. In 1998 he followed Hans Werner Henze as Director of the Munich Music-Theatre-Biennale, and starting 2002 he will be the Intendant of the Salzburg Festival. Metamorphosis on a Sound Field by Joseph Haydnwas written and premiered in 1990. Besides three trumpets, stationed outside the hall, there is nothing special in the instrumentation. The three trumpets may evoke Mahler’s remote orchestra or Ives’ Unanswered Question, but they remember the really exterritorial character of the twelve-part wind setting in Haydn’s Seven Last Words (Sieben letzte Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuz), which inspired Ruzicka to his composition. When Haydn rearranged his originally instrumentally conceived Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross as an oratorio, he inserted music for wind instruments after the words “My God why hast thou forsaken me?” This “funeral music” remembered Ruzicka in a very strange way to Schubert and Mahler. Ruzicka writes: "…The darkly pale sound creates the impression of complete static intangibility, of virtual ‘frozen time’. This music had an increasingly obsessive effect on me; it began to penetrate through my own music. The result was music about music: a merging but also a ‘distanced identification’. And perhaps this as well: a musical self-observation." The "formal structure" takes Ruzicka from Haydn’s Adagio-idea. It is symmetrical like an altar with four soft columns of chords as opening and again at the end. These chords are differentiated, the first - like a cluster- is accentuated by a three-note timpani rhythm, the second without the timpani. The trumpets from the distance are the first elements to intrude the static sound. More and more the Haydn sound model becomes concrete. In the central part, which is titled with a famous piece of György Ligeti Lontano, Ruzicka fans out the melodic range and harmonic variety of the Haydn setting; the trumpets and wind instruments keep silent. It is a melodic circling in the strings: aimlessly and endlessly, satisfied to remain within itself: the “musical self-observation” in Ruzicka’s words. But not only the composer may observe himself, the audience as well. This reflecting about music changes to a reflecting about oneself. It is a kind of “metamusic” in a double sense: it is not only music, to discover music; it is music to discover himself in a mystical way.


Jakob ULLMANN (*1958)
palimpsest - 13 fragmente ueber komposition à 9 (1989/90), 28’57"

Jakob Ullmann is a composer, born and grown up in the former German Democratic Republic in 1958. He formerly studied organ with a music school of the protestant church. But he got trouble with the institution. He than tried to study with one of the most advanced composers of the GDR, Friedrich Goldmann, in his masterclass at the Berlin Academy of the Arts. It was very hard for him to get the allowance, and officially he was not allowed. But he studied with Goldmann, who was at that time famous in Western Germany as the most interesting composer of the GDR. He is as well a very good director - following the Boulez example. He directed his own works very well, but he did also some excellent performances of the Schoenberg opera Moses and Aron or Luigi Nonos last great piece Prometeo. By Goldmann Ullmann got an invitation to the Festivals of Donaueschingen (in 1988 - it was a very special thing for a young eastern composer) and also in Witten, a small Festival of chamber music in Western Germany, which ever showed a good sense to find new thrilling composers. The Palimpsest-piece was written in 1989/90 - after the fall of the wall. Ullmanns father (a professor of theology) was one of the leading politicians of the new East German Democratic movement. And so Jakob Ullmann became famous as well. But I think, he is a really good composer. He invited his hero John Cage to come to East Berlin 1990 and organized for him a small festival. It was the last time that Cage came to Germany. Palimpsest is a piece, commissioned by a small group of musicians of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, who wanted in the tradition of Schoenberg’s best known “Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen” (the association for private performances of chamber music) in Vienna 1918 make concerts with a maximum of rehearsing a piece, to get most perfect productions. They call themselves work in progress. The piece should include a vocal part, what Ullmann firstly didn’t like so much. It is very difficult to write modern music for vocals. For Ullmann it was a substantial question how to compose a text? How should the music interpret the words or should they not? What kind of texts should it be: texts of only artistic beauty or as well texts with a substantial meaning? Finally Ullmann found a trick, and this trick is enclosed in the meaning of the old Greek word palimpsest. "Palimpsest" is a repeatedly used parchment, whose initially notated text has been blotted out in order to make room for a new text. You know: in earlier times paper was very costly. And like a blackboard they used the paper several times. Nowadays you can reconstruct the older texts on those palimpsests - and so you get an unintentional commentary to the new text. It’s something similar, what Ullmann intended with his piece: he got some different layers, and these layers comment one another. And so the most intense part of the piece is about in the midst (ca. 14’-20’), when the most down-under layer comes up. And it is another interesting aspect in this piece: The main text is one of the Russian poet Anna Achmatowa; it is taken from her Requiem. In the Soviet Union it had survived during the time of Stalinist persecution only in the oral manner: as spoken word. It never had been written. Ullmann noticed it as well only in the oral version by a broadcast of a Western radio station, he could receive formerly in East Berlin. So this piece remembers as well - very impressing for me - at a whole culture of oral tradition, which we had in very early times or for a long time in Africa or with your Zoroaster’s Awesta, which, because of Alexander’s and later on of the Kalifat’s burning down the manuscript, only was conserved by oral tradition. But here it is resulting from a fear of the secret police, which never would accept the free word. So this music tries to find out the things, which are hidden under the surface. Good music ever wants to look under the surface. This one, I think, does so.


Hans-Joachim HESPOS (*1938) SNs
(1975) [essence] 5'30"

In the early 60ies in Western Germany a new approach to the organ music began to break trough. It was stipulated most by an organist, who was deeply influenced by the open aesthetic of John Cage: Gerd Zacher. He had earlier lived in Chile and came than as organist to a small church in Hamburg. He invited all the best composers to write for him pieces, which should newly experience the sound of the organ. The organ should not be further more only a “holy” instrument with a very stiff sound; its sound should be broken up, get smoother, and the instrument should get integrated into the all-days-life. It corresponded as well with a new approach of the Lutheran theology with the all-days-life. But the main new aspect was: to experience the sound of the organ like Bártok was experiencing the sound of piano as a part of a percussion instrument in his famous “Sonata for two Pianos and Percussion” and as well like Cage did in his early pieces for “prepared piano”. György Ligeti, Mauricio Kagel, Dieter Schnebel were the most famous and advanced composers, who tried out those new organ sounds. They integrated perhaps the sounds of pressing the keys at a mechanical keyboard as well as those of clattering stops (Register). But they got a new range of sounds especially, when they changed the pressure of wind in the pipes - raising or lowering. The organ then gets similar to a hornpipe. You can stretch this effect up to a minute, it is like put to sleep or wake up the organ’s heart. And you can hear many very special partial tones in the sound. Hans-Joachim Hespos ever was keen to incorporate all conceivable possibilities of sound-generation on instruments as well as the multiplicity of acoustic manifestations in his work. He has attained his musical position as an autodidact. Born 1938 in North West Germany he was first employed in the school system. Since the Sixties he produced his own music with growing international success. He says about his philosophy of making music: “I try to bring the full palette of music into play, from the no-longer-audible to the shrieking-tumbling-over - which may sometimes sound very brutal - and to gain tensions for my music there from.” During his search for new means of expressions Hespos arrived at sound-results similar to free jazz. However Hespos’ music is not related to free jazz in its essence; contrary to jazz, his music is planned into minutest detail. Even many of his scores of chamber music are written not in the conventional metric units but rather by graphic representation of the events, in whose succession the players respond to one other. The organ piece SNs (it means essence) was written in 1975. It was in honour to Gerd Zacher and his efforts for renewing the sound of organ. The title says, what the piece represents: an essence of all these new sounds, which make the whole organ to a sound producer, including the mechanical noises of creaking pieces of wood , combinations on springs and thudding pedals. There are three categories of sound: percussive noises produced by the fabric of the instruments (like we have in the modern music for flutes), a range of sounds “flouting all the rules” and a scale of dynamic range up to the bang of a shot. By all this means the organ gains back a part of its aura, it had in earlier times. Then, we know, it was a circus instrument.




Uzbek Police Storm Militant Hideout, Up to 23 Dead
By Shamil Baigin, Reuters, Tue Mar 30, 2004

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (Reuters) - Uzbek special forces stormed a suspected Islamic militants' hideout in a Tashkent suburb on Tuesday, leaving up to 23 people dead after a day-long siege, the Interior Ministry said. One woman evading capture blew herself up, witnesses said. Her severed head went flying over a wall. The battle erupted in Yalangach, two miles from one of President Islam Karimov's residences, a day after explosions killed 19 people in the Central Asian state. Authorities said Islamic militants triggered those blasts.
When Tuesday's firefight had ended, five corpses clad in black and identified by police as "terrorists" lay outside, each with bullet wounds. An Interior Ministry statement read on television said 20 militants had killed themselves. "In the process of being detained, 20 terrorists blew themselves up. Along with this, three policemen died and five sustained wounds of various seriousness," the statement said.
Residents and officials at the scene said 20 people were killed in the worst violence to grip the state since Soviet times. Twenty people died in 1999 bomb attacks aimed at Karimov. Western countries and rights groups have criticized the ex-Soviet state for using tough tactics against Islamic opposition, including accusations of widespread torture. A suburban resident, Farida, said she saw special forces running away from a woman apparently wearing a belt with explosives, who then pursued a bus carrying morning shift workers. But the vehicle sped away. "Then the police shot her in the leg, she fell down and then she blew herself up," said Farida. "The woman's head flew over the wall and into the courtyard."
Tension remained high after dark in Tashkent, a sprawling city dominated by tatty Soviet-era buildings erected after a 1966 earthquake. Soldiers with Kalashnikov rifles stood on corners and only a handful of cars ventured into the streets.
Lyudmila, 76, said elite troops struck unexpectedly. "First the special forces turned up like a bolt from the blue, all wearing masks and armed to the teeth," she said. "Then we were hastily evacuated and -- along with our relatives -- heard explosions and the shooting."
Monday's blasts, which the prosecutor general blamed on female suicide bombers, raised concern in Washington, which uses an Uzbek airbase for operations in neighboring Afghanistan (news - web sites). One group accused by authorities denied involvement.
Imran Waheed, a representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain, told Reuters in London he knew of no members linked to the bomb attacks or arrested afterwards. "We haven't heard of any backlash against the group...," he said. "An intensification in the repression of our members is to be expected."
Uzbekistan sealed its border with Tajikistan to the east, Tajik border authorities said, and Kazakhstan, to the north, also beefed up border security. In Kyrgyzstan, where Islamic militants staged attacks in 2002 and 2003, authorities reinforced police protection of embassies and other sites.
Two groups, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights and the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan, voiced fears authorities "might take discriminatory and repressive actions" against religious communities and opposition groups. "Improving human rights in Uzbekistan...could reduce the threat of terrorism," a joint statement issued in Vienna said.
Russia views the region, also including Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as the "soft underbelly" of the former Soviet Union. Moscow, fighting separatists in its mainly Muslim region of Chechnya, shares Tashkent's concern about Islamist activity or infiltration into the area from Afghanistan.


Uzbek Official Links Violence to al-Qaida

By Burt Herman, Associated Press Writer, Apr 1, 2004

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AP) - This week's outbreak of violence in Uzbekistan is linked to al-Qaida, a top anti-terror official said Thursday — the first time the Uzbek government has directly tied the attacks to the terror network headed by Osama bin Laden (news - web sites). Ilya Pyagay, Interior Ministry deputy anti-terrorism chief, said operations were continuing to capture suspected terrorists. At least 43 people — mostly alleged terrorists — have died this week in a series of suicide bombings and police shootouts. "These are Wahhabis who belong to one of the branches of the international al-Qaida terror group," Pyagay said, referring to the strict strain of Islam in which bin Laden was raised. "These are bandits who planned these attacks long in advance"
Prosecutor-General spokeswoman Svetlana Artikova said Thursday the events were "all part of one chain." It was the first unrest to hit this Central Asian nation since it became the United States' key ally in the region after the Sept. 11 attacks, hosting hundreds of U.S. troops at a military base near the Afghan border. Pyagay said officials were trying to determine if the 20 alleged terrorists they said died Tuesday were Uzbek citizens or not. He said many had been carrying false passports in a clash that officers at the scene and witnesses said was sparked after two suicide bombings that killed three police — contradicting official accounts that all 20 blew themselves up.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov had initially hinted the attacks were connected to the extremist Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been firmly suppressed in the country. But the group denied involvement and it has no known links to terrorist violence. The events also appeared to spark the start of a deeper crackdown on independent Muslims. Human Rights Watch confirmed six arrests in Tashkent and the surrounding region, and another two women and three children detained overnight and later released, said Allison Gill, the group's Uzbekistan researcher. She said none of them appeared to have a connection to the violence. "The volume of arrests just in the last 24 hours is high," she said. "It seems (authorities) are using this as a pretext to get people that they wanted anyway."
All land border crossings have been closed until further notice, the Border Protection Committee said. Tashkent's international airport continued to operate. Theaters canceled all performances until Monday, said a ticket agent at Tashkent's main Navoi Theater. The latest violence was a stand-off that ended early Thursday when officials said a militant blew himself up. Pyagay said it involved a "lone bandit" and no hostages, although police earlier had said several militants had taken hostages.
Oleg Bichenov, Tashkent city police anti-terrorism deputy chief, said at the scene that a man who had barricaded himself in a house detonated explosives, killing himself. But one officer at the scene, who would not give his name, said there were about 20 militants holding "many" captives, and that special police forces were wary of attacking because of the large number of hostages. Bichenov declined to explain the discrepancies in accounts of the standoff, which began late Wednesday. Uzbekistan is an authoritarian country where information is strictly controlled, contributing to the confusion.
Dozens of troops and officers and a unit of eight police dogs surrounded the house. Authorities cordoned off a large area around the house and used buses to evacuate neighbors, while soldiers pointed Kalashnikovs at onlookers and shouted at them to move back. A police major at the scene said the standoff began when a booby-trap grenade detonated while a police patrol tried to enter the gate of the house about a half a mile from the Chorsu bazaar where suicide bombers struck Monday, and that militants took an unknown number of hostages. He refused to give his name.
The Interfax news agency said there was an unknown number of casualties in the grenade blast. Russia's Channel One television said three people were wounded, and ITAR-Tass said one police officer was lightly injured. Police reportedly arrested at least 30 fugitive militants on Wednesday, but Bichenov declined to confirm how many had been arrested. "The number will be changing, and I hope it will be going up," he told AP earlier. "We are continuing to search for suspects and making arrests." Bichenov said those in custody were being questioned at length — but that interrogations so far found that none were members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.


Uzbek troops open fire in protest town
By Shamil Baigin, May 13, 2005 (REUTERs)

riotsSoldiers opened fire in the Uzbek town of Andizhan / Andijan on Friday, where thousands of protesters had gathered, killing at least one person.
This correspondent saw a truck full of troops speed with an armored personnel carrier into the center of the town, where the protesters had gathered, some demanding that long-serving President Islam Karimov stand down. One body could be seen lying on the ground after the shooting.

The firing followed reports by Russian news agencies from Uzbekistan that rebels holding a key government building and police hostages had refused to compromise in negotiations with officials. They also quoted officials as saying the rebels were holding women and children among the hostages but there was no independent confirmation.
Earlier, nine people were killed in clashes when rebels heading the protest seized the building after breaking comrades out of jail in the city in Uzbekistan's Ferghana Valley, home to millions of impoverished Muslims.
Bodies lay in the street and buildings were ablaze in the eastern city of Andizhan on the border with southern Kyrgyzstan, where violent protests led to a coup only two months ago. It was the worst unrest to hit the authoritarian ex-Soviet Central Asian state since bombings in the capital Tashkent last year.

More than 3,000 protesters, some calling for Karimov to resign, massed outside the main local government building occupied by the rebels. Four bodies, one of a soldier, lay in pools of blood in the street. A cinema and theater were ablaze.
"The nation has been tortured by the totalitarian regime of President Karimov and by corruption at all levels of the state," said one man, addressing the crowd with a loudspeaker. "The people demand justice, freedom and democracy."
Russia's Interfax news agency said that Karimov had rushed to the town and had been negotiating with the protesters.
Witnesses said a large group attacked one of the main police stations and a military barracks overnight, seized weapons, and then stormed Andizhan's prison where they freed the inmates before marching on the government building in the town center.

Officials said the rebels, armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, were pinned down but there was no sign of police or soldiers in their immediate vicinity. A military helicopter circled overhead.
The rebels were holding 10 police officers, their hands bound, inside the building, its floor littered with broken glass. Outside, they were building brick shelters.
"This is the limit. Our relatives started to disappear," one rebel leader, who declined to give his name, told Reuters inside the administration building. He said he had been freed from jail. "We suffered too much, people have been driven to despair, it has to be stopped."
It was the latest surge of unrest to hit states formerly part of the Soviet Union and follows a coup in March in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

PROTESTS IN THE CITY

Peaceful protests broke out in the city earlier this week to demand the release of 23 Muslim businessman, whom a human rights group said were facing trumped-up charges over religious extremism.
The Uzbek Foreign Ministry, which denied government buildings had been seized, said nine people had been killed and 34 wounded during an attack on a police station and military unit, and said negotiations were under way with the rebels.
In Tashkent, guards outside the Israeli embassy shot dead a suspected suicide bomber, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.
Suicide bombers targeted the Israeli and U.S. embassies in Tashkent last year. Washington has a military air base in Uzbekistan and has hailed Karimov as an ally in its war on terror.

Uzbekistan, an impoverished agrarian state of 26 million, has come under criticism from Western human rights groups for the mass jailing of Muslims who do not subscribe to state-sponsored Islam.
The Andizhan rebels demanded Russian mediation to avert further bloodshed. Kyrgyzstan's border guards said they had closed the border with Uzbekistan. The coup in Kyrgyzstan, which ousted President Askar Akayev, followed "bloodless revolutions" in Ukraine and Georgia which installed Western-leaning leaders.

Events in those countries sent chills through other presidential palaces in Central Asia, but Uzbekistan's problems have focused on Islam and poverty.
Karimov's government has jailed thousands of Muslim and political dissidents and human rights groups say its prisons make widespread use of torture.
Karimov has said his hard line is necessary due to the threat of militant Islam, but it has radicalised many Muslims and, combined with widespread poverty and a stagnant economy, fostered resentment, Western diplomats and analysts say.


Uzbekistan battles insurgents,
troops shoot on crowd

Friday May 13, 2005

ANDIJAN, Uzbekistan (AFP) - Troops loyal to Uzbekistan's hardline President Islam Karimov opened fire on protesters and counter-attacked insurgents who had briefly seized control of central Andijan, the ex-Soviet republic's fourth largest city.

Panic erupted as soldiers drove a truck into the eastern Uzbek city's main square and began shooting into a crowd of 5,000 that was demonstrating against Karimov's government. An AFP correspondent saw at least one person killed and five wounded.
Troops then moved in against armed anti-Karimov insurgents who had seized public buildings and freed 2,000 prisoners from the local prison, where 23 men accused of Islamic extremism were being held. The nighttime raid left at least nine dead and 34 wounded, according to the government.
Soldiers in armoured personnel carriers and lorries spread throughout the city and by late Friday the brutal counter-offensive appeared to have brought the city back under control.
Russia's Interfax agency, quoting local police, said security forces retook the administration building on the main square after what had been particularly intense fighting. Police also said hostages held in the building had been released. There was no immediate independent confirmation.

Andizhan, May 2005It was one of the most serious crises to shake Uzbekistan, which is run by an authoritarian government and hosts a major US air base used for operations in Afghanistan, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Andijan, which has a population of 300,000, is near the border of Kyrgyzstan in the densely populated and impoverished Ferghana valley, where Islamic sentiment is traditionally strong.
The violence followed days of protests in the city against the trial of the 23 men, who were charged with forming a cell of the outlawed Islamic group Akromiya.
Supporters said the charges against the men, mostly businessmen, had been trumped up by Karimov's government, which is widely accused of using torture and arbitrary arrests to keep potential opponents under control.
Freeing those 23 men appeared to have been the main original goal of the insurgents.

Late Thursday they raided a military garrison for its weapons, then stormed the city administration building before breaking into the prison. Witnesses described their terror as the violence erupted.
"The shooting started at 11:45 at night," a kindergarten teacher, who asked not to be named, told AFP. "It was very close. I was afraid a bullet could hit my children. We didn't sleep at all and everyone's afraid."
It was after the night's fighting died down that thousands of demonstrators gathered in the city centre to call for Karimov's resignation and to protest the lack of democracy in the country.
Before sending troops to the square, there had been signs that the Uzbek authorities might consider a peaceful resolution. Karimov himself headed to the city and set up a headquarters at the local airport and reports throughout the day spoke of possible negotiations.
However there was no news of progress and authorities, who already control the national media, blocked broadcasts by the BBC, CNN and other international channels. State television showed films and entertainment programmes and the country's nearby border with Kyrgyzstan was shut.

A journalist for the Ferghana news agency told AFP that a man describing himself as one of the rebel leaders said he had been one of those freed from prison but denied being connected to Islamic extremism. "We are believers, nothing more," he said, adding that he wanted Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene. He described himself as a businessman of 35, but would not give his name.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared to rule out intervention, saying the disturbance was "an internal affair" of Uzbekistan. Meanwhile in the capital Tashkent, the US embassy initially reported that a would-be suicide bomber was shot outside the Israeli embassy. Uzbek officials later said the man turned out to be unarmed.
Bombings at the US and Israeli embassies last year killed two people and were claimed by a group calling itself the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. However, independent analysts say Karimov's autocratic government has used the fear of Islamic rebellion as cover for the suppression of opposition.
The Akromiya group, to which the men on trial in Andijan allegedly belong, is an off-shoot of the better known Hizb ut-Tahrir, which seeks to create an Islamic state throughout the Central Asian former Soviet republics.


Witness: Hundreds Dead in Uzbek Uprising
Sunday, May 15, 2005
By BAGILA BUKHARBAYEVA (AP), AP reporter Burt Herman contributed to this report from Tashkent

ANDIJAN, Uzbekistan - An estimated 500 bodies have been laid out in a school in the eastern Uzbek city where troops fired on a crowd of protesters to put down an uprising, a doctor said Sunday, corroborating witness accounts of hundreds killed in the fighting.
The doctor, who said she had seen the bodies, said residents were coming to Andijan's School No. 15 to identify dead relatives, who had been placed in rows. Soldiers were guarding the school, said the doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The doctor also said she believed some 2,000 people were wounded in the clashes on Friday, but it wasn't clear how she arrived at that estimate.

death tollThousands of terrified Uzbeks trying to flee into Kyrgyzstan burned a government building Saturday and attacked border guards, a second day of violence triggered by a brazen jail break to free accused Islamic militants and a massive demonstration against economic conditions under the iron-fisted rule of President Islam Karimov.
There was no immediate word on casualties in Saturday's violence in this former republic of the ex-Soviet Union. Witnesses on Friday had said 200 to 300 people were killed in the gunfire; the doctor's report of 500 dead raised that estimate.
Andijan is Uzbekistan's fourth-largest city, about 30 miles from the country's easternmost border in the narrow finger of territory that protrudes deep into Kyrgyzstan, where an uprising in late March ousted that country's only post-Soviet leader.

The Uzbek unrest began overnight Friday when protesters freed as many as 2,000 prisoners, including the 23 members of the Akramia Islamic group on trial on charges of being members of a group allied with the outlawed radical Islamic party Hizb-ut-Tahrir. It seeks to create a worldwide Islamic state and has been forced underground throughout most of Central Asia and Russia.
Karimov's hardline secular regime has a long history of repressing Muslims who worship outside state-approved mosques.
In the course of Friday, thousands of people swarmed into the streets of Andijan, clashing with police and seizing the administration building, which was later taken back by government forces. Demonstrators did not call for the ouster of Karimov but instead complained bitterly about the dire economic conditions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned Karimov on Saturday to express concern that the violence could destablize Central Asia, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
The U.S.-allied Uzbek leader blamed the fighting on Islamic extremists. During a news conference in the capital, Tashkent, he said 10 government troops and "many more" militants died in the fighting Friday. At least 100 people were wounded, Karimov said without specifying who started the shooting.

Uzbekistan hosts a U.S. air base in the Karshi-Khanabad region, 90 miles from the Afghan border, to support military operations in that country after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. The number of troops there has reached several thousand at times. The base is more than 430 miles southwest of Andijan.
The White House on Saturday declined to comment, although press secretary Scott McClellan on Friday urged both the government and demonstrators to "exercise restraint."

After the shooting in Andijan on Friday, Lutfulo Shamsutdinov, head of the Independent Human Rights Organization of Uzbekistan, said he saw the bodies of about 200 victims being loaded onto trucks near the square. A witness in central Andijan told The Associated Press that "many, many dead bodies are stacked up by a school near the square."
Disturbances flared Saturday in the village of Korasuv, 30 miles to the east, when 6,000 Uzbeks trying to flee into Kyrgyzstan were blocked at the border. Some in the group set fire to a police station, vandalized police cars and attacked border personnel, a Kyrgyz official said. Uzbek helicopters were seen circling overhead.

In Andijan, hundreds of angry protesters gathered Saturday at the site of Friday's bloodshed, placing six bodies on display from the scores witnesses said were killed in fighting. Clusters of bystanders watched as men covered other bloodied bodies with white shrouds.
Demonstrators, some with tears in their eyes, condemned the government for firing on women and children. Residents said a group of hundreds later went to a local police station to confront the heavily armed authorities, who sent a helicopter buzzing low over the crowd to scare them away.
Karimov said he ordered authorities not to take any physical action against the demonstrators Saturday. "In Uzbekistan, nobody fights against women, children or the elderly," he said.

An Andijan resident reached by telephone said Sunday that the city had been largely quiet overnight, aside from a volley of gunfire that lasted a few minutes. The resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said protesters had left the square at the center of the uprising and that the streets were still full of government soldiers.
In Friday's standoff, Karimov claimed the government had offered the demonstrators free passage out of the city in buses with their weapons, seized in attacks on a police station and military outpost.
But a protest leader, Kabuljon Parpiyev, said Interior Minister Zakir Almatov did not sound willing to negotiate when they spoke by phone Friday.
"He said, 'We don't care if 200, 300 or 400 people die. We have force and we will chuck you out of there anyway,'" Parpiyev quoted Almatov as saying.

Earlier Saturday, soldiers loaded scores of bodies onto four trucks and a bus after blocking friends and relatives from collecting them, witnesses said.
Daniyar Akbarov, 24, joined the protests Saturday after being freed from the prison during the earlier clashes.
"Our women and children are dying," he said, tearfully beating his chest with his fists. Akbarov said he saw at least 300 people killed.

The focus of the jailbreak was 23 men charged with membership in a group allegedly allied with Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
The men are alleged members of Akramia — a group named for their founder, Akram Yuldashev, an Islamic dissident sentenced in 1999 to 17 years in prison for allegedly urging Karimov's ouster. He has proclaimed his innocence. The group forms the heart of the city's small business community.
The trial of the 23 has inspired one of the largest public shows of anger at the government in years, and the largest outbreak of violence since Uzbekistan became an independent country after the 1991 Soviet collapse.


Uzbek activist says she saw about
500 bodies following Andijan crackdown
ASSOCIATED PRESS, May 24, 2005

TASHKENT - An Uzbek rights activist said Tuesday that she saw about 500 bodies in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan after troops fired on protesters, contradicting the official claim that 169 died.

Gulbakhor Turayeva, a former doctor turned rights activist, said she counted 400 bodies lying in the yard of Andijan's School No. 15 a day after the violence. She said there were about 100 other bodies there, but that she had been driven out of the school before she could make a precise count. Government troops shot at demonstrators in Andijan on May 13 after protesters stormed a local prison and government headquarters. Uzbek President Islam Karimov blamed the violence on Islamic militants and denied that troops had fired on unarmed civilians. Karimov has shrugged off activists' claims that hundreds had died and stonewalled Western demands for an international inquiry, saying that Uzbek authorities would conduct their own probe. The Uzbek parliament, comprised entirely of Karimov loyalists, has set up a panel to investigate the Andijan unrest, according to a resolution published in government newspapers Tuesday.

China, meanwhile, expressed support for Uzbekistan's crackdown, one day before a Wednesday visit to Beijing by Karimov. Turayeva, who heads the Anima-Cor rights group, said most of the dead she saw at the school yard were men. ''I saw bodies on the ground behind the fence, and I counted about 400 of them,'' Turayeva said at a news conference in the capital, Tashkent. ''There were more just round the corner. I would estimate their number at around 100, but the guards drove me away before I could count them.'' She said she had gone to the school to check residents' claims that it was ''packed with bodies.''
The toll from the violence has been difficulty to nail down. An Associated Press reporter over several days visited 16 cemeteries, but found just 61 graves that cemetery workers said belonged to victims of the violence. Death certificates obtained by AP were marked with numbers reaching as high as 328 issued May 14, 304 on May 15 and 279 on May 16. It wasn't known if the numbers reflected a count that began each day, which would support opposition claims that hundreds died, or a count that began at the beginning of the year. Some Uzbek regional offices that record births and deaths total from the beginning of each year.

Uzbekistan's top prosecutor has said 169 people were killed, including 32 government soldiers. He said nearly all the remaining dead were Islamic militants who seized weapons and freed prisoners from a jail before security forces moved in to put down the uprising. The few civilians who died were killed by militants, Uzbek officials say. Groups opposed to Karimov's rule say the death toll was far higher. Nigara Khidoyatova, head of the Free Peasants party, said workers from her group recorded 745 killed. However, despite repeated requests from journalists, Khidoyatova provided a list of only 43 names without addresses or any contact details, making it impossible to confirm the alleged deaths.
Joining other Western calls for an international inquiry into the unrest, NATO said Tuesday it was ''deeply disturbed'' by the Andijan violence. Uzbekistan cooperates with the alliance through an Individual Partnership Action Plan. ''We condemn the reported use of excessive and disproportionate use by the Uzbek security forces,'' NATO said. ''We support the United Nations' call for an independent inquiry into these events and urge the Uzbek authorities to allow such an investigation.''
Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that as part of an ongoing crackdown on rights defenders, the Uzbek government had arrested a prominent activist, Saidjahon Zaynabitdinov, who had strongly criticized the violence in Andijan and said the death toll could be as high as 1,000. He was detained Saturday and is being held on unknown charges, the U.S.-based rights group said.

Karimov was scheduled to meet his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao during his three-day trip to Beijing. ''As to the developments in Uzbekistan in the recent past, I think it is a domestic affair,'' said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said. ''We firmly support the efforts by the authorities of Uzbekistan to strike down the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism.'' Kong said China ''supports the efforts by the Uzbekistan government to stabilize their domestic situation and their commitment to development of the country.'' Beijing hopes that the country will ''return to a state of calmness as soon as possible,'' he said at a regular briefing.

*

Unruhen in Usbekistan
Soldaten feuern auf Demonstranten
13.05.05

Das Militär der zentralasiatischen Republik hat einen Massenaufstand blutig niedergeschlagen – angeblich sind bis zu 50 Menschen ums Leben gekommen.
Demonstranten hatten Augenzeugenberichten zufolge in Andischan gegen die autoritäre Staatsführung protestiert. Soldaten hätten am Freitagabend wahllos auf Menschen geschossen. Usbekische Journalisten schätzten vor Ort die Zahl der Toten auf bis zu 50.
Der Angriff des Militärs richtete sich vor allem gegen das von Aufständischen besetzte Gebäude der Gebietsverwaltung. Die Demonstranten hatten gegen einen umstrittenen Extremismus-Strafprozess protestiert und den Rücktritt des autoritären Staatschefs Islam Karimow gefordert.
Während des eine Stunde lang dauernden Angriffs seien aus dem Gebäude mehrere Explosionen zu hören gewesen, berichtete ein Reporter der Internetagentur Fergana. Die Informationslage blieb bis zum Abend widersprüchlich. Präsident Karimow hielt sich nach Angaben seines Verwaltungsapparates in Andischan auf. Er trat aber nicht an die Öffentlichkeit.

Das verarmte Fergana-Tal ist die am dichtesten besiedelte Region Zentralasiens. Sie gerät zunehmend unter den Einfluss islamischer Extremisten. Die Behörden ließen nach den Unruhen die einzige Verbindungsstraße zur 300 Kilometer entfernten Hauptstadt Taschkent sperren. Vor der israelischen Botschaft in Taschkent erschossen Wachleute einen Verdächtigen, der mit einer Bombenattrappe auf das Botschaftsgelände gelangen wollte.
In der Nacht auf Freitag hatten bewaffnete Banden Waffen aus einer Kaserne in Andischan geraubt und damit die Freilassung Tausender Häftlinge aus einem Gefängnis erzwungen. Ziel war es, 23 als religiöse Extremisten angeklagte Geschäftsleute zu befreien. Am Morgen besetzten die Bewaffneten die Gebietsverwaltung in Andischan. Bei den Schießereien kamen nach offiziellen Regierungsangaben bis zum Nachmittag neun Menschen ums Leben, weitere 34 wurden verletzt.
Nach Berichten von Augenzeugen hielten sich bis zum Abend etwa 100 Aufständische mit Schnellfeuerwaffen und Handgranaten in der Gebietsverwaltung verschanzt. Den ganzen Tag über hätten Polizei und Armee keine Versuche unternommen, Kontakt zu den Demonstranten aufzunehmen, berichteten Bürger in Andischan. „Wir sind keine Extremisten. Wir wollen Demokratie und Arbeit", riefen die Kundgebungsteilnehmer auf dem zentralen Platz der Stadt mit 300 000 Einwohnern. Die Aufständischen teilten am Nachmittag mit, sie hätten 15 Soldaten in ihre Gewalt gebracht.

Der seit 15 Jahren als Präsident regierende Karimow hat einen gemäßigten Staatsislam angeordnet und lässt seine Sicherheitsdienste mit großer Härte gegen Oppositionelle vorgehen. Nach Schätzungen von Amnesty International sitzen derzeit 8000 Regimegegner in Gefängnissen. Die Menschenrechtsorganisation wirft der Regierung in Taschkent Folter und Misshandlungen von Häftlingen vor.
Die usbekische Führung kooperiert eng mit den USA im Kampf gegen den internationalen Terrorismus. In der früheren Sowjetrepublik sind unter anderem Soldaten aus den USA und Deutschland stationiert. Die etwa 300 Bundeswehr-Angehörigen versorgen von der südusbekischen Stadt Termes aus die Truppen im benachbarten Nordafghanistan.


Totenstille in Andischan - Trauer um die Toten
15.05.05

Trauer um die TotenNach den blutigen Unruhen liegt eine gespenstische Ruhe über der Stadt, die Bewohner berichten von entsetzlichen Szenen. Während die Einwohner am Sonntag die Todesopfer der schweren Unruhen zu Grabe trugen, waren in der Ferne noch immer Schüsse zu hören.

In Andischan verschärften die Sicherheitskräfte ihre Kontrolle über die Stadt. Sie riegelten zahlreiche öffentliche Gebäude komplett ab, darunter vor allem die Leichenhalle und die Krankenhäuser. Panzer fahren Streife, schwer bewaffnete Soldaten patrouillieren. Obwohl offiziell keine Ausgangssperre herrschte, trauten sich nur wenige Einwohner auf die Straßen, um nach Angehörigen zu suchen, die seit der blutigen Niederschlagung der Kundgebung am Freitag vermisst wurden. Bei den Unruhen wurden schätzungsweise 500 Menschen getötet.

„Sie schossen auf uns wie auf Kaninchen", sagt ein Teenager, der vor einer von Einschüssen beschädigten Schule steht. Augenzeugen zufolge flüchteten sich einige Demonstranten in Richtung der Schule, wo sie jedoch ins Kreuzfeuer gerieten. Die Fassade des zweistöckigen Schulgebäudes zeugt von dem heftigen Beschuss: Mindestens 20 Einschusslöcher sind zu erkennen. In einem Gebüsch liegt eine Blut getränkte Baseball-Kappe, und in Abwasserrinnen haben sich Blutlachen mit Wasser und Schmutz vermischt. Auf Straßen und Fußwegen liegen Leichenteile – nur notdürftig mit Erde bedeckt. Auf einem der Friedhöfe Andischans sagt ein Totengräber, er habe schon bis zum Morgen vier Gräber ausgehoben.

In einer Schule sollen zahlreichen Leichen aufgebahrt liegen, wie eine Ärztin berichtet. Ein staatlicher russischer Fernsehsender zeigte Männer, die Leichen wegschleppen. Frauen weinen. In den Krankenhäusern der Stadt lägen weitere Todesopfer, berichteten Anwohner. Soldaten und Polizisten würden „noch ein paar übrig gebliebene Kämpfer fertig machen", so ein Mitglied der Sicherheitskräfte. Die gewaltsame Niederschlagung der Proteste löste in einigen Vierteln der rund 300 000 Einwohner zählenden Stadt Panik aus und schlug bis zu 4000 Menschen in die Flucht. Die Menschen durchbrachen die geschlossene Grenze zum benachbarten Kirgisien, wo erst vor einigen Wochen Massendemonstrationen zum Rücktritt von Präsident Askar Akajew geführt hatten.

„Die Gesamtzahl der Toten könnte bei 500 auf beiden Seiten liegen", hatte der der örtliche Vertreter der usbekischen Menschenrechtsorganisation Appeal, Saidschachon Sainatbitdinow, der Nachrichtenagentur Reuters am Samstag am Telefon gesagt. Er berief sich bei seinen Schätzungen auf eigene Beobachtungen und auf Gespräche mit Augenzeugen. Offizielle Zahlen über Todesopfer liegen nicht vor. Der Präsident der zentralasiatischen Republik, Islam Karimow, lobte das brutale Vorgehen seiner Sicherheitskräfte und bezeichnete die getöteten Landsleute als „Extremisten“ und „Kriminelle“. Karimow sprach von „mehr als zehn getöteten Polizisten“.

Russlands Präsident Wladimir Putin äußerte in Moskau seine Sorge vor einer weiteren Destabilisierung in Zentralasien. Der Westen zeigte sich dagegen betroffen von den hohen Opferzahlen. „Insbesondere die Berichte über anhaltende Gewalt und die zugespitzte Lage im südost-usbekischen Andischan und im Fergana-Tal sind beunruhigend", erklärte Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer in Berlin. Für die deutschen Soldaten im Land besteht nach Angaben von Verteidigungsminister Peter Struck keine Gefahr. „Im Süden Usbekistans sind 305 deutsche Soldaten stationiert. Dieses deutsche Kontingent ist nicht von den Unruhen betroffen. Es hält sich 900 Kilometer entfernt auf. Unsere Soldaten sind in Sicherheit", sagte Struck der „Bild am Sonntag“.


Abrechnungen in der
usbekischen Machtclique

Öffentliche Demütigung der
ambitiösen Präsidententochter
Gulnara Karimowa

Seit dem Ende der Sowjetunion hat der Staatschef von Usbekistan, Karimow, unangefochten regiert.
Doch nun brodelt in seiner Familie ein in aller Öffentlichkeit ausgetragener Machtkampf, der bizarre Züge annimmt.

Marcus Bensmann, Bischkek / NZZ 26.10.2013

Islam Karimow, der nunmehr 75-jährige Präsident der zentralasiatischen Republik Usbekistan, hat in den letzten beiden Jahrzehnten mithilfe seiner Sprösslinge und eines ihm treu ergebenen Machtzirkels Politik und Wirtschaft des Landes straff kontrolliert. Doch nun fällt auf, dass die Behörden auf einmal Mitglieder der Präsidentenfamilie ins Visier nehmen, die bisher als unantastbar galten und sich hemmungslos bereichern konnten. Unter Druck gekommen ist besonders die älteste Tochter Karimows, Gulnara. Die extravagante Usbekin hat sich seit Jahren als Poetin, Wohltäterin und Modedesignerin zu positionieren versucht und gleichzeitig ziemlich unverhüllt Anspruch auf die Nachfolge ihres Vaters erhoben.

Seit dieser Woche fällt es Gulnara Karimowa allerdings schwerer, sich Gehör zu verschaffen, da die Ausstrahlung bei ihren vier Fernseh- sowie drei Radiosendern in Usbekistan über Nacht unterbrochen worden ist. Dies geschah ausgerechnet in den Tagen, in denen die Präsidententochter mit der Mode- und Kulturwoche «style.uz» ihr seit Jahren wichtigstes Ereignis in der usbekischen Hauptstadt zelebriert. Die offizielle Begründung, es handle sich lediglich um eine technische Überprüfung, klingt nicht glaubhaft. Auch die sonstigen vom Staat kontrollierten Medien stellten die Berichterstattung über Gulnaras Modewoche ein.

Kurz zuvor hatte die Präsidententochter machtlos die Festnahme eines Cousins, des 28-jährigen Akbarali Abdullajew, hinnehmen müssen. Dieser soll zusammen mit seiner Mutter, einer Schwägerin des Präsidenten, eine dominante Rolle in der Wirtschaft des fruchtbaren und dicht bevölkerten Fergana-Tals gespielt haben. Die Verhaftung eines Mitglieds des Präsidentenclans ist ein Novum in Usbekistan. Die jüngere Tochter des Staatschefs, Lola Karimowa-Tillajewa, die mit ihrer Familie in einer Genfer Villa residiert, distanzierte sich von der Schwester bereits Ende September in einem Interview mit dem britischen Sender BBC. «Wir sprechen seit zwölf Jahren nicht miteinander», erklärte Lola Karimowa, die als Botschafterin ihres Landes bei der Unesco amtiert. Sie bezweifelte auch, dass die ältere Schwester das Erbe des Vaters antreten könne. Wütend warf Gulnara Karimowa daraufhin der Schwester öffentlich über Onlinedienste vor, gemeinsam mit Hexenmeistern das Erbe des Vaters zu zerstören, und verdächtigte die eigene Mutter, satanische Praktiken zu zelebrieren.

Der Gang der Präsidententöchter an die Öffentlichkeit konterkariert das bisherige Herrschaftsprinzip des usbekischen Präsidenten, der in seinem Land keine unabhängigen Medien duldet und ausländischen Journalisten kaum Visa erteilt. Usbekistan gehört weltweit zu den repressivsten Regimen, 2005 liess Karimow in der Provinzstadt Andischan einen Volksaufstand blutig niederschlagen, und in den Gefängnissen wird nach Uno-Erkenntnissen systematisch gefoltert. Trotz den Menschenrechtsverletzungen wird Karimow vom Westen als Partner der Nato für die Logistik im Afghanistankrieg und den mittlerweile begonnenen Rückzug umworben.

Bisher profitierten beide Töchter von der väterlichen Machtfülle. Sie sollen über Strohmänner lukrative Wirtschaftszweige des Landes kontrollieren, leiten zudem wohltätige Stiftungen und suchen bei Filmfestivals und Modeschauen die Nähe zur internationalen Glamourwelt. Gulnara Karimowa wurde allerdings im Sommer dieses Jahres als Botschafterin Usbekistans bei der Uno in Genf abgezogen und verlor damit auch ihre diplomatische Immunität.

Den Abstieg der älteren Präsidententochter hatten zwei bis heute schwelende Schwarzgeldskandale in Europa eingeleitet. Zum einen hatte im Sommer 2012 die Schweizer Bundesanwaltschaft 600 Millionen Franken bei einer Privatbank in Genf beschlagnahmt, zum andern berichteten schwedische Journalisten, die heimische Mobilfunkgesellschaft Teliasonera habe einen dreistelligen Millionenbetrag auf das Konto einer Strohfrau von Gulnara überwiesen. Seither verschanzt sich Karimowa in Usbekistan, pflegt aber weiterhin einen ausschweifenden Lebensstil. Sie nahm Musikvideos auf, sang zusammen mit Gérard Depardieu Lieder und sendete fast täglich über Twitter Nachrichten in die Welt.

Im Frühjahr beschuldigte sie dann den usbekischen Vizeregierungschef Rustam Asimow, der als potenzieller Nachfolger des Präsidenten gilt, in einem Blog der Korruption. Doch die Attacke lief ins Leere, denn der Vater entliess nicht etwa den gescholtenen Minister, sondern nahm ihn zu einem Staatsbesuch nach Moskau mit und placierte ihn bei einem Treffen mit dem Kremlchef Putin demonstrativ zu seiner Rechten. Es scheint, als habe Karimow das Schicksal von King Lear vor Augen, den zwei machthungrige Töchter um Besitz und Verstand gebracht haben. In der Endphase von Karimows Herrschaft ist nun die Beschneidung des Familieneinflusses mit der Demütigung der ältesten Tochter zu beobachten - der jüngere Spross, Lola, scheint sich auf diese Entwicklung rechtzeitig eingestellt zu haben und gibt sich bescheiden.


Usbekistans Herrscherfamilie von Machtkämpfen zerrissen

Ungelöste Nachfolgefrage in der zentralasiatischen Republik

Die politisch ambitiöse ältere Tochter des usbekischen Staatschefs Karimow, Gulnara, hat in kürzester Zeit ihre Machtstellung verloren. Hintergrund ist eine Intrige, in der ihre Schwester und der Geheimdienstchef des Landes die Fäden ziehen.

Marcus Bensmann, Bischkek, NZZ 11.02.2014

Nach einem monatelangen Konflikt in der usbekischen Präsidentenfamilie lässt sich eine vorläufige Bilanz ziehen: Gulnara Karimowa, die ältere Tochter des Diktators Islam Karimow, ist die klare Verliererin in diesem Machtkampf. Die glamouröse Usbekin, die lange als potenzielle Nachfolgerin ihres Vaters galt, hat ihre Geschäfte und Banken verloren, und ihre Stiftung «Fundforum», die das kulturelle Leben in Usbekistan prägte, stellte die Tätigkeit ein. Machtlos musste Gulnara auch zusehen, wie mehrere ihrer Vertrauensleute verhaftet wurden.

Karimowas Fall begann spätestens im letzten Sommer, als sie im Zuge eines Geldwäschereiskandals ihren Posten als Botschafterin bei der Uno in Genf verlor. Aber schon 2010 hatte die Insolvenz der in Zug beheimateten Firma Zeromax Schlagzeilen gemacht. Über diese Gesellschaft liefen beträchtliche Teile des usbekischen Rohstoffgeschäftes, wobei die Präsidententochter als heimliche Drahtzieherin galt. Während es im Fall Zeromax bei Vermutungen blieb, zog sich die Schlinge im Geldwäschereiskandal zu. Es kam zu Kontenblockierungen, und Karimowas Villa in Genf wurde im Sommer durchsucht.
Die Usbekin wird nun, wie sie selber sagt, in den Schweizer Ermittlungen als Verdächtige geführt. Dafür liefert sie eine erstaunliche Erklärung. Scharif Inojatow, der Sohn des usbekischen Staatssicherheitschefs, sei im Sommer in der Schweiz verhaftet worden. Darauf hätten usbekische Emissäre in der Schweiz für dessen Freilassung belastendes Material im Fall Gulnara Karimowa angeboten. Die Bundesanwaltschaft in Bern bestätigt allein die Durchsuchung der 18 Millionen Franken teuren Villa im August, will die Vorgänge aber nicht kommentieren.

Im Dezember meldete sich ein usbekischer Dissident aus dem leeren Anwesen in Genf, übermittelte Fotos von Gemälden, die eigentlich in einem Taschkenter Museum hängen sollten, und prangerte die Präsidententochter als Kunsträuberin an. Merkwürdigerweise verfügte der «Hausbesetzer» über einen Zweitschlüssel und die Zugangsdaten für das Sicherheitssystem – beides war in den Händen der usbekischen Sicherheitsdienste. Karimowa ist jedenfalls überzeugt, dass es Kräfte im Sicherheitsapparat darauf angelegt haben, sie politisch auszubooten.
Das undurchsichtige Drama lenkt den Blick auf die ungelöste Nachfolgefrage an der Spitze Usbekistans. Der 75-jährige Karimow regiert das zentralasiatische Land seit 1989, als er in der Endphase der Sowjetzeit die Führung der Kommunistischen Partei der usbekischen Sowjetrepublik übernommen hatte. Trotz schweren Menschenrechtsverstössen in seinem Land gilt Karimow heute als wichtiger Partner der Nato, die ihre Truppen im benachbarten Afghanistan zu einem wesentlichen Teil über usbekisches Territorium versorgt.

Der Diktator hat keinen Nachfolger aufgebaut. Im Hintergrund wuchs während seiner langjährigen Herrschaft aber die Macht der Sicherheitsbehörden und ihres Chefs, Rustam Inojatow. Der 69-Jährige soll schwer zuckerkrank sein, aber eine Riege ihm ergebener und ambitionierter Offiziere stehe schon bereit, wie es Gulnara Karimowa in Äusserungen via Twitter bedauert. Neben Inojatow gehören auch Ministerpräsident Schawkat Mirsijajew, Finanzminister Rustam Asimow sowie Aussenminister Abdulasis Kamilow zu den langjährigen Gefährten des Präsidenten und können sich Hoffnungen auf die Nachfolge machen.
Karimowa wirft allerdings ihrer Mutter vor, den Ehemann der jüngeren Präsidententochter Lola, Timur Tillajew, als Nachfolger mit Rückendeckung der Staatssicherheit zu favorisieren. Der Geschäftsmann soll den Aussenhandel Usbekistans dominieren und dabei enorme Reichtümer angehäuft haben. Im letzten Sommer kauften Lola Karimowa-Tillajewa und ihr Mann ein Anwesen in Beverly Hills mit einem Wert von umgerechnet über 50 Millionen Franken, nachdem sie bereits drei Jahre vorher am Genfersee eine Villa für 43 Millionen Franken erworben hatten. Gulnara ist bei ihren Anschuldigungen nicht zimperlich und schreibt, der Ehemann der jüngeren Schwester versorge diese mit Kokain und seine Schwiegermutter mit teurem Cognac.

Via Twitter gab Gulnara während ihres Abwehrkampfes auch andere Einsichten in die Präsidentenfamilie preis und begann, Missstände in ihrem Land wie Folter, Korruption und Justizwillkür anzuprangern. Sie selbst steht aber mit dem Rücken zur Wand. Gegner haben ihr mit dem Tod gedroht, und sie darf Usbekistan nach eigenen Aussagen nicht mehr verlassen. Solange ihr Vater am Leben und an der Macht ist, ist ihre persönliche Unversehrtheit wohl gesichert. Anfang Januar erzwang die Verfemte ein Gespräch mit dem Vater, von dem sie zuvor monatelang ferngehalten worden war. Danach konnte Gulnaras Sohn nach London ausreisen. Auch soll sie sich verpflichtet haben, nicht mehr Verfängliches zu twittern. Aber daran hält sie sich nur bedingt – Anfang Februar griff sie erneut ihre Verwandtschaft und den Sicherheitsapparat an.