Towards a New Uzbekistan?The Magnitude, Impact and Limitations of Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s Reforms
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Room 412Q (Voesar)
1957 E st NW, Washington, DC 20052
Since taking office in September 2016, the new President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has initiated many reforms, ranging from economic and social policies aimed at improving the investment climate and the education and health systems to domestic and foreign policy changes aimed at eliminating any cult of personality, providing greater freedom of media and expression, and improving relations with neighboring States.
The pace and scope of the initiatives has taken many academics and experts by surprise, and raises several questions. Are these reforms sustainable, and how do they impact the lives of Uzbekistani citizens? What are the consequences for relations between Uzbekistan and the international community? Do they provide an opportunity for Western countries to strengthen their relations with Uzbekistan and to improve their image, in the country?
Four panelists will discuss these issues with a focus on specific areas that President Mirziyoyev has targeted for reform, including civil society (Sean Roberts, GWU), economic development (Eric Rudenshoild, USAID), media (Navbahor Imamova, Voice of America) and education (Sebastien Peyrouse, GWU).
New Voices on Russia: Any Hopes or Changes From Russia’s Next Presidential Election?
with Yuval Weber (Woodrow Wilson Center)
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412
The Elliott School of International Afffairs
1957 E St NW
Ahead of the Russian presidential elections scheduled for March 18, President Putin is assured of victory but faces formidable electoral opponents: popular apathy and the threat of low turnout. In seeking a fourth term for Russia’s highest office, Putin’s advisors have set a target of 70% turnout and 70% in favor. If realized, the election result will justify the previous 18 years of Putin’s rule, but if not will raise serious concerns that Putin’s last day in office might come at a point much earlier than the end of the term in 2024.
This talk focuses on the issues facing President Putin the day after the elections — whether the 70/70 goal is achieved or not — and especially the various economic reform plans that have emerged as the largest substantive policy issue for the election. While “economic reform” may appear to be a complicated subject in any country, it has long been the third rail of Russian politics because it explicitly identifies the tensions between the demands of the market and the demands of the security state. As such, the winners and losers of previous economic reform efforts dating back to the Tsarist period have been motivated to bring down or prop up leaders and even the state itself. The outcome of this current economic reform effort will also shape Russia’s national security and foreign policies, as ongoing low growth will force tough choices between raising living standards at home and maintaining muscular stances abroad.
Yuval Weber (@yuvalweber) is currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a Kennan Institute Fellow at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School. He is additionally a Center Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and on leave from the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. He is currently working on a manuscript entitled Designed to Fail: Patterns in Russian Economic Reform, 1861-2018 for Agenda Publishing/Columbia Univ. Press, and has recent publications in Problems of Post-Communism, Survival, Orbis, Aspenia, and the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog.