The following details of an interview with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of the Republic of Uzbekistan conducted by Editor-in-Chief Salim Doniyorov of Uzbek newspaper, Yangi Uzbekiston, were provided to The Korea Post media by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication.—Ed.
Question: Mr. President, first of all, we express our gratitude to you for agreeing to give an interview to our newspaper. As it is well-known, in the past five years, the large-scale democratic transformations have been taking place in our country. The “New Uzbekistan” concept is becoming a reality. In what exactly do you, as the Head of the State, the initiator of these socio-political processes and the leader-reformer at their center, first of all see the essence of these reforms?
Answer: It should be noted first and foremost that any nation, any people with the great goal of building a free and just life of a just society in its country, is going through a difficult, thorny and complex path of development.
The Uzbek people, always looking at the future with great hope and confidence, living and patiently overcoming all challenges, on August 31, 1991, realized their sacred dream--our dear Motherland gained independence.
In a few days, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of this significant date.
On the eve of this glorious holiday, the big preparations are underway in our country. The large-scale creative and improvement work is being carried out on the ground. In particular, the “New Uzbekistan” park and a unique Сomplex of Independence are being built on a vast territory of more than 100 hectares of land adjacent to the capital. If all goes well, this year we will celebrate our greatest, the most valuable holiday in this new square.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan: “The Uzbek people, always looking at the future with great hope and confidence, living and patiently overcoming all challenges, on August 31, 1991, realized their sacred dream--our dear Motherland gained independence.”
Undoubtedly, during the years of independence, our country has made historical efforts to build a new state and society, as well as high milestones have been reached thanks to a resolute will and enormous potential of our courageous and noble people. In a historically short period of time, our Main Law, the Constitution, was drafted and adopted. Our country as a sovereign state has taken a worthy place in the world community. The foundations of modern statehood have been laid and the constitutional system of Uzbekistan has been established. Three independent branches of government--legislative, executive and judicial--were created. A truly constitutional state has been built.
The Armed Forces that are able to reliably protect the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the inviolability of our borders, the peaceful life of our people and our national interests have been organized. The national currency--the Uzbek Soum has been introduced. The Gold and Foreign Exchange Reserves were formed.
Our ancient history, rich cultural heritage, national and religious values and our identity have been restored.
I am delighted that I had the opportunity to take an active part in such unforgettable historical processes.
It should be noted that along with profound achievements in independent development, our path has not been without some mistakes and shortcomings. The processes themselves, aimed at abandoning the totalitarian regime and building a democratic society, at that difficult and alarming time sharply posed various problems and tasks for us. There were cases when our knowledge and experience, will and firmness have been sufficient and sometimes not sufficient to meet these challenges successfully.
Therefore, revival of our country’s development to a new, higher level, the implementation of the new reforms for this purpose have become an objective necessity, a major strategic task.
By the way, the word “new” has a special meaning for us. Let us remember, for instance, that one of our the most ancient holidays is called Navruz--the New Day. The values and traditions associated with this ancient holiday are so rooted in our lives that for centuries our people have lived with a fervent hope and dream that, as the great poet and thinker Alisher Navoi said, “Our every day was like Navruz”.
Yet, we are well-aware that at the beginning of the last century, our ancestors with the ideas of patriotism and national progress, boldly entered the arena of struggle under the flag of Jadidism--the movement for renewal and freedom, justice and equality, science and enlightenment, as well as national identity. The goal of these great people was to lead the people of Turkestan, who were trapped in a pool of ignorance and backwardness, on the path of universal development, equipping them with secular science and advanced professions.
The new type of schools, theaters, libraries and museums, newspapers and magazines founded by the Jadids, as well as the charitable societies for sending Turkestan children to study abroad, awakened our people from age-old ignorance and gave them unprecedented strength for the national liberation movement. Unfortunately, the establishment of the Bolshevik dictatorship in our country, the continuation of the tsarist colonial policy in the new formation did not allow our enlightened ancestors to fully realize their goals. However, their noble aspirations have been preserved in the blood and historical memory of our people and they are still alive.
Therefore, it would not be a mistake to say that the idea of “New Uzbekistan”, which has taken a deep place in the hearts of our people and today becomes a national movement, is based on the dreams and aspirations of our great ancestors, through whose efforts the first and then, the second era of Renaissance began in our national history.
The history of mankind shows that the processes of spiritual awakening in the life of any people lead to an awareness of national identity and raise the economic and the cultural development of the country to a new level. We all know that such a unique social phenomenon is called “Renaissance”, which means awakening, rebirth and elevation.
As it is well-known that the territory of modern Uzbekistan in the ancient times was the cradle of two great renaissance epochs--the First (enlightenment--IX-XII centuries) and the Second (Temurid--XIV-XV centuries) Renaissance. This is a historical fact, which was proven and recognized by the world science.
Currently, another important process of revival is taking place in our country. Therefore, the words “New Uzbekistan” and “Third Renaissance” harmoniously resonate with our life and inspire our people to great goals.
Today, Uzbekistan is becoming a country of democratic transformations, big opportunities and practical deeds. For me, this process is the greatest result of our reforms. After all, the clarity of the goal is the most important criterion that ensures the effectiveness of actions.
If we briefly describe the true essence and idea of the Action Strategy adopted by us five years ago, then in this unique document we have set ourselves the strategic goal of building a New Uzbekistan and laying the foundations for the Third Renaissance.
It should be noted that the building a New Uzbekistan is not a whim, not a subjective phenomenon, but an objective necessity, which has its own fundamental historical foundations, due to the current political, legal, socio-economic, spiritual and educational situation, based on the centuries-long aspirations of our people and fully conforming to their national interests.
The New Uzbekistan is a state, developing in strict compliance with the universally recognized norms in the field of democracy, human rights and freedoms, on the basis of the principles of friendship and cooperation with the international community, the ultimate aim of which is to create a free, comfortable and prosperous life for our people.
I do not want to make a long speech about the results, that we have achieved in a historically short period of time as a consequence of reforms. The opinions of the distinguished statesmen and politicians, experts and analysts on this topic are regularly being published in the national and foreign mass media.
Such impartial assessments make all of us delighted. At the same time, I want to emphasize that we are carrying out these democratic transformations not in order to please someone, not for someone’s praise, not to get into various ratings, but because the democratic processes are vital to us, we implement them for the benefit of our people, primarily, thinking about the present and the future of our young generation, for the sake of national interests.
We, the citizens of Uzbekistan, more than anyone else, feel the rapid changes in the political, legal, socio-economic image of our country, the fact that the new relations, the new opportunities and values are being formed in our life. It is noteworthy that today such fundamental democratic concepts and phenomena as “human rights and freedoms”, “rule of law”, “openness and transparency”, “freedom of speech”, “freedom of religion and belief”, “public control”, “gender equality”, “inviolability of private property”, “freedom of economic activity” are becoming an integral part of our life.
We must explicitly recognize the fact that over time, the reform process is only expanding and the fleeting time sets even more ambitious tasks for us. The life teaches us a lot. Therefore, we are in constant search, and where is a search, there, along with success, deficiencies and shortcomings happen, as well.
The most important thing is as said: “Fortune favors the brave”, we have overcome the most difficult stage, that is, we have clearly charted our path and embarked upon a considerable work. Now the task is to resolutely pursue the path of reforms and bring it to its logical conclusion. Certainly, it is not an easy task, but we are capable of it. It is important that in recent years a sufficient political, legal, socio-economic, organizational and institutional framework have been created to fulfill such a huge and challenging task.
Q: In the process of political, legal, socio-economic, spiritual and educational reforms being carried out in our country, the priority is given to the implementation of an important constitutional principle, according to which “It is not the people who serve the state bodies, but the state bodies must serve the people”. Why?
A: For many years, I have served in the positions of responsibility at all levels of government, from the lowest to the highest levels. I was also a Deputy of the Oliy Majlis (the national parliament). Therefore, I can say with complete confidence that I, more than anyone else, know from the inside all the shortcomings and flaws of the old government system and problems that concern the population, even, how things are at the grassroots level.
The wise words “Justice is the basis of the state and the motto of the rulers”, inscribed on the portal of the residence of our great ancestor Amir Temur--the Oqsaroy Palace in Shakhrisabz, carry a very deep meaning.
As you know, our ancestors from time immemorial instructed the younger generation: “Do not do evil. Build a temple of justice and fairness in your heart and soul of the people”. We have followed these simple and vital requirements in reforming the judicial and legal system. In particular, we put forward and began to implement the idea that there should be only one goal in the mind of a judge--justice, in the mouth--truth, in the soul--purity.
It should be noted that for a long time the state and the authorities were cut off from the life of the people.
From a political and legal point of view, the state is defined as “the body that expresses the will of the people”. Who does form the state? The people and their plenipotentiaries. So to who, then, should serve the state and its bodies in the first place? Certainly, to the people, citizens who voted for the officials and expressed confidence in them.
In this sense, our people have every right and deserve to be satisfied with the service of the state.
Only state power based on such principles is truly a people’s democratic authority. The political and legal, social and economic, spiritual and educational roots of such a state and society will be strong and powerful. Therefore, we have set the main goal of all our reforms as to alleviate the concerns of our people, timely and effective tackle their problems, as well as improve their living and quality standards.
I believe it is not difficult to understand that this was the aspiration that served as the basis for declaring the 2017 in our country as the Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests, which was the year when I began my activity as the Head of the State.
Certainly, it is too early to say that we have completely changed the old system and achieved our goal. I repeat, we are in search every day. We are just taking the first steps on this path. However, those who say that these changes are just a temporary campaign that will pass and be forgotten are mistaken. This is one of the priorities of the long-term, pragmatic, people-focused policy pursued by the President and his team. And together with our people, we will definitely accomplish it and we will never draw back.
Actually, the fact that our democratic reforms have become irreversible is the most important result we have achieved today.
The openness and transparency in the activities of the state bodies in our country are expanding. The senators and deputies, ministers and khokims (governors and mayors), officials of all levels are meeting face-to-face with citizens and seriously engaged in solvingtheir problems not just on paper but in practice. That is, the bodies of state power have opened up to the people, to every citizen and are actively engaged in a dialogue with them.
We have freely admitted the existence of problems in our lives with forced labor, especially among children, unemployment, poverty, corruption, housing, education and health, and we are addressing them along with our general public.
Today, the people have a growing belief in justice and truth. They impartially assess the work of the leaders and officials at various levels, openly criticize their shortcomings. This is very important for our development. Since, as our famous poet Erkin Vakhidov said: “A bitter truth is better than a sweet lie”.
Today, the people are awakening. The society is awakening. Without a doubt, a society, in which the sense of civil liability is ever awake, is a powerful force.
Tell me, was it possible to imagine such results a few years ago? Certainly, not. Therefore, there is every reason to say that today’s Uzbekistan is not Uzbekistan from the past and our people are no longer the same as they were in the past.
Along with this, we must not forget another truth: today’s Uzbekistan is not Uzbekistan that we dream about. We still have a long and thorny way to go. Before, our path was not easy, and after it will not be easy, as well. However, we should not be afraid to move forward boldly, to make the unconventional unexpected decisions if it is necessary, the end result of which is effective and goes in the interests of our people.
Recently we have made very important decisions on many issues, including such obsolete procedures as “registration”, “sticker” for travelling abroad, forced labor, public orders for cotton and grain.
Simply said, this did not make the sky to fall to the ground. On the contrary, the bureaucracy, abuse of official position, extortion, the life of our society has become more free, people are “breathing easier”. Both our people and the international community have appreciated our steps.
The New Uzbekistan is, primarily, is the new economic relations, the new economic vision. The economic system of our country is being completely restructured and if it is even difficult, we have begun to put into practice the market mechanisms.
Today, such problems as cashing in of money from debit cards through the ATMs, various rates of the national currency on the “black market” and in banks, buying foreign currency, acquisition of citizenship, acquisition and registration of housing and property in any region of Uzbekistan are things of the past.
The reforms have a positive effect on the interests of all segments of the population: the entrepreneurs are gaining freedom and the new opportunities to develop their businesses, peasants and farming enterprises, the clusters are becoming the owners of the crops they have been growing. Although under the previous Soviet regime, we had no right to take a step without an order from the “above”. It got to the point that we planted cotton on the roofs of our houses, but our welfare did not improve at all. The schoolchildren were herded into cotton fields. As our beloved poet, Abdulla Aripov once wrote with a deep pain and regret: “The Uzbeks were scattered over millions of furrows”, for a hundred years we bent over to pick cotton.
Until recently, about 6-7 million people were forced to participate in the cotton harvest every year. It has been three years since they have stopped doing it. No matter how difficult it may be, we have introduced the proven and effective market economy methods in this area, including the cluster system. With the help of clusters, we strive to receive from each hectare 50 centners of cotton and 100 centners of grain, and we will definitely achieve these goals.
Unfortunately, the acute problems that needed an urgent solution have been accumulated in other areas, as well. We could imagine that this is the order of things, i.e. not to notice and ignore the problems. However, this would be a betrayal, both in relation to ourselves and in relation to our people, to the future.
I want to state explicitly: by nature, I am a person who absolutely does not tolerate falsehood. Our people have laid a trust in me and to justify this high trust, to create the decent living conditions for the people are the meaning and purpose of my life. Since I have taken responsibility for the destiny of millions of people, I cannot go the other way and leave everything as it was before.
I repeat once again: we must complete the work before us by ourselves, with our strength, for no one will come from outside and solve any problem for us.
Q: What are the highest priority tasks we face at the current stage of development of our country?
A: I spoke about this in detail in my Address to the Oliy Majlis (the national parliament) in December last year. Therefore, I will answer your question briefly.
The first priority task: social policy is one of the most important priorities of the state policy in our country and will remain so in the future.
Today, the most important areas of our economic strategy are a comprehensive increase in the well-being and living standards of people, which demands the creation of new jobs, sources of income, poverty reduction, and the development of our villages and cities.
A completely new and unique system for solving social problems has been created in our country. You, the journalists, are well aware of this. That is the reason why we have recently introduced such practices as “iron book”, “women’s book”, “youth book”, “makhallabay” (meaningfully, each community residential area--‘one by one’) and “khonadonbay” (meaningfully, each house--‘one by one’). Proceeding from this, the problems are thoroughly studied on the spot, not based on some abstract indicators, but taking into consideration the problems of each family and citizen, women and youth who need help and support, thus we tackle them timely and effectively.
Our noble values--the support for the elderly, disabled people, people in challenging situations, giving them attention and care--today have a new substance, practical actions. In this regard, such programs as “Obod Qishloq” (‘Prosperous village’) and “Obod Makhalla” (‘Prosperous Community’), “Five important initiatives”, “Every family is an entrepreneur”, “Youth is our future” shows especially positive results.
In the framework of the “Obod Qishloq” and “Obod Makhalla” programs alone, in 2021, the construction, repair and improvement works for 20,8 trillion Uzbek soums will be carried out in 7 794 villages and makhallas (the local neighborhood community area) of all cities and regions. It should be noted that such funds have never been allocated for the improvement of villages and makhallas, and most importantly, their development has not been given serious attention in the history of our country.
To carry out such a large-scale work, executives do not sit in their comfortable offices, but work directly on the “ground”, at the level of the makhalla.
The fact that the social support is targeted allows everyone in need to receive the assistance according to his or her real needs. At the same time, we attach a particular importance to ensure that nobody of this category is left out.
The proposals and initiatives continue to come from not only the higher, but more from the lower levels. The interaction of the lower, middle and higher levels of power gives a good effect in their implementation. On this basis, the social landscape of our society is completely changing, the efficiency of management is increasing, and most importantly, people’s confidence in life, work, in their destiny and future is growing.
I consider such changes to be the main qualitative indicators of the development of society.
Certainly, there are still some shortcomings and weaknesses in the social protection system. We will gradually eliminate them, improve this system until it reaches a satisfactory level in all respects, until all the vital forces of society rally around this goal.
When implementing the systematic measures aimed at direct and targeted material support of low-income citizens, the main emphasis is placed not on subsidizing the poor, but on creating the necessary conditions and opportunities for them to earn income.
The second priority task: the identification of growth points in the field of economic development and giving them a special attention, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the economy of the New Uzbekistan are of high importance.
For example, the textile industry, which is very important to us. Our enterprises will be able to compete with manufacturers from leading countries only if they fully master all technological processes from cotton cultivation to its extensive processing, to the production of the final product, and dramatically increase exports and profits.
In order for the rich raw materials and mineral resources of our Motherland to work for the benefit of our people, the highly efficient production facilities based on the modern technologies are being created. Owing to our efforts, in recent years, such large and unique facilities as the Kandym Gas Processing Complex, the Tashkent Metallurgical Plant have been launched, and along with these, the Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Plant and the Uzbek Metallurgical Plant have been expanded. As a continuation of this work, as you know, in cooperation with leading foreign companies, the construction work of a new copper-enrichment factory at the Almalyk Mining and Metallurgy Plant for $2 billion has begun.
In the process of privatization, which is of a particular importance in the modernization and diversification of our economy, not only do we give a priority to the sale of state-owned enterprises, but also apply completely new approaches that serve to increase their competitiveness and strengthen our national economic interests. It is of a paramount importance to create the guarantees to ensure transparency and efficiency of the sale of state assets, as well as broad public participation in this process.
The third priority task: under current conditions of global pandemic, we see our main goals as protecting public health and preventing entrepreneurship from being left alone with its problems. Since, there are jobs, family incomes, their current and future life in every business structure.
The number of small businesses and private entrepreneurship in the New Uzbekistan has more than doubled in recent years. More than 50% of these enterprises were established only in the last three years. Moreover, this serves as a solid foundation for strengthening an important social layer--the middle class in our country.
Therefore, the support for business, protection of entrepreneurship and private property remain the main issue of all the economic reforms. The entrepreneurs have heard many beautiful words about their support, now it is necessary to make them feel the practical effect and results of these words in their daily activities.
Gone are the days when business was remembered only when it came to paying taxes and inspections. So, we have done a lot to optimize the tax legislation, however, there are still challenging tasks ahead, and we will definitely realize them.
There are still cases when some local authorities interfere in the work of entrepreneurs, put pressure on them, using the “telephone right”. This must be admitted. We are working to finally eradicate such problems. If we do not support the entrepreneurs, create favorable conditions for them, increase the number of private enterprises, the local budgets of cities and districts will remain insolvent.
All of us should deeply realize that supporting entrepreneurship is the most effective way to improve the well-being of citizens, our people, and at the same time, it is the ultimate goal of building the New Uzbekistan.
I am confident that further liberalization of the life of our country, further promotion of openness and transparency, expansion of public control will play an important role in eliminating the existing shortcomings and deficiencies in this area.
The fourth priority task: the pandemic has coincided with a period of fundamental changes in the agriculture. It has made it clear that ensuring the food security and developing the agricultural sector in accordance with the modern requirements is becoming the most topical task for all mankind, including us.
Our country has enormous potential, experience and traditions in the sphere of agriculture. However, there have been no market approaches and financial incentives, sufficient funds and scientific innovations have not been attracted for the development of the industry for a long time. As a result, the soil degraded and the fertility of the land declined.
Imagine that during the years of independence, that is, over the past 30 years, the population of Uzbekistan has increased by 15 million people. This is the population of one average country. Moreover, over time, as life changes, consumer demand and people’s demands grow. And certainly, the land and water resources do not get more. These resources are limited not only to us but throughout the world. Henceforth, we must build up our intellectual potential, knowledge, and experience, turn these factors into points of economic growth and a resource of development.
How can this be achieved? Certainly, through the knowledge and experience, constant self-improvement, research, the desire for innovation, the introduction of high technologies and effective implementation of reforms.
Therefore, we have begun a comprehensive and systematic transformation of the agricultural sector. Our main goal is to make this industry to be one of the main drivers of the economy. For this purpose, the Agriculture Development Strategy for 2020-2030 clearly defines the main objectives of the industry development. In particular, a plan is envisaged for the accelerated development of agriculture, the food sector and villages in the coming decade.
The important steps are being taken to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the agricultural sector by organizing work on a completely new basis, creating thousands of new jobs in this area, and improving the standard of living in rural areas.
The fifth priority is to protect the health and life of our people during the pandemic. For this, a reserve of 3 trillion Uzbek soums was formed in the state budget for 2021. With these funds, many measures are being taken in the field of medicine, including vaccination of the population from coronavirus.
A special attention is being paid to the expansion of remote services in all medical institutions, the transition of clinics and hospitals to electronic office management, the introduction of telemedicine between specialized medical centers and their branches, and further expansion of diagnostic and treatment capabilities in the field.
The measures are being taken to strengthen the primary healthcare system, especially the quality of healthcare in rural areas and makhallas (the local neighborhood community areas). In particular, instead of a general practitioner, the medical teams consisting of a family doctor and 5 middle-class medical workers are introduced in the primary sector.
Despite the extensive conditions created in our country for opening private clinics, there is a shortage of medical organizations providing hemodialysis, diagnosis and rehabilitation services. In this regard, a practical work has begun to increase the number of public-private partnership projects, provide 170 district and city medical associations with computer homographs, and improve the skills of staff in their use.
Another challenge in the sphere of medicine is the lack of highly qualified personnel. Therefore, from the new school year, the quota for admission to clinical residency will be doubled. The regional khokimiyats (the governor’s offices) will allocate subsidies from the local budget for the training of specialists in demand in their region.
We have also started to develop a legal framework for human organ transplantation operations in our country. Due to the lack of regulatory framework in this area, transplantation was not previously permitted unless the donor was a close relative of the patient. Many of our citizens went abroad for such operations, and those who did not have such an opportunity were in a hopeless situation.
One of the problems that worry us most is corruption in the health sector. In the last year alone, more than 30 billion Uzbek soums were plundered in the system. The perpetrators were brought to justice. Therefore, a serious attention is paid to the creation of an effective control system in this area, first of all, to strengthening public control.
Improving medical culture, widely affirming the principles of a healthy lifestyle is an urgent task not only for the medical sphere but also for our society as a whole. Everyone should, firstly, think and take care of their health. This is especially important today, as the coronavirus pandemic continues throughout the world, including in our country.
Therefore, we have no right to succumb to indifference and carelessness. The coronavirus is still among us. In this context, our country has formed a sufficient reserve of hospital beds, medicaments and protective equipment. The work is underway to launch 60 oxygen stations in the regions and ensure the uninterrupted oxygen supply to the critical care and intensive care units. The practical work has begun on the production of vaccines in our country.
Since April 1 this year, the vaccination of our population against coronavirus has started and is ongoing.
Taking this opportunity, I once again call on our compatriots to take responsibility for their health and take an active part in vaccination activities against this dangerous disease.
The sixth priority task: we strive to strengthen the spiritual and educational work in the new conditions. This approach is a solid foundation for our current and future development.
In this regard, the construction of the New Uzbekistan means an in-depth study of our recent and distant history, our unique cultural wealth and, relying on this, continue our path of independent national development at a new stage.
Certainly, our people are well aware of the work that we have been carrying out over the recent years in the cultural and humanitarian fields--to promote the culture, cinema, dance and fine arts, literature and book-reading. In particular, the organization and holding of International Festivals of Maqom Art (the Uzbek national classical combination of music and song), Bakhshi Art (Bakhshi is a narrator of folk epic, who combines in himself the art of story-telling, music, singing and acting skills) and handicrafts at the top-level played an important role in promoting the New Uzbekistan in the world.
Today, for an objective and unbiased study of our national history, there are the Cultural Values Research Center of Uzbekistan located abroad, the Center of the New History of Uzbekistan at the Academy of Sciences, and the “O’zbekiston tarixi” (‘The History of Uzbekistan’) TV Channel.
With the aim of study and popularization of the religious and scientific-spiritual heritage of our great muhaddith-ancestors (‘the Hadith Scholars’) , who made immense contributions to the development of Islamic civilization, the International Research Centers of Imam Bukhari in Samarkand and Imam Termiziy in Surkhandarya, as well as the International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan in Tashkent and the Imam Maturidi International Research Center are operating.
The Center for Islamic Civilization, which is being constructed in Tashkent, will play an important role in an in-depth study and international promotion of the rich religious and spiritual heritage of our people, as well as educating the young generation in the spirit of national and universal values.
In view of the growing role and influence of spiritual and educational work in the current difficult and rapidly changing times, we are paying a special attention to further strengthening our activities in this direction. The Presidential Decrees adopted in March this year “On the Establishment of the Trust Fund to Support the Spheres of Spirituality and Creativity” and “On Measures to Radically Improve the System of Spiritual and Educational Work” are aimed at effectively solving problems in this area.
At the distinguished international and regional organizations, the New Uzbekistan confidently puts forward initiatives in all areas, including spiritual and educational issues. Thus, the initiative put forward by our country at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly to adopt the Resolution “Enlightenment and Religious Tolerance” received broad support from the international community. It should be noted that this resolution was recently adopted.
Along with this, at the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States Summit, which was held in the videoconference format, another important initiative of our country was adopted--on the establishment of an Alisher Navoi International Turkic Council Award. This award will encourage the distinguished figures who have made a huge contribution to the development of science, education, culture and art, as well as the cohesion of the Turkic world. For us, this as an expression of high respect for our ancestor Alisher Navoi, of whom all Turkic peoples are proud, and for our people, who have nurtured such great personalities.
Q: In the course of building the New Uzbekistan, a special attention is paid to foreign policy, the development of friendly cooperation with neighboring and other countries. What are the interconnectedness and harmony of domestic and foreign policies in this direction?
A: First of all, it should be noted that from the early days since our country has embarked upon the new era, we attach a priority importance to the implementation of an open, pragmatic and constructive foreign policy, strengthening close friendly relations and cooperation with all progressive countries of the world, especially with neighbouring states. Uzbekistan has been and remains committed to this strategic course and fully accomplishes its obligations to its partners and international organizations.
Over the past short time in historical terms, the political role and status of our country in the Central Asian region and in the international arena have increased significantly. The spirit of trust in Uzbekistan and the desire for cooperation with our country have increased in the world.
First, the problems accumulated over the years in our relations with neighboring countries have been resolved. The borders were opened. The broken bonds between the neighbors, brothers, a father and a son, relatives were restored. The people began traveling freely from one country to another. The visa issues have been resolved. The trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties are developing at an accelerated pace.
Our countries, since the ancient times linked by the ties of friendship and fraternity, have started to closely cooperate on the regional and global issues, the socio-economic development. The term “the Central Asian spirit” has appeared in the world political science.
The regular Consultative Meeting of the Heads of the Central Asian States, which took place on August 5-6 this year in Turkmenistan, filled this process with new substance.
These examples alone show how interconnected and consonant domestic and foreign policies are. The main thing is that such harmony in domestic and foreign policy is realized in the name of the interests of our people, the results of which are felt by ordinary citizens in their lives and destiny.
Another aspect is that Uzbekistan today, with its far-sighted policy, has become an active participant in the political processes in our region and in the world. Our cooperation with the United Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Islamic Cooperation Organization and other international and regional organizations has risen to a new level.
Our country became a member of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States, gained an observer status at the Eurasian Economic Union. For the first time in its history, Uzbekistan was elected a member of the UN Human Rights Council and has successfully participated at its 46th session held in Geneva on February 22, 2021, via videoconference.
Last year, our country chaired the Commonwealth of Independent States for the first time and, despite the pandemic, all international events envisaged within the CIS were successfully held. About 70 important documents were adopted.
Uzbekistan is playing an increasingly important role in enhancing the processes of integration and cooperation. At the international conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities”, our country has advanced the new proposals and initiatives, which aroused interest not only in the states of these regions, but also in the world community. In particular, the issues of creating new transport corridors connecting Central Asia with the Indian Ocean were discussed. The conference has once again demonstrated the “Tashkent spirit” of cooperation.
Currently, the Foreign Policy Concept of the Republic of Uzbekistan is being improved. This important document pays a special attention to strengthening the centuries-long ties of friendship and good-neighborliness, strategic partnership and mutual trust. The multifaceted and mutually beneficial relations with the main foreign partners of Uzbekistan such as Russia, China, the United States of America, Turkey, Germany, France, the Great Britain, South Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and other states are further expanding.
Uzbekistan, as the closest neighbor of Afghanistan, is interested in the early establishment of peace and stability in this country. As it is well known, Uzbekistan will chair the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2021-2022. Thorough preparations are underway for this important high-level political event.
In order to support our compatriots in many countries in the world and further strengthen ties with them, the “Vatandoshlar” (‘Compatriots’) Foundation was established.
Our work to strengthen the interethnic accord and magnanimity is taken to a qualitatively new level. July 30, annually celebrated as the International Day of Friendship, is declared the Peoples’ Friendship Day in Uzbekistan. This year, it was widely celebrated in our country for the first time. This can also be called an event that brings together the internal and external political factors.
As in the rest of the world, Uzbekistan pays a serious attention to addressing environmental problems. In cooperation with neighboring states and the international community, we are resolutely continuing our actions to mitigate the impact of environmental disasters resulting from the destruction of the Aral Sea. On a thousand hectares of the dried bottom of the sea, the forests and shrubs are being created. An important role in this is played by the activities of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Human Security for the Aral Sea Region in Uzbekistan, jointly created with the United Nations.
As far as it is concerned, it is appropriate to recall the major initiative of Uzbekistan on the adoption of a special resolution of the UN General Assembly on declaring the Aral Sea Region a zone of environmental innovations and technologies, which was unanimously approved by the Assembly on May 18, 2021. The countries such as the United States, Russia, China, Turkey and Azerbaijan took part in the development of this resolution, in all 50 countries acted as its co-authors, which indicates that this initiative has aroused enormous interest in the world community.
Q: As it is well-known, the efficiency of reforms mostly depends on the knowledge and experience, political consciousness and awareness of the managing cadres, and khokims (governors and mayors) in particular. From this point of view, does the activities of khokims, who are the representatives of the President on the ground, satisfy You?
A: I have also spoken about it in particular in my Address to the Oliy Majlis last year. This complex question utterly concerns me--the lack of knowledge and experience, organizational abilities and the feeling of responsibility for the people’s cause is being observed not only in khokims, but also the leaders of various level and the status.
You are right, the effective implementation of the reforms on the ground, firstly, depends on the khokims, on their experience and knowledge, organizational abilities. Most important is that they must gain the trust of the people. The population assesses the state power proceeding from the activities of the heads at the local level, their working culture and ways to converse, political, legal and moral level. However, frankly speaking, not all of the khokims and not all of the low-level managers as a whole enjoy the due level of authority among the people.
Unfortunately, the task of working in the immediate contact with the people is of a low-priority for many heads at the local level. Therefore, they are ending up being shortsighted and unfit.
Yet in fact, the first and foremost, as well as a sacred duty for each leader must become the task to live with the people’s problems and concerns in their minds. What does the leadership culture, the lifetime experience and knowledge of a leader start from? It does start from the immediate contacts with the people. If the leaders, and especially, those at a low level, won’t change their worldview, won’t become the assistants, the friends of ordinary citizens and entrepreneurs, whatever we do, how much strength and means we channel, whatever decrees and resolutions we adopt, whatever conditions we create for them,--it will be difficult to achieve progress at the local level.
It should be admitted--we are living in extremely difficult and uneasy time, in the epoch of toughest competition. The world is changing rapidly to an extent that yesterday’s political and economic analyses and prognoses are now losing their topicality. The standoffs, the trade wars and the ecological problems are exacerbating. The officials, who in these complex conditions do not comprehend the necessity to live alongside the people, their concerns and needs, do not comprehend the simple truths put forward by life, do not have a future as leaders. They cannot be trusted any responsible task.
At some time back I have also served as a khokim. The conditions of those times cannot be in any way compared to the current ones. In many issues we were the powerless. Everything was addressed depending on the mood of the higher leadership. The saddest thing about it was that the decisions on the problems of lower level were taken by the managers who used to sit back in their air conditioned offices, for whom the problems and concerns of the people residing in tough conditions in the villages or auls had been totally strange. They were incapable to even comprehend the real situation on the ground.
At present, the khokims have the powers to make decisions on their own and set up the work on their own. They are no longer required, as it was before, to seek endorsement for every action from Tashkent and the officials at the head offices.
If a khokim as a manager, as a human being does not know something or has made a mistake, this can be understood. However, if he does not admit his mistakes, does not want to correct them, does not strive to develop, to work anew, to raise his knowledge and experience, and is set after personal interests and indulges in enjoyments, then such a thing cannot be forgiven.
What I ask of them most is that one should understand the people, live with their joys and needs in mind, look at the situation around and assess it from the standpoint of ordinary citizens and not to distance from the people. It is only in this case that the management of the region or a sector, and the decision-making will yield a specific result.
The criteria of activity of each manager is to set as his major priority the dreams and aspirations and their consistent implementation.
I am getting pleased that among the khokims and ministers, the company and bank managers there are many active representatives of the new generation who know the business and think broad. They go for an open dialogue with people. They do not wait for instructions from above. They are doing their work on their own and in a confident manner.
Unfortunately, some leaders and responsible executives are so much self-opinioned that they do not notice the way how they have distanced themselves from the people. Certainly, we cannot tolerate such leaders. This is not only a demand of the President, but also the entire people. This is an imperative of the time.
Q: You always highlight that direct dialogue with the people is extremely important for the Head of State. However, is there a real opportunity to talk with the people on all of the issues, to get their feedback? How do you manage to fill this “vacuum”?
A: From the early days in office as the President, I have seriously warned my team that I do not like the tumid words and “beautiful” numbers that have nothing to do with reality.
No matter how bitter and inconvenient it may be, I want to know only reliable and correct information. It helps me to make the right decisions.
Certainly, not everyone has fully understood this requirement. There are the attempts to report to me in the same old way. However, I try to avoid such situations. We said goodbye to many, who did not realize this truth, and in this matter the demand will always be strict.
This is also required by the process of reforms aimed at ensuring the interests of our Homeland, the future of society, the happiness of our children. We have no right to do otherwise.
I reiterate once again: if one of the leaders and responsible executives does not understand this, no matter how difficult it is, we will have to part with them.
The key objective of my every trip around the country is to learn about how people live, what are their concerns. It is vital. Therefore, during the trip, we change the route unexpectedly. I believe that these unscheduled “visits”, not mentioned in the protocols, will teach the leaders not to relax, to maintain a working spirit.
Unfortunately, in spite of my repeated remarks and warnings, on the ground, only prior to my arrival they begin to improve the streets and squares, create “lawns” and “flower gardens” in one night, in general, the practice of embellishing the reality continues. Over the years, the eyewash, oppression of people, bravado and magniloquence have soaked into the blood of some leaders that it is difficult to eradicate these vices. However, we must put an end to them, completely. Since, this is completely contrary to the nature of our people, which does not accept lies and falsehood.
The work of local authorities should not end after the completion of the President’s trip. Instead, the work should be started all over again, on an even larger scale than before. Only in this case we will achieve the necessary dynamics and quality. We will become result-oriented. Previously, the khokims (governors and mayors) lived carefree, from visit to visit, one might say, they just had a rest, now they have specific goals and objectives. They work, consulting with the people. Since, they know: during his next visit, the President will definitely ask about the results on each issue.
At a new stage in the development of the country, in order to solve the outlined urgent tasks, we attach a particular importance to strengthening the personal responsibility of deputy heads of ministries, the state committees, government bodies and business associations, as well as introducing a new system to improve the efficiency of their activities. We have adopted a special resolution in this direction.
It was identified that the deputy heads of these categories are personally responsible to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the effectiveness of activities in the areas and sectors, which were assigned to them and report to the Cabinet of Ministers. In other words, the time has passed when the deputy chiefs of various levels hide behind the backs of their chiefs. Now they will also be responsible for the specific tasks. A personal responsibility will be the main criterion for employees of all the administrative departments.
Currently, a special attention is paid to the solution of the problems of the population on the ground, in the makhalla (the local neighborhood community area) itself. The khokims (governors) of regions, districts and cities allocate two days a week to receive citizens. The daily reception system is also being established.
In general, the office of each khokim (governor and mayor) must turn into a “the people’s reception”. Only in this way each executive will be fully informed about the true state of affairs and achieve efficiency in work.
Now, of course, there are many open sources, information networks that help to learn about the people’s problems. Especially television, the press and the Internet make it possible to feel the breath of life, the pulse of every sphere. Personally, I try to get acquainted with topical opinions, events which are becoming the focus of public attention through the news in the mass media and social networks as far as possible.
In a word, it is impossible to break away from the real life during the development of the modern information technologies. Nevertheless, I consider it necessary to have a direct dialogue with the people in any format, for example, during a planned event or an unplanned visit to a makhalla (the local neighborhood community area), district or an institution.
All the problems that are the subject of the active discussion by citizens and the public require attention. Moreover, they should not be ignored. Certainly, it is unacceptable to turn a blind eye to the violations of the law, injustice in society, violation of human rights, the situations which are related to the corruption. It does not matter whether the problems are systemic or minor. Each of them requires a response, study and solution.
For example, in recent years, a sustained effort has been made to combat the corruption--an illness which is hindered the country’s development in the era of the fundamental reforms. Let me give an example. In 2020, 1,723 officials of the different levels were brought to the criminal liability for the committed crimes. The damage was amounted to 500 billion Uzbek soums. Moreover, for five months of 2021, the criminal cases have been launched against 1,696 officials, the damage by whom amounted to 450 billion Uzbek soums.
Certainly, the material damage will be recovered from the perpetrators. The policy of eradicating corruption from the society will be resolutely continued in the future.
Q: A profound attention is being paid in the country to the topical and vitally important issue for the population--the construction of housing, and particularly, the accessible housing. What will be the scale of this work in the future?
A: We can speak with full confidence that for over the last years the new epoch of modern housing construction has begun in the country. This is confirmed by the growth in the number of housing in the last four years to 4-5 times as compared to the previous period, as well as the large-scale work being carried out this year, which aims to provide 54 thousand families with housing in the current year.
The tasks and reforms aimed at achieving the good objective, which we have set before us, and that is to say--to make people happy, require of us to stir up the pace and increase the quality of housing construction.
It is worth a special mentioning that before such a broad approach towards the construction, which corresponds to the modern requirements of housing, was not applied and this work did not have such a scale.
We are making the first steps in this direction and gaining experience. There is a housing construction in all of the regions with all modern amenities. The mortgage market is on the rise. The new concepts are being introduced into life--”accessible housing”, “smart house”, “smart city” and “digital services”.
In the days to come we need to take a housing stock to such a level so that all layers of the population could be able to acquire housing on their preferences.
Certainly, there are still problems pertaining in this direction and we are addressing them with the bodies of governance at the local level.
For instance, the people are getting displeased of the case of construction at a free space in-between the many-storey buildings and cutting off the trees in spite of the moratorium as well as reduction in the land territories. Due to carelessness or greed of some executives, there are no more resting places for the people being left on the territories of residential areas to go in for sports and taking walks on a clean air with children.
Certainly, we cannot but react and take strict measures towards such cases. Therefore, the measures are being taken in Tashkent and other cities to ensure that the construction be undertaken beyond the limits of a city. It is not allowed for construction of new buildings in the residential areas without modernization of the public utilities infrastructure--the gas pipelines, power-lines, water pipelines and the sewage systems.
Q: The necessary conditions are being created in the country to ensure the youth rights and interests, so that they can be educated, work, demonstrate their knowledge and abilities. One of the practical demonstrations of this was the announcement of 2021 as the Year of Supporting Youth and Strengthening Public Health. What do You think is the role and main tasks of the youth in the process of building the New Uzbekistan?
A: The youth is the nation’s hope and support. The young people act as a decisive force in the effective implementation of the large-scale reforms. The youth with modern knowledge, demanded professions, the knowledge of foreign languages and innovative technologies play a leading role in the further development of the country.
As it is well-known, the young people tend to think in a new way, confidently come up with new ideas and implement them, take a creative and unconventional approach to a problem solving. Therefore, today we attach a priority importance to training representatives of the younger generation, realizing their talent and potential in science, innovation, literature, art, sports, ensuring their active participation in public and political life.
One of the sacred hadiths that collected by Imam Bukhariy states: “A science learned in young age is like a pattern engraved on a stone”.
As history showed, our profound thinkers, following this postulate, made great scientific discoveries and made an invaluable contribution to the development of universal human thought.
In the continuation of these glorious traditions--the upbringing of the followers of Khorezmiy, Ferganiy, Beruniy, Ibn Sino, Mirzo Ulugbek and Navoiy is not only our task but also a sacred duty to history and the future.
We have started an extensive work in this direction. In order to train competitive personnel with in-depth knowledge and high skills, we have increased the number of universities in the country to 141, and opened up branches of 26 foreign higher educational institutions. Meanwhile, in 2016, there were only 77 universities in the country. Almost doubling their number in a short period of time is undoubtedly the result of our efforts to increase the intellectual potential of young people, society, as well as to expand their access to modern knowledge and professions.
Over the past five years, the quotas for admission to higher education institutions have been increased threefold. This year, 182 thousand young people were given the opportunity to become students. This means that the overall educational coverage has reached 28%. Just compare: 4 years ago, this figure was only 9%. An example of practical attention aimed at ensuring the future of our youth is the increase in State scholarships from 21 thousand to 47 thousand. Our last years’ experience was brought to a new stage--in the current academic year, we have allocated 2 thousand scholarships separately for girls from needy families for admission to the institutions of higher learning.
We intend to increase the enrollment rate of school, lyceum and college graduates in higher education to 50% by 2030. We will definitely achieve this.
This year, the “New Uzbekistan University”, which meets the highest international standards, was organized in Tashkent. This university will become a model for all higher education institutions in the country. The most gifted and brightest youth will study here.
We pay a particular attention to the harmonious and balanced development of all stages of the national system of continuous education and upbringing. Over the past four years, the coverage rate of children in the pre-school education has grown from 27.7% to 60%, that is, it has doubled. And the number of kindergartens has tripled and exceeded 14 thousand--these are the results of our reforms.
Currently, our country is undergoing major changes in the school education system based on the idea “The New Uzbekistan starts from the school threshold”. In Tashkent and in the regions, the number of Presidential, creative and specialized schools is growing.
This year alone, in the framework of the “Barkamol Avlod” Centers (‘Harmoniously Developed Generation’) through the Five Important Initiatives Program for the meaningful spending of leisure time 36 thousand educative clubs were additionally organized for the young people, to which about 874 thousand children were attracted. Also, almost 100 thousand musical instruments and sports equipment, computers, about 600 thousand books were delivered to the educational institutions, libraries and training centers.
A particular importance on a national scale is given to the implementation of ideas and initiatives of the younger generation, providing them with jobs and sources of income. Thanks to this care, over the past four years, the number of entrepreneurs under the age of 30 has increased 5 times and exceeded 500 thousand, which undoubtedly plays an important role in the development of this sector. Last year alone, the preferential loans in the amount of 2 trillion 300 billion Uzbek soums were allocated for more than 92 thousand entrepreneurial projects of the youth, which will serve to further expand the ranks of such youth.
At the vocational training courses organized in makhallas (the local community areas), thousands of young men and women study modern professions that are in demand on the labor market.
Beginning this year, based on the possibilities and development directions of a district the allocation of land to young people from 1 ares to 1 hectare of land in rural areas has begun. As a result, more than 230 thousand young people living in the countryside were allocated 61 thousand hectares of land. In addition, 75 thousand hectares of land released from grain were distributed to 170 thousand young people for re-sowing.
The work carried out by us in the framework of the youth programs and the “Youth book” aimed at reducing poverty among the youth and encouraging self-employment is of a profound importance. For the 8 months of this year, funds for 300 billion Uzbek soums were channeled to tackle the problems of 430 thousand young men and women included in the “Youth book”. In particular, the contracts for education of more than 2 thousand students from families included in the “Iron book” have been paid.
From this year, a procedure will be introduced for the complete social tax refund from the budget to employers paid by them on behalf of the employees under the age of 25. As a result, in the second half of this year alone, the entrepreneurs who recruited 240 thousand young people will have 170 billion Uzbek soums at their disposal, and next year--500 billion Uzbek soums.
On the basis of the new system aimed at supporting the student youth, 62 thousand young men and women, who are not provided with dormitories, 50% of the rent for housing will be reimbursed from the budget.
Certainly, the work carried out in this direction not only continues consistently, but also rises to a new stage. This idea is confirmed by the Decree “On Additional Measures for Comprehensive Support of the Youth and Further Increase of their Social Activity” adopted on July 13, 2021.
This document provides for the introduction of more than 30 additional benefits and opportunities for the youth. I would like to speak about one of these opportunities. The tuition fees for higher educational institutions for children whose families are included in the “Iron book”--the first academic year in 2021-2022 will be paid from the state budget. This opportunity can be used by the children from more than 4 thousand families throughout the country. For this purpose alone, about 29,2 billion Uzbek soums will be allocated from the budget.
In our country, a significant attention is being paid to the issues related to supporting children who have lost their parents and in need of care, getting an education, employment and housing, finding a worthy place in the society, strengthening the material and technical base and human resources of Mercy homes, special boarding schools and children’s townships.
Moreover, bringing up the children in Mercy homes with a family-like environment as highly spiritual and patriotic individuals with a profession in hand is a sacred duty to all of us. Taking all these into account, we are introducing a new system to increase the effectiveness of educational work in the Mercy homes and special boarding schools.
To study and tackle the problems of foster-children of such institutions, to realize their strives and aspirations, a new system--”Book of Kindness” is being introduced. The procedure for providing housing for orphans and children left without parental care has also been established. In accordance with it, children of these categories who do not have a housing assigned to them, and registered as in need of housing when reaching the age of 18, a studio apartment with a total area of at least 25 square meters is allocated, and in these cases when a marriage is made between the adults, a two-room apartment of at least 50 square meters will be allocated.
I believe that our reforms being carried out in the spirit of humanitarianism are in line with the words of the great poet Alisher Navoi: “He who extends a helping hand to the exhausted, his help equals the reconstruction of the Holy Kaaba”, harmoniously combine with the qualities of our people, such as magnanimity, generosity and care. No matter what city or village in our Motherland I visit, I always try to meet with local youth. In an open and sincere conversation I am interested in their health, education, aspirations, conditions created in their villages and makhallas (the local neighborhood community areas).
As it is well-known, there are many evaluation criteria and parameters for the development of countries and peoples of the world. However, to me, the most important criterion in this regard is the happiness and well-being of our youth.
I see the spirit, dynamics and energy of the New Uzbekistan, above all, in the fearlessness, bold thinking and proposals of our dear young men and women, in their first victories.
Quite recently, on June 30, on the Youth Day, I met with members of our younger generation and was pleased to see their achievements and research in various fields.
I am certain that the people and the country, whose children are always striving for something new, set ambitious goals and strive for progress, will surely achieve the set goals. Since, such efforts will turn into a powerful wave tomorrow, our present life will be better than yesterday’s and tomorrow’s--better than today’s, our consciousness and thinking will take on a new dimension.
Q: When we speak about the achieved successes for over the last years in the sphere of ensuring the human rights and freedoms in our country, firstly, there is a point about the undertaken large-scale work in terms of creating the conditions for education, labor, protection of health of women, realization by them of their talent and abilities, protection of motherhood and childhood, and the gender equality. What is the reason behind this?
A: Certainly, there is very simple reason to it. Since, the development level and the culture of people, the country and the society, primarily, are defined by an attitude towards a woman.
A sacred abode by the name of a family and our priceless wealth--the children are linked with a woman. If our women are happy, then a society will be happy.
In a country, where women in all of the spheres and branches enjoy the same rights as men, where they are respected and esteemed, there will be peace and tranquility, the development and the progress.
It is therefore that our people from of old have glorified a woman--a symbol of Motherhood.
It is a woman that for over a span of the entire history of humanity imbues to it a feeling of beauty, loyalty, love and patriotism.
All of the successes and results of our life are achieved thanks to our mothers. In conducting the state policy in ensuring the lawful rights and interests of our dear mothers and lovely sisters, who make up a near half of the country’s population, as well as raising their role and the status in the society we rely on these very values.
The adoption in the last years of 24 documents aimed at implementation in practice of this most important task, and particularly, 2 laws, 6 decrees and the resolution of the President and 16 resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers stand as a reflection of enormous attention and care towards our mothers, sisters and daughters.
The women are actively participating in all of the spheres and sectors of our life. They are making an invaluable contribution to establishing the New Uzbekistan. All of us are well-aware that there are the deputies and senators, ministers and khokims (governors and mayors), academicians and professors, the Heroes of Uzbekistan, the people’s teachers, the people’s poetesses and the people’s actresses among them.
At present, an important role in the protection of women’s interests belongs to such structures as the Commission for Gender Equality, the Committee of the Senate of Oliy Majlis for Women and Gender Equality and the Republican Public Women’s Council.
A particular attention is being paid to providing women with jobs, housing and improving the quality of health services. In this, it is of a special importance the establishment of the centers for vocational training of women and implementation of the accessible housing construction program. Annually, the initial installments for procurement of housing by women, who are in difficult living conditions, are made by the state budget funds.
Our dear sisters, who are taking an active part in the public life, are achieving the high results in various fields of activities. They are making a commendable contribution to upbringing a healthy and harmoniously developed generation. On the occasion of March 8--the International Women’s Day, the Independence Day and various professional holidays they are decorated with high awards, including the badge “Mo’tabar ayol” (‘An esteemed woman’).
The work in this direction is being supplemented by the fact that the number of young women awarded the Zulfiya State Prize has reached 367.
As it was noted in the beginning of our conversation, based on the system of “The women’s book” we have been carrying out a consistent work to reduce poverty and unemployment among women.
Q: A special respect and attention are shown in our country towards the representatives of the elder generation. I would like to know Your opinion about further development of the practical work in this direction.
A: Every time, when I ponder about today’s peaceful, free and prosperous life, I recall with a feeling of gratitude that these bright days became possible thanks to tireless labor of our ancestors, their endurance and patience in overcoming all trials and difficulties. The way they have ensured a peaceful and tranquil life for us--the descendants is an enormous feat, heroism and selflessness, which cannot be measured by anything and impossible to assess.
Therefore, it is our sacred duty to honor the memory of our brave and noble ancestors, remember them with deep respect and esteem, as well as thoroughly care about the representatives of the elder generation, who are now living with us.
Most importantly, these noble deeds will become an example for the youth.
There is no doubt, you are--the journalists, well-aware that a big work is being carried out in our country to support the representatives of the elder generation, create necessary conditions to ensure a purposeful life for them. In particular, we have addressed the difficulties and problems related to registration of pensions and allowances, their timely payment with using various social services. The “Nuroniy” Foundation is both materially and morally stimulating the elderly.
It became a kind tradition the care about the health of the elderly, presenting them the subsidized passes to various sanatoria and holiday-homes, individually congratulating them on holidays, showing them a big respect, constant attention and care.
Let me reiterate, we are always in debt before those, who devoted all of the strengths, knowledge and potential to the development of our Homeland and the well-being of our people. We will create the additional capacities to make life of the elderly brighter and more joyous so that they could take more active part in the life of our society with their rich experience and useful advices, and in particular, in upbringing the youth of the New Uzbekistan.
It is not for nothing that I am making a certain focus on these issues. Since, in building the New Uzbekistan, we have set as our supreme goal to achieve happiness for the people and it is utterly important for each member of the society to feel it.
The holding at all regions of the country sincere meetings of the representatives of three generations, the active participation of our elderly in them, who are sharing their labor and lifetime experience, the views about the value and significance of today’s peaceful and bright days serve as a true school of life for the youth.
Q: On the eve of the greatest and the dearest holiday--the Independence Day, we publish in our newspaper the best wishes of our fellow citizens of the most diverse professions. You, as a renowned leader, who since the early days of independence have taken an active part in building a new state and society in our country, and today--as an initiator of the concept of constructing a New Uzbekistan and the national leader, who has confidently been leading our nation along this path, as the President of the country, what would You wish our people in this sacred holiday for all of us?
A: Certainly, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of our country we sum up the outcomes of development of all spheres and branches, as well as set the specific plans for the future. In particular, we will stick to our main goal of ensuring the rights and freedoms, as well as the lawful interests of each person in our country, achieving a more free and prosperous life to our people.
The highest goal for me, in which there is my mission as the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, to serve from the bottom of my heart and diligently for the sake of a dream of our people about the peaceful and prosperous, free and flourishing life.
We are in unmeasured debt before our Homeland, which has risen us and commendably brought us up. The achievement of comprehensively prosperous life of our dear and beloved people is the greatest happiness. Since, if people are pleased with us, then the Almighty God will always help and support us.
The chance bestowed by destiny to undertake such great deeds, which many generations of our ancestors dreamt about,--isn’t it a true happiness and honor to every citizen, who realizes that he belongs to this nation?
I am confident that under the sacred flag of boundless love and devotion to one’s Motherland, by using all our knowledge and experience, as one people, as one nation--we will certainly achieve the set noble goals.
The New Uzbekistan will turn into a comprehensively flourishing and well-off country with a strong potential and worthy authority on the world arena.
I not only believe in this, but stand ready to put to use along this path all my knowledge and experience. I call on all of our fellow citizens to join these great ranks--the ranks of the builders of the New Uzbekistan.
Taking today’s opportunity, I sincerely and cordially congratulate our multinational people on the forthcoming holiday of Independence. I want to wish every family, each fellow citizen a peace and tranquility, well-being and happiness.