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direction of socio-cultural development of all Post-Soviet nations, including Uzbekistan.
However, without critical re-evaluation, embracing old habits could also be a step back.
Botched up History
One of the most important attributes of any nation is its name; where did the name
originate? Does it mean anything? The word Uzbek was first used as a name for the
Central Asian nation in 1920s, when the Bolshevik’s formed Uzbek Soviet Socialist
Republic (Uzbek SSR). Prior to that, the word Uzbek referred to a nomadic clan that
originated in Saraj - the capital of the Golden Horde, near Volga river, presently in
Russia’s south. Original Uzbeks were descendents and followers of Uzbek Khan, who
was Genghis Khan’s direct descendent in the 5th generation. Uzbek Khan was the son of
Toghrilcha and grandson of Mengu-Timur. And Mengu-Temur was son of Toqoqan
Khan and the grandson of Batu Khan – Genghis Khan’s son. Uzbek Khan and his
followers not only lived in the Southern part of the present day Russia, they also had
power over the entire Russia during the 14th century. Russians knew very well who the
real Uzbek and his followers were. Then why in 1924 Russian rulers decide to name
people of the completely different area – Uzbeks? Was it because now, the “true” land of
Uzbeks “shifted” from the Volga river banks, to far away Central Asia? Uzbeks moved
South East and graciously dissolved into the new area, giving it its name! The history is
made! What a beautiful ending to a successful Russian colonialist expansion story! But
wait, there is more to this. Apparently no one truly considered interests of the people of
Turkestan. What is in it for them? If the people of Turkestan, were named after the 14th
century unrelated despotic ruler, would not that fact cut them off from their true history?
Would not that distort historically correct self-perception of the people of Turkestan?
And that is exactly what happened: after the decades of Soviet propaganda, Uzbeks have
strongly embraced Russian made myth about Uzbek nation being created as a result of
“ethno-genesis” somewhere around the 15th century. Alisher Navoi, the 15th century
poet is considered – a founder of the Uzbek language. From the political view, Amir
Temur could probably be viewed as the founding father within this twisted concept.
Although modern Uzbeks know that their history extends way beyond the 15th century,
they neither have good understanding, nor they relate themselves closely to their own
ancient history. People without deep and clear vision of their own history are unlikely to
have commonly accepted goals for their future development as well. Absence of such
goals creates pessimism, distrust, and motivates corruption.
First Unsuccessful Steps
In 1991 Uzbeks became an independent nation. Every nation wants to be a great
one, but each one needs to have clear reasons and defined basis for such a high aspiration.
Now Uzbeks got the opportunity to recreate their own historical concept in their best
interests and yet there were more obstacles than many could have imagined. No true
national history concept was even created after 2 decades of the Independence. As a
result, modern Uzbeks became even more unsure and divided about their future
development: some willing to continue European style, secular civilization, some others
viewing religious, Islamic development as the only true way and yet there are many
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