Reviews

This article shows how the traditional oasis system has been ravaged in Central Asia by Soviet agricultural policies (notably through a history of the countryside and organisation of the oasis of Klyshbai and its satellites in the delta of the Amu-Darya River). Collectivised lands were conquered on the steppe and oases, at the cost of the depletion of rivers and of the Aral Sea, scientific agriculture led to the destruction of the countryside. Interestingly, the main turning point in the transformation of oases (of the Klyshbai oasis in particular), and the disappearance of the traditional bocage landscape, are dated regionally of the implementation of gigantic projects and mass deportations in the late 1950s. Paradoxically, present-day Uzbekistan distinguishes itself by the continuation of agrarian policies inherited from the Soviet system. At the same time, the author observes a dim agricultural renewal which strives to take up again traditional practice. The author describes at length the obstacles faced by private producers confronted with the requirements of Uzbekistani state bodies. Again, as during the Soviet period it is in the “auxiliary economy” or private plots of land that can be found the most dynamic farmers. In a logic that remains that of the Soviet economy, these dynamic actors try to knock up an informal agriculture in the margins of the state-ruled system. However, the emergence of this informal rural economy can hardly be considered a factor of development, since it brings about a general return to archaic models, in which resort to a plethoric manpower compensates the weakness of production means. Long neglected by Uzbekistani authorities, the rural character of Uzbekistan has paradoxically reinforced since independence, at a time of constantly growing pressure on land and water.

The Redaction
CER: II-2.4-83