Reviews

Retracing the struggle for power which exists in many districts of Uzbekistan between the hokim [governor] and the prokurator, the author reconstructs the informal authority systems in the country’s localities. Their origin is seen in two aspects of Soviet state building: (1) concentrations of wealth under local agricultural, industrial, and natural resource extraction operations, constituting the heads of these operations as strongmen within their localities; and (2) devolution of political authority to obkom first secretaries, availing them with opportunities to construct decentralised patronage bases. Using the cases of the Samarqand Region and Navoiy Region the author sketches out two different patterns of extraction among local prokurators. These cases illustrate the powerful influence of local élite power politics at the sub-national level. He also shows that republic-wide institutional reforms to prokurators resulted in unintended consequences at the district and regional levels, making the ability of local prokurators to carry out their expanded responsibilities to hinge out upon their position vis-à-vis local élites. In all, the article casts a crude light on the fact that since independence the cohesion of Uzbekistan’s state infrastructure has depended heavily upon the provision of benefits to regional and local élites. “The use of patronage to rule its regions, however, has promoted different patterns of rent seeking within the country, which in some localities further entrench the authority of local élites while in other localities facilitate predation by state officials.”

The Redaction
CER: II-7.4.G-679