This original and provocative article questions why protest in the case of Andijan in 2005 played out in the tragic way it did and what can be done in Uzbekistan to ensure more constructive mechanisms of governance and conflict management. Whence much of the initial analyses of the events were set in the context of a perceived series of ‘colour revolutions’, the author wonders about the reasons for the lack of institutionalisation of the protest by the small core of armed men who allegedly sought to trigger a wider revolution. To the author’s eyes it is state politics which ― though intended to restrict independent political parties and civil society organisations ― that may actually be contributing towards cooperation between civil society and political society. One of the reasons for this evolution is that, paradoxically (to say the least), civil society and political society have no room to spare in distancing themselves from each other. Noting the official “acceptance of the need to develop political parties sensitive to the concerns of the population,” the author suggests that for improved governance to take root there needs to be an effective means of representing the interests of the grassroots to the authorities, and that civil society will “need to develop a more complementary relationship with political society in order to achieve it.” If it is greatly to the author’s credit to look beyond the very normative discourse of international mass media on the events of Andijan and on their aftermaths, it is perhaps to be deplored that some key features of the Uzbekistani state, notably its extremely strong neo-patrimonialist character, have not been taken more into account.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-7.4.G-683