Uzbekistan is a peaceful friendly country, smiling faces, many of them struggling to make a living, but still smiling. Uzbekistan is a double landlocked nation, meaning she is surrounded by other landlocked countries; i.e., Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Landlocked countries have no access to the sea. They are economically more challenged than are those with access to the seas. Exports to and from distant destinations are more complicated and more expensive.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Uzbeks are trying to find their bearings in defining and paying for their own social services, health, education, water and sanitation, as well as for a rapidly decaying infrastructure. But they are doing what they can, exporting labor to Russia and western Europe (receiving transfer payments); young people leaving their families behind, send money home, come back for a vacation, once, twice – then, many start new families in their host countries and leave their wives and children behind. A classic for Gastarbeiter, or guest workers, throughout the world.
But lately Uzbekistan, like other Central Asian countries, are experiencing a mini-boom – a boom thanks to the sanctions imposed on Russia by Washington and through extension by its European vassals. Her exports of vegetables, fruit, other agricultural and industrial goods to Russia are skyrocketing. Mr. Putin already said two years ago, the sanctions were the best thing that ever…