What diplomats think about the reforms and prospects of Uzbekistan. Dialogue with Ambassadors of the USA, United Kingdom and Germany.

What reforms have yielded tangible results? What could be an obstacle on our way? Will Uzbekistan get a “lucky ticket”? About this all and much more in an interview with Ambassadors of the USA, United Kingdom and Germany in Uzbekistan. Subtitles are available on English, Russian and Uzbek.


Interview with Ambassadors

N.Makarenko: Their Excellencies, thank you very much that you found some time to be guests of Uzbek Review Show. As you probably heard, we are doing some reforms here in Uzbekistan. This process of reforms is exciting for us, for Uzbek citizens. And sometime I even feel a magic, when I withdraw my cash from ATM. This is something which never happened previously. So, could you share with our audience, what reform you feel like “the most amazing, the most unexpected” during your presence here. What you noticed and what you think is a real magic for you?

G.Overfeld: Well, I would not say that there is this one big reform, but there are certainly I would say, two events at the beginning of the reforms that is the end of 2017 that have really surprised me and that have convinced me that this country is moving in a new and more open direction. The first one, was I recall my first trip across Uzbekistan as an Ambassador and there were police check-points everywhere. I was not checked myself, but you have to stop to wait etc. Couple of month later I after this speech of the President, I made a private trip with my wife and daughter. And two days, three days after that speech – no more check-points. You saw the deserted houses, but you could travel freely unhindered. And that was really strong and I would say very moving experience. Second point, then we discussed with a couple of colleges, that have been a year longer that I like myself. When I arrived, Tashkent was in the night particular dark city. And then soon after the reforms began the city nights also started to light up the city and I’ve always thought these were two very remarkable impressions of what was going on. And on the more general level, political level if you wish, I think what is really amazing is what has happened in roughly 3 years in the area of agriculture and notably textile. There we are living in the whole new world and I think that is for Uzbekistan a major step.

N.Makarenko: Thank you for your impressions and I could say that we honestly love this things about check-points and night life too. So, Mr.Rosenblum, your impressions?

D.Rosenblum: What really has struck me is … There are so many things really. But one that stands up for me is the change in the policy toward neighbors, which is one of the very first thing that President announced when he became the President as “neighbors first policy”. I’ve seen from myself, with my own eyes and talked to people about the impact it has on lives, in border areas especially. I remember a trip I took back in July to Fergana valley and Andijan, I visited border crossing. I think it’s “Do’stlik” border crossing. And there I heard stories from border guards and also from just ordinary citizens crossing the border about what an enormous impact it has on their lives. Families being able to visit relatives on both sides. Farmers being able to bring their produce to the other country and sale it in the market. And it just really, I think lifted people spirits in a very direct and emotional way. And the story that really sticks out me, the young man, whom  I spoke to in the library in Fergana city, he was a director of the library there, and his family… he was born and raised in Soh, enclave, which is inside Kyrgyzstan… and crossing from Soh back in to Uzbekistan used to be, as he said, a nightmare. And now he visits family every weekend because it’s so much easier to go back and forth. Again, at human level, I think, that’s one of the changes that has been the most dramatic that I’ve seen myself.

N.Makarenko: Yeah, that’s really great. I feel it personal too. Because I have many friends in Tajikistan and previously every time, I paid $150 for visa. And then I was the first journalist who crossed the border when the visa-free regime was announced. I was so happy. This is a really great achievement. Mr.Torlot?

T.Torlot: Two things. First of all, visit to Uzbekistan what makes the biggest difference to us is unquestionably being able to come and announce the country without visas. Building on what Gunter, German Ambassador said, I think, being here I asked my local staff, local Uzbek colleges, what their responses, there was a variety of responses, but the one that stacked me was one which, again reflects the role of the police, which is for ordinary Uzbek people the relationship with the police has changed markedly. The service that they provide is very helpful, they are much less corrupted as they used to be. And there certainly was the case. I remember my driver was stopping and asking the way, and asking whether there or no they were so open, he said “they’ve never done this a couple of years ago”. And that show to the value how people arrive, he got a friendly face, the process is open done within 10 minutes. It’s efficient, it’s slack and it’s friendly. It’s a service and that’s a huge advantage.

N.Makarenko: And do you know that Tashkent city police even building a network of cat houses in Tashkent? So, they will care about wild cats and some houses already started to work. So, you’ve seen many countries, you’ve been in a lot of countries. What do you think make Uzbekistan unique?

D.Rosemblum: Well. Uzbekistan is going now to perform what other countries have in one form or another. But I think what makes this extraordinary is that your country is doing everything at once. There is this scope of the reforms, so broad and touches every aspect of government, every aspect of life in some ways. It’s a big of a challenge. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a country trying to do as many things at the same time as Uzbekistan is doing now. You know, from house to education, to economic management, to privatization, to anti-corruption, to, you know, across the board. And what I take away from that is first of all is that it’s complex and it’s difficult, secondly, it’s doing to take time and it’s not going to happen in one or two years. And thirdly, it’s going to have to rely on a lot of help from international experts, which President himself talked about in his speech. Human capital, the shortage of human capital is a real issue, and that’s been acknowledged. And meantime, I think the help of international community is going to be key. And I think all of us sitting here are part of that solution, but not only us, but if this reform process will be successful it’s going to take community of nations to help Uzbekistan.

N.Makarenko: You are very right. There is no guidebook how to reform country in two years. So, we are in a difficult position and we have to try and we have to work a lot.

G.Overfeld: Yeah, I think it’s a little bit in the line of what Dan, my American college said. Maybe I add some facets from my perspective. And you have many countries that want to reform and very often it’s done by focusing in this or that area, let’s say, special sector of economy. What I find amazing here is that from the beginning it was a reform that was aiming and at the same time how should I say wide and high. With wide I mean particularly from the beginning it also in cooperated questions as relationship between the citizen and administration. One of the earliest reforms was the virtual complaint office. That was done in other words trying to incorporate from the beginning with people and making it clear without support of the people and also without clarifying the relationship between people and government in a way that the government is there for the people and not the people are there for the government. That was really courageous and very remarkable indeed. At the same time, I find also with all reforms everywhere in the world you also have difficulties, it’s not so easy, there are obstacles and so on. I find the support that the President reformist enjoy wider population despite all the difficulties they are there like inflation and other constraints still very high. I find it very impressive that from my early time onwards I’ve met with young Uzbeks that return from abroad, although they had very good positions abroad and very dissent money to come back to Uzbekistan and to support the reform process. So, I think, these are important developments as this not with all sectors maybe but with many and particularly there where you see priorities the speed and the consequence of the reforms that have been done. And talking about the economy I again as I did in the beginning would like to point out this sector of agriculture among others takes time. What has happened there in a short period of time is quite amazing.

N.Makarenko: Thank you very much. Mr.Torlot, could you add?

T.Torlot: I’ve been a diplomat from the years I can’t remember, I worked in a number of countries in the Middle East and in the South America particularly as a part of international community trying to support the reform process. And generally, there has been the case that the international community is more supportive than the reform process in the governments with which we’ve been working. And that is not this case here. There are unquestionably extraordinary ambitious commitments to change and to change the passes as Gunter has said. And change which works from the bottom up as well as from the top down, so it’s really supports to care to what individual people think. And believe should be happening on what makes differences to the lives of ordinary people here. And the virtual reception center is a part of that tool. Also I noticed that it’s really important in the emphasis in the President’s speech on Parliament having a role of representing interests of ordinary people to executives and holding government account on behalf of the people, on the role of civil society, people themselves, community level, as an organization engaging and influencing policy, changing policy and holding the government to account as well. And I think that’s a really welcomed new development. So, it’s a people’s reform process which is really fast and ambitious. It’s exciting to be here.

N.Makarenko: Let’s try to dream. What do you think, what could be a lucky ticket for Uzbekistan to jump into the world of developed countries?

T.Torlot: I’m not sure I believe in lucky tickets.

N.Makarenko: But let’s try to believe…

T.Torlot: I think that success of the development process which leads you from where Uzbekistan started … there was almost three years ago as really 30 years ago. To develop country’s data is a long process, which involves a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication. I just continue as innovation, continue as pressure for change, continue as involving people in … The reform is affecting them and keeping them involved, engaged. And you don’t have lucky tickets. Nothing is going to transform. This is economy, this world, you’ve just got to stick it. Big pationed  because there will be thing of hard work, things that community that feel not involved in this process, got keep them as a part of it as well. It really isn’t lucky ticket. It’s hard work. And it’s continuous striving, continuous communication and continuous thinking about how these impacts on ordinary people and how we might help them to benefit from this.

N.Makarenko: Thank you very much for ruining up dreams. Let’s try to turn a question a little bit different way with you Mr.Overfeld. Maybe you could mention some fields where we need to push to achieve success as the country?

G.Overfeld: First, I mean… if the British ruining your dreams, Germans are ready to build them. I think obviously what Tim wanted to say  takes a lot of hard work  it’s not this or that issue which will decide. But still maybe if there is no lucky ticket but you have.. I find and I’m not say that to all because that is really my impression, you’ll have a lucky capital with more young people. Young people I have met are enthusiastic, ambitious, dilegants, intelligent, so they are really a big capital. And in that context, I really do believe what it is very important, what President pointed out in his speech in the end of January to the Parliament. It was said that Uzbekistan now needs to focus very much on education and education in… how should I say… proper sense, university education, learning about not only other countries, but modern developments in natural sciences and humanities. And I think that’s very important step to be done and it’s also a necessary step to be done in order to make the reforms sustainable and long-run. But to do that will certainly as Tim has pointed out not be easy as we say in Germany “you need to drill holes in walls”. That takes time but it’s necessary and I think with the capital of young people you are having all the necessary conditions to make a success.

N.Makarenko: Thank you very much. And I’m truly agree with you. Our youth could be a lucky ticket, because we need a new generation which will push the reforms and will support them. But maybe you could add something, Mr.Rosenblum?

D.Rosenblum: Sure. Well, as our great in civil rights Martin Luther King said “I have a dream”. But my dream is not Uzbekistan’s dream. I think the President has a dream about the future and vision he has led out. But as my colleges have said, and I will endorse everything they have said, it’s not an easy road. It’s really not a lucky ticket that is a single solution or break to that’s going to make a difference. But it’s a number of different things. I guess there are particularly three things that I would like to emphasize. They are important to be achieved as a part of reforms, these three broad things. One is to establish the rule of law. It’s not only important for the relationship between the government and the citizen, but also important for business to operate, for investment coming in country. So, the efforts being made in the legal community and justice sector are key. Second one is to build a stronger private sector. And privatization is going to be a part of that. But also, entrepreneurship and encouraging new businesses to form. And the third thing is there has to be a stronger commitment to civil society to allowing citizen initiative that would come up with solutions to people’s problems without relying on the government. And if those three things can be accomplished, and they are not going to be accomplished easily or in a short period of time, that’s the lucky ticket for Uzbekistan’s future.  

N.Makarenko: Yeah, I am agree with you. And let’s hope that we could accomplish them and we could mix it together to achieve this progress. And now let’s turn to some criticism. And nobody could say that Uzbek Review is doing a propaganda. And actually, that’s what the President wants, he always repeated that he needs criticism. And that’s what really important for the progress. So, my question to you: what do you think, maybe you could tell me about one thing, which from your point of view, is going wrong in this process of reforms?

D.Rosenblum: I think, that at times there has to be more realism about what achievable in a short period of time and sometimes I think setting arbitrate deadlines that you have to be done with this by that are actually result in bad policy and bad decisions. So, I think it’s important to take necessary amount of time to get them right. Right now, there are for example several draft laws that are being considered in the government. There is one regarding religious freedom that were focusing on, one regarding civil society and NGOs that I talked about earlier. So, I think it’s important to take the necessary time to get those things right, because they will be foundational the eventual success of reform and prosperous and free society.

N.Makarenko: Yeah, you were right. There is in a web site which activists started and there is … they collected of all promises of officials and all the deadlines and they truck. Who achieve the deadline and who not. So, this question is a problem. Thank you for your ideas. Mr.Overfeld, what do you think?

G.Overfeld: Yeah, it could go very surprisingly a little bit. In the same direction in Germany we have proverb that goes essentially “don’t do second step before first step to get your priority”. So to build your house you have to start with the basement and not start with the roof. On a more general level I think key to the reforms obviously are the reforms in economic sector because they will provide employment, they will lead Uzbekistan to large degree in modern world. And what is necessary here is there is even more consequential way to withdraw all of the state and establishment certainly not in one step, but more consequentially the establishment of free market economy. Free market will also in itself reinforce the wide of freedom in the society and in the political system.

N.Makarenko: Yeah, it’s very right about the free market. And your words about the basement and roof reminded me about my travel to Bukhara region recently. You know, I’ve been observing how people build their simple houses. And mostly they build beautiful gates and only then they start to build the building. So, it’s kind of in the blood. Mr.Torlot, what’s your opinion, what’s wrong?

T.Torlot: I think that … two perspectives… I think first of all as colleges have said building a strong country can be vital to sustain in the development of this country. And you can’t do that without an effective rule of law, without the society which respects the law, which I think is the case here. And a code system which is independent, which is transparent and which is fair without corruption. And there is still some way to go that and that is a general block of foreign investment at the moment and indeed the development of the domestic economy of the country. And I think that is terribly important for this country. And it is block on the development of the roads at he moment. The other area that I think underpins the whole reform process where there is general reform going on but there is pressure to do better in the sector of education. That’s the area that most … Ordinary Uzbeks that I talked to feel this not serving them as they odd to. It’s not because there isn’t real vision, real leadership at the top but it’s the area in which the country needs to focus for the country to have next 100 years.

N.Makarenko: Yeah, this is what we need to achieve, the goal about the raising the new generation, the youth. So, yeah, it’s crucial and I know this topic very well and if you probably heard public education system is the largest important in the country. It’s a big monster and to reform it will take some time, some really serious efforts. Reforming the country and especially city of Tashkent which I love very much… it’s not only reform economy and all these things, but also to make more comfortable to live in and reforming the lifestyle. So, I want to know, could you mention few things which you really really miss in Tashkent from your home countries, which makes your life not so comfortable as it could be?

T.Torlot: I love this city. And what the reason why we choose the life of diplomats is because actually we love things to be different. Diplomats admit that the major miss anything. But it would not be completely true and I think there are various things that I would love able to do here which would be perfectly possible. In London, which is my home I don’t need a car. I can travel wherever I want to go on public transport, I use the underground, I use the bus network or I walk or ride my bicycle. This is the city which lends itself. So, to cycle lands, to separate lands where people ride their bike. Secondly, it’s economically friendly and environmentally friendly, it’s good for the health and this is great. Cycles are a low class citizens. And I love to walk. We tried not so long ago to walk from our home to the botanical garden, which is excellent to do some exercises, because we want to do a walk in a beautiful place. So far we’ve turned around because this is not society which is desired for pedestrians. 

N.Makarenko: Suicidal mission.

T.Torlot: Pedestrians cross new sea, pedestrians standing in the middle of the road with cars going in both directions extremely fast. And you are praying for their safety. So, I would love to focus on pedestrians, focus on cyclist and a little but more on comprehensive public transport.  

N.Makarenko: That’s very personal for me too, because I’m trying to push this topic for a long time, it slightly moves, but still the concept of the city which exists in the heads of decision makers should be turned. We need a return. Because they build the city for cars, not city for people. We’re trying to change the situation. And I’m glade that we are on the same side in this question.

G.Overfeld: Cancellations for you and my friend Tim. German is sub working on cycling part together with the city of Tashkent. So, hopefully, some stretches of cycling part…

N.Makarenko: Yeah, I heard about it, I follow this cases. Thank you very much for the support.

G.Overfeld: But to come to the other questions, I would first like to say that I was very pleasantly surprised that there is one thing I do not miss in Tashkent and that is German beer. I was surprised. I find German beer in Tashkent and for all of us that’s very vital thing. On the other hand, when I left Berlin, I was considering myself lucky to have left German bureaucracy behind, which has wide reputation. But I must say some of the interactions with diplomats here and with the Uzbek government, pleasant that they are not as they are in other aspects, it can be pretty tuff, bureaucratic. I would hope that there was reform process less bureaucratic and more open minded for ..

T.Torlot: So, it feel like home?

G.Overfeld: And on a personal level, I personally, I am a great fan of the visual arts. Although you have here quite art and many artists of also present a works in the street of Uzbekistan. I like in particular contemporary art and that is still a little bit missing I find in Uzbekistan. Although right away I must to plot such outlets as Zeroline Gallery, Bonum Factum Gallery, which I think do very good job in attracting young, new and someone adventurous artists.

N.Makarenko: And I feel that Germany supports contemporary art in Uzbekistan. I mean, that’s a great thing. And thank you very much for this. We need more contemporary art, more street art, there is a luck of such artists. Mr.Rosenblum?

D.Rosenblum: So, there is very little I miss materially here. I mean, there are certain food things that I was used to, that I don’t care, but there are so many new foods and so many wonderful foods that I’ve tried here. That I’m not finding that I missed that. For me, what I miss most is my family. My family did not come with me because to this assignment because I’ve a daughter who is finishing school, back in Washington D.C. and we decided to let her finish at her school. And my wife stayed with her and my son is at the university in the United States, so I’m alone. And if I put my finger on what I miss when I come home at the end of the day to my home.. it’s my family.

G.Overfeld: Luckily my wife and my daughter are not hearing what I said and what Dan said, because I’m exactly in the same position and I feel the same.

N.Makarenko: Ok. I understand. This is not related to Uzbekistan; this is not our spot.

D.Rosenblum: Absolutely not.

N.Makarenko: And I want to talk about something which is personal to me, because I’m a journalist and I can’t explain how it was difficult to be a journalist previously, mostly it was impossible. And these reforms in a media sphere is a really great thing. Did you feel these reforms in Uzbek media and what you in general feel about Uzbek media?

D.Rosenblum: I’ve seen reform reflected in Uzbek media and again I only came here last spring, I was following developments before that. The change in what permitted to be published, what is reported on is dramatic from what I’ve seen. When I traveled around the country I made a point of meeting with journalists in the all regions that I go to and talking to local journalists about their experience.. and I would say universally there is a sense that they have much more freedom, much more diversity on what they can report on. There maybe still some subjects that are uncomfortable locally at times because it can push against local interests, they shouldn’t be challenging. On the other hand, they all come under the change. And I think all of this speaks to again what the president said in his speech, actually in a couple of speeches, including the speech on January, 24 about the role of journalists and media play as a form of public control. Public control over government, public control over institutions in general, public and private, that’s the key role for media and need democracy. And I can see it emerging here in Uzbekistan.

G.Overfeld: This is one of the areas, where we really see development. I mean, I came here when there was the first meeting, think it was the first, don’t remember, first or second meeting of Press-club. Everybody discussed and it was the first time I’ve seen ever since independence when there was a live interview and live discussions, later changed again, but. I think nevertheless, the development of media, particularly in field of social media, we also quite consciously look at the provinces where is regional cities and we found very lively and active seen that also was critical of the local authorities and had a way to bring them to get to acknowledge, to discuss with them which I think is unheard in a long time in Uzbekistan that’s a good development. In addition, I can also agree with Dan that there is strong political commitment at the highest level, President. And also after the Press has been attacked on there is occasion in past couple of month has been very supportive and very out and open of the need of free and vibrant press. Coming to maybe some of the challenges to put it that way I think in terms of handicraft, craftsmanship there are still some things to be done. Also, in terms of the technical side of things, I’m not talking about this brilliant technical setup here, but … For example, we are quite happy we are working with journalistic university, we will be able, so I can announce proudly here: in the first half of this year we equipped them with full fledged radio studios where they can train the radio reporting and doing all other things. Then there is another point. We also try to assist a little bit as everywhere in life also in the field of media, journalism money matters. It means the financial side of various publications of media in general is important and we just recently in fact  in the last couple of weeks did quite serious trainings of Deutsche Welle Academy that was focusing on managerial and financial issues of the journalists life and I think that’s also something that still needs to be developed overall. I’m very optimistic and positive, and you can see that your journalists have also bight and the aggressiveness is necessary. I think it’s a good thing. 

N.Makarenko: Thank you very much for your opinion, for your support sure. Mr.Torlot?

T.Torlot: You won’t be surprised here. I am too very enthusiastic about the changing media environment here. I think, first of all the development of the online bloggers sphere and the use of digital media as a source of news and communication with people is incredibly encouraging and has been very successful. I am also, as Dan and Gunter have said, being very encourage by the level of support which the President personally and also the government have given to the development of the media. I have to say that all of us expect to get all our news from online media, whether it’s online news services or from bloggers. I think that the print media which is jointly research in all parts of the world is not adapting in the same phase. And even the television, radio, media the same. I hope very much that new enthusiasm and energy and dynamism that has been injected in to the digital media is sufficiently contagious to carry across the other aspects of the media. I think it is a long way to go still. I think as journalist concerned as not very much analytical journalism, investigative journalism. I think people still are conscious about answering those kinds of arenas. Very real question of capacity building, whole training of journalists, which is something great and supporting by Germany. We are also doing a little bit with much less money, but nonetheless important to see BBC activists here. I think that’s important. I think it’s a sector which we all have to continue to support. I’m still surprised by the amount of antagonism to journalists, to freedom of press here. Including from surprising sources, I was talking to one of the ministers of the government, whose views I absolutely respect, enjoy, I have enormous amount of time for.. who said, there is too much freedom of the media. And that’s I’m afraid not true. I think that a strong society needs a strong media, media needs to adapt to the needs of government, and that’s actually one of the things that we helpfully do to help government to use media to communicate with people, to understand what the service and power a journalism has to convey their own policies, to explain, to question, to produce better policy by starting to examine more what government is doing. All that is positive and contributed to the strong development of our own society and is something which is growing here and we can encourage.

D.Rosenblum: I would like to add one thing here. Just to simplify an excellent point that Tim and Gunter made, first of all I should probably mention that there were also doing media training. So much is happening, but the USA did… for our exchange programs standing in journalism to put their stories to the United States. And through the Voice of America… And VoA training was at that space too. And I think there is a lot for demand on that. There is an eagerness of the part of local journalists to benefit from what I’ve seen. And the other thing that I wanted to emphasize is, again we’ve all mentioned one way or another, there are still seem to be limits to what certain reporters can do and how aggressively they can cover certain stories. And that’s the real test. That’s going to be a test of freedom of media here when the reporting starts to venture in to area that might threaten some interests. And unfortunately there was a recent case of blogger actually being forced to leave the country in fear of her life because of the aggressive report that she was doing. I thinks we need to be attentive and frankly President’s words I think have wait, they should have wait in this case, he said: “We need journalists to be out there to keeping us to account …” And I think that’s very true.

G.Overfeld: I just wanted to add one sentence I’ve have regularly discussions, meetings about the press was like all colleges too with senior government officials and I tried to impress on them that to put it a little bit provocatively the media has a right to be aggressive and sometimes even to be a little bit unfair because government is so much more powerful and every individual citizen and the media that is necessary to let allow to grow some tolerance to be a little bit relaxed about criticism even if that criticism is sometimes seen. To be unfair that’s important. And this is something which all democratic governments have to live with and in the end also adapt tool and that way builds a lot of construction relationships with media. But obviously, you can have right away it needs some time to developB But one has to do it consciously and that means also that government has to do it consciously or government representatives have to do it consciously as always/

N.Makarenko: We are in Uzbekistan, we watch news. So, we know what’s going on in Uzbekistan and another countries. And somehow, somewhere we see that some countries democratic processes they could not achieve people want to achieve. So, there is a kind of disappointment in the air. And people in Uzbekistan, they feel it. And they started to question themselves “Is democracy really works? Is it really a good thing?”. So, I wanted to ask you, what is democracy for you and why you feel it still important in this year? So, we could start from you, Mr.Torlor.

T.Torlot: As society changes, technology changes and the world changes, democracy changes as well. We’re always striving to improve the way that we implement democracy. And as communities become more particular, have a sense of power, they can express frustration of democracy. And that’s its strengths. People always want a better life to improve themselves for their families, for their children, for the society in which they live. For me the strength of democracy is the fact that it puts the individual the heart this equal system that it protects and promotes individual freedoms. And that happens in the perfect way is that it happens with all of us. You produce a stronger society, you produce a stronger economy, you produce stability and security. Because allowing people to express what they believe even if it goes counter beliefs of the government, allowing people to link up together and work together for whatever particular aim they want to have. To leave in peace, to receive the education and their title to on social support on their title to all of these parts of individual freedoms that is in the heart of democracy. When we think we’ve got it right, then we fail democracy. Got to keep improving. And generally speaking, as an old democracy, what are the British experience has shown is that generally speaking, broad time when people get it right we watched 200-300 years of democracy and slowly and in different ways how societies developed, economy has improved, peoples life is better, people have become free and that process continues. You may also disagree with decisions that people have taken, we’ve seen lots of arguments over the part of European Union last week, but also people do it right, the study progress of democratic society is strength, the economic strength of the society, this is strong evidence of that.

N.Makarenko: Thank you very much, what about German democracy?

G.Overfeld: It may surprise you. Also in Germany people are very critical about our democratic system and about the politicians and the government etc. If people in Uzbekistan criticize the government, criticize democracy that makes me optimistic because it’s a sign of a normal city. I don’t know democracy where people are not critical of it. To put it in a very famous phrase of very famous compatriot of Tim made, great Mr.Churchill, who said that “it’s absolutely crystal clear that democracy is the worth form of government, except all other forms”. I think he put it in a very brilliant and very true manner. I mean, what’s democracy? Democracy is a decision by majority. Decision by majority does not necessarily mean wise or right decision. It’s the majority decision, not necessarily best decision. That is why the vital part of democracy that has to go with this decision making is the openness of the society, the possibility to discuss, to fight against each other, be in the Parliament, be in the environment, media, be in the cross civil society etc. And if you have these 2 elements of the decision by majority and the open society which debates freely you get what I think Tim rightly pointed out quiet rightly given long tradition of British democracy and … maybe it’s not 100% percent right always but it moves in the right direction and that is as much as you can one form in a government. If it’s done in open process of discussion and opinion building then that is fine. I guess more you can’t get in the world of politics and governance and by the way and also in our individual lives we don’t achieve 100% of what we want, so…

N.Makarenko: Ok, thank you very much. Mr.Rosenblum?

D.Rosenblum: So, my colleges have been so … that it’s really hard to me to add anything meaning for but I’ll try. First of all, I actually was going to use the same quote of Winston Churchill. German and American Ambassadors wanted to use british, but it’s a brilliant quote about democracy. And I would say to that point “being the worth form except from the others”, I think the fact is that no one has come out with a better way of achieving the balance, that needs to be achieved in every society between freedom and order from the other hand, democracy is come up, in my view, with the best balance between those things, it’s the best mechanism for that. I also want to pick up on something that Tim said about the evolving the nature of democracy. I think it’s really important to keep it in mind that democracy is a journey, it’s not the end point of destination and democracy will always evolve because time changes and needs and interests of population, that democracy is supposed to reflect, also change and so the evolving part is very important. And I often point to phrase in our American Constitution, that people cite to make this point, which is in the preamble of our constitution,  in order to form more perfect union, these delegates are going to do such and such government. The phrase “in order to form a perfect union” has been interpreted to me that we’ll be constantly perfect it, we will not reach perfection. We’ll be constantly needing to work on it to perfect it. And the last point that I wanted to make is what democracy means to me. And I think what makes democracy successful just building again on interest point, about the other element besides majority rule, that’s necessary, the openness they’ve talked about. I agree completely. But I would add one other element and I think any mature democracy that functions well also has to have legal protection of the rights of minorities. Minority rights are also protected, because we’ve seen in too many cases when win the majority to turn everything And I think all of those elements (openness, protection of the right of minorities and way to have people make decisions) have to be a part of it for Uzbekistan. And I think Uzbekistan is moving in a right direction, all those counts, there are ways to go in it’s evolution.

N.Makarenko: That’s true. I fully agree with all of you and especially that democracy is a constant process. And looking at Uzbekistan, I think people should be comfortable to take responsibilities for their future. That’s what we don’t have now, so far the concept is that someone will come and fix everything, but it doesn’t’ work like this. So, people should take responsibilities. So, we cross fingers for the future of Uzbekistan and for sure we promise to work hard. And thank you very much for your brilliant support and this process for your countries, your people and you personally, thank you very much! Hope to see you again.

Special thanks to Universal Bank and Hyatt Regency Tashkent for their partnership within this project.

When quoting materials, an active link to the primary source is required: the analytical portal www.uzbek.review.

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