The Republic of Karakalpakstan, which is now torn by mass unrest – Photo

The Republic of Karakalpakstan, included in Uzbekistan, has been engulfed in bloody riots since the end of last week: dozens of dead, hundreds of injured, thousands of protesters. From this Central Asian republic, hitherto little known to the average European, alarming reports from the front are now constantly arriving that “Uzbekistan is soaking in blood”. The reason for the protests is in some ways both simple and very complex. 30 years ago, when the Soviet Union collapsed, a sovereign state – the Republic of Karakalpakstan – was established on the basis of the Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic, which at that time was part of the Uzbek SSR, which, on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement, became part of the Republic of Uzbekistan as a separate state for 20 years. The Karakalpaks have so far expressed no desire to leave Uzbekistan and until last weekend lived more or less peacefully in a political marriage with Tashkent. Tashkent, on the other hand, decided to change the text of the Uzbek constitution and at the very end of June published its new draft, which no longer defined the special sovereign status of Karakalpakstan and the right of its residents to withdraw from the composition of Uzbekistan in a referendum.

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