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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Shavkat Mirziyoyev: “I dedicate my life to my people!”


Wed 26 Jun 2024 | 04:26 PM
Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Kudratilla Rafikov, political scientist

In Uzbek President’s speech at a recent meeting with activists of the Jizzakh region, one point caught the attention of most people. In it, the head of state said the following:

“If God gives me health and life, the days will come when we will not have poverty and unemployment. I devoted seven years of my life to this, created a system for this, created laws, opened the world. I came to this job so that my people could live well, so that their dreams would come true, so that children would live prosperously, be happy, so that grandchildren would be born healthy, so that medicine would work, schools would work, so that the roads would be smooth...”

These words touched the hearts of people. Perhaps this is where this quote began to circulate in the press and social networks. Why? Because they were sincere and spoken from the heart.

I

A little time passed, and two extremely important news for the life of the country spread on the pages of the media.

The first relates to the World Bank. It states: “Uzbekistan reduced the poverty rate from 17 percent in 2021 to 11 percent in 2023, with the decline being larger in rural areas (8%) than in urban areas (4 percentage points). Some 1.6 million people have been lifted out of poverty.”

The Central Bank took responsibility for the second news: “By the end of 2023,” it says, “in Uzbekistan, the total number of employed people increased by 312 thousand people, or 2.3 percent, compared to last year.”

It is noted that, starting from the second half of the year, labor market indicators continue to improve. In particular, by January of this year, the unemployment rate in the economy decreased significantly and amounted to 6.8 percent. The main contribution to the increase in employment was made by the construction and trade sectors, while the number of people employed in agriculture decreased. In addition, labor demand, measured by the number of vacancies in the labor market, increased by 14 percent.

We did not take these examples from an enthusiastic article by a writer or journalist. The economic data presented are official in nature. Since the World Bank recognized these indicators in its analysis, it means that we are on the right track: the work being done is bearing fruit.

To be fair, it should be noted that among our people there are those who are not aware of the changes taking place, as if they do not see them. I would tell such people: there are such concepts as justice and piety in this world, no one has canceled them. And I would also say that Rome, the cradle of human civilization, was not built in one day...

Of course, I'm not an economist. However, I live the life of a country whose President pursues a humane policy, therefore I believe, as a citizen of my great Fatherland, I have the right to express my personal opinion about many of the processes taking place in this country.

II

The history of the ancient world shows that unexpected changes sometimes completely change a person, his mental world, thinking, lifestyle and work. Such a transformation forms in him a love for the Motherland, a sense of belonging to progressive reforms, responsibility for his destiny, the future and, in fact, after all this, the greatest changes begin.

I will not be mistaken if I say that my words confirm the important processes taking place in the renewed Uzbekistan, which is currently taking on a completely new look. Perhaps this is why these historical transformations are described by the world community as a “great era of renaissance.”

Indeed, in the first years of independence, or more precisely until 2016, we were faced with seemingly insurmountable, difficult, thorny obstacles. These were peaks associated with our thinking, worldview, lifestyle, renewal of our dreams and goals, life principles that needed reformation.

It is appropriate to note that in a short historical period, our people, under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, have entered a new era; they are conquering the heights of New Uzbekistan, having strong confidence, resilience, carefully thought-out plans for the near and long term and high consciousness.

III

Under the leadership of the President, New Uzbekistan is transforming into a state aimed at ensuring a free, comfortable and prosperous life for its people.

The effective results of this work can be seen in the recognition of authoritative government and political figures, experts and analysts. Most importantly, democratic changes in Uzbekistan are not being carried out to please anyone, not so that someone will praise us, not for the sake of getting into various ratings, but, on the contrary, for the sake of today’s decent life and happy future of our people, in the name of national interests.

Frankly speaking, the state and authorities have been far from people's lives for many years. There is nothing to hide: earlier it was worth mentioning the khokim or the minister, they seemed to us some kind of higher beings. Because they were cut off from the people, both ministries and local authorities were separated by an iron fence. It was impossible not only to approach neither the minister nor the hokim, but even to see them.

Today officials came to the people. The President explains this process in very popular language: go from top to bottom...

Yes, that is right! The state and its bodies must first of all serve the people. Only state power built on the basis of these principles can rightfully become truly popular and democratic. The political, legal, socio-economic, spiritual and educational foundations of such a state and society will be strong and durable. For this reason, improving the lives of the people, timely and effective solutions to their problems, increasing the level and quality of their lives was identified as the main goal of all reforms.

In our country, the activities of government bodies are becoming more open and transparent. Senators and deputies, ministers and khokims, officials at all levels meet with citizens, solve their problems not on paper, but in practice. Government bodies are open both to the people as a whole and to each citizen, they actively communicate with them. The presence of forced labor, in particular child labor, unemployment, poverty, problems related to education, medicine, as well as housing problems of the population is openly recognized. They are consistently eliminated. And, as a result, people have already felt that justice and piety are not only literary concepts from books, but also real components of their lives.

As soon as the head of our state, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, took up the duties of President on September 8, 2016, the first thing he did was establish the activities of people’s reception rooms. These structures removed the wall between the people and the state. The pain of the people began to reach the head of state directly. As a result, without any color, people's real lives and their real problems were exposed. This allowed the head of state to develop specific measures for the improvement and development of society.

IV

Today we all see and feel that the economic system of our country is being completely rebuilt. No matter how difficult it was, we began to implement market mechanisms in practice. As they say, first economics, then politics. We couldn't talk about spirituality and enlightenment without getting the economy back on its feet. We began work in this direction by solving the problems of the population. As a result, today many pressing issues have been resolved with cashing out money from plastic cards through ATMs, differences in national currency exchange rates on the black market and in banks, purchasing foreign currency, obtaining citizenship, purchasing and registering housing and property in any region of Uzbekistan.

The reforms had a positive impact on the interests of all segments of the population: entrepreneurs received freedom and new opportunities to develop their business, farmers and cluster farmers became the real owners of their crops. Meanwhile, in the recent past, we could not take a single step without instructions from above. It got to the point where we grew cotton on the roofs of our houses, but this did not improve our lives.

The worst thing is, even after the “Morning of Freedom” we praised - independence, not to mention the Soviet system, we could not abandon child and female labor; just yesterday our defenseless children and helpless women were driven to cotton fields...

In those years, millions of people were required to mobilize to pick cotton. Among them were not only children. In addition to them, educational and medical workers, workers and employees of all enterprises and organizations, and any person who was able to pick cotton were called up for “shock labor.” At this time, education, medicine and all other strategically important areas were relegated to the background, since cotton was a policy, the dominant value of the country's socio-economic ideology. Moreover, such a rotten system was in effect: if the collector was unable to collect the norm established by the boss, he covered the “debt” with his own money...

Telling and putting on paper our past days, I couldn’t help but think: do some of our people value what we have today, literally yesterday, with their card in hand, they were looking for acquaintances from the bank or “enterprising benefactors” from higher offices in order to cash out money ready as gratitude, give up to 30 percent of the money received for this selfless service? But these are just flowers. Let us remember our valiant workers, representatives of science, production workers, diligently investing knowledge and strength into the prosperity and progress of their country; after all, they, too, remained in the fields until late autumn in search of cotton stalks stuck in the beds. Just yesterday, these issues were the most painful problems of our society and reached the highest point of injustice.

True, today this miserable and colorless way of life has changed. But this did not happen on its own. And it didn't fall from the sky. Why do we quickly forget and not appreciate this?!

Well, let's not digress from the main topic. Today, when it comes to economic reforms, we can say with confidence that the development of tourism, reform of the tax system, liberalization of the foreign exchange market, elimination of problems associated with cash, changes in the banking and financial sector, international financial transactions are implemented on the basis of world standards. Most importantly, the foreign exchange market has been liberalized. After all, we have been restricting the free conversion of currency for a long time. Now enterprises can freely purchase foreign currency to carry out import operations. Meanwhile, the old economic model was entirely based on the virtual absence of conversion, and the conversion system was the most corrupt area. Figuratively speaking, this was the core of the old model.

At the same time, without irony, I want to say that today few people remember these realities of the past and all the positive transformations in our lives. Why? Because here, too, the classic values inherent in our mentality come into play: “good things are quickly forgotten.” But it was precisely because of problems with conversion that many entrepreneurs were forced to cease their activities. Thousands upon thousands of jobs were lost as a result.

Many of our people do not know and do not understand that the difficulties that we are experiencing today are, of course, the inevitable consequences of our previous mistakes and shortcomings. Unfortunately, there are few scientists and specialists who could interpret and reveal them.

As a person far from economics, I imagine it this way: yes, there were rails and cars, but the problem was that this structure was committed to standing still. She limited herself. It was firmly fenced. And there was an urgent need for external influence to set it in motion. This, so to speak, was a liberal policy in the economy.

There is a popular saying: “Better late than never.” Indeed, it is better to be late than never. Today our economy is slowly rising, the train has started moving. And the first picture that people saw has been created today, and everything possible is being done for our entrepreneurs. Their free business is under close attention and personal control of the head of state. An example of this is the annual dialogue between the President and entrepreneurs that has become traditional.

I have witnessed and lived with these problems, and I want to share my thoughts. For many years I ran a battery plant in Jizzakh. And in my activities I directly encountered the problem of both cash and conversion. It was, to put it mildly, real pain, hell for an entrepreneur, a businessman. I will never forget, and when I remember, my heart hurts: from midnight to early morning, various meetings and conference calls were held, where big officials, important people argued until they were hoarse, shouted at each other, quarreled in order to somehow resolve the issue of cash, business It even got to the point of assault. And the issue of conversion was even more acute and more destructive for the economy.

To increase jobs at my factory and improve the quality of products, I personally found foreign partners, brought them from abroad and installed modern equipment, but when the time came to close the loan for equipment in foreign currency, we had to blush with shame in front of our foreign partners. Since converting foreign currency earnings was a big headache. And if you miraculously managed to get foreign currency, be so kind as to share it with the state: give it exactly half. That was the order. This situation was not only with us, other enterprises, business people, production workers - everyone faced this “national tribute”. That is why production lagged behind, foreign investors stopped investing and, as mentioned above, our cars could not move.

Our President knew this problem very well and experienced this pain himself. That is why he personally took control of these issues. The first thing he did in the economic sphere was the liberalization of the foreign exchange market, and the second most important innovation was monetary reform. Moreover, a legal framework was created that opened the gates for free activity for businessmen and entrepreneurs, for their protection, and to support the economy. As a result of these efforts, many foreign investors returned to Uzbekistan.

According to economic law generally accepted throughout the world, in order to become a full participant in international trade relations, a mandatory condition must first be fulfilled. This condition is free conversion. Only countries that are participants in international trade relations can participate in the international division of labor and enjoy the resulting benefits and privileges.

The country's population is growing by 2% annually and is projected to reach 40 million by 2030. To maintain peace and stability in such a large country, to create decent conditions for people, the economy, governance, education and medicine must be updated, there must be growth and development in all areas.

I can say with full responsibility that the “Uzbekistan-2030” strategy adopted by the Decree of the head of state serves precisely these goals. Thanks to consistent reforms, the volume of foreign investment in fixed assets and loans increased 5 times compared to previous years and exceeded $16 billion in 2017-2023.

A real class of entrepreneurs has formed, which has become a real force in society, a driver of reforms. As a result, gross domestic product has increased in recent years from US$52.9 billion in 2018 to US$90.9 billion in 2023. The purchasing power of the population and the average monthly salary have increased almost 1.6 times compared to 2018 and today amount to 375.1 US dollars.

Now, relying on the existing potential, we are setting even higher goals. By 2030, the economy is expected to more than double - up to 160 billion dollars, expanding GDP per capita from the current 2,496 to 4 thousand US dollars. As a result, Uzbekistan should be among the countries with upper middle income.

To achieve these goals, first of all, it is necessary to develop industry based on advanced technologies. At the same time, labor productivity will double. To this end, large projects have long been launched jointly with foreign partners with a total value of $115 billion. In particular, strategic megaprojects will be launched in the coming years. Three copper processing plants and a new copper smelter will begin operating in Almalyk, a copper processing cluster in Akhangaran, large chemical-polymer clusters in Navoi, Kungrad and Karakul, enterprises for the production of finished products with high added value in the Tashkent and Navoi regions from phosphate rocks, in Teginbulak and Gallyaaral - metallurgical complexes. Thanks to this, by 2030, the production of copper, necessary to obtain a highly profitable product, will increase by 3.5 times, gold - by 1.5 times, silver and uranium - by 3 times.

For the first time in the history of Uzbekistan, we will begin the production of aluminum, lithium, steel and graphite. These raw materials can be used to make hundreds of new products, including cars, electronics, green energy devices, chemicals and polymers. This means the creation of 2.5 million high-paying jobs. As the President noted in his election program, projects of 4 prestigious foreign companies will be launched in the near future, real competition will appear in the automotive industry, and annual production volume will be increased from the current 350 thousand to 1 million units. 300,000 electric vehicles will be produced per year. Overall, added value in industry will increase from 20 to 45 billion US dollars.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to note that the future of industry and the economy lies in exports. In recent years, thousands of new enterprises have been opened in the leather and footwear, textile, food, electrical and pharmaceutical sectors. As a result, the volume of exports increased 1.5 times and exceeded 20 billion US dollars. Considering the high costs of entering foreign markets, the strategy is aimed at increasing the production of high-tech, highly profitable, export-oriented products.

V

Our country has created a completely new and unique system for solving social problems. It is important that the new version of the Constitution enshrines as a basic norm the principle of “New Uzbekistan - a social state”, aimed at further glorifying human dignity and ensuring a prosperous life for current and future generations. In a social state, an important goal of sustainable development is to support the population in need of social protection, reduce poverty and unemployment, support youth and women's entrepreneurship, ensure the constant development of education, healthcare, the spiritual and cultural sphere, effective social insurance, prevent social inequality and sharp social stratification population, creating decent living conditions for people.

Today, solving the problem of poverty in Uzbekistan plays a special role in social policy. The active fight against it began in 2020, when the President officially recognized it for the first time. To provide targeted support to the population in need, databases have been created. Since 2021, a mechanism for registering low-income families has been introduced by including them in the “Unified Register of Social Protection” information system. In 2022, assistant khokims, youth leaders and women’s activists began working in 9.5 thousand mahallas. With the assistance of the khokim's assistants, hundreds of thousands of people were employed. In 2017, 500 thousand low-income families received social assistance, and today this figure is more than 2.5 million. The amount of allocated funds increased seven times and reached 13 trillion soums per year.

Thanks to the measures taken, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the poverty level in our country in 2021-2023 decreased from 17% to 11%, about 1.6 million citizens got out of poverty. The decisive factor in achieving such results is a systematic and far-sighted policy aimed at training the population in modern professions, creating suitable jobs for them, and comprehensive support for entrepreneurship.

Poverty reduction is a complex task that involves awakening the entrepreneurial spirit of the population, preparing for a profession and expanding the number of jobs. In this regard, special mention should be made of the so-called “iron notebook”, “women’s notebook”, “youth notebook”. After we began working with socially vulnerable segments of the population based on this system, many of our compatriots were not only able to improve the well-being of their families, but also created their own enterprises and became employers.

I remember how yesterday, three years ago, we went to Jizzakh as part of the “Women’s Notebook” program. In one of the mahallas of the Sharaf-Rashidov district we entered the house of a low-income family. Until now, this woman stands before my eyes, having lost her breadwinner and being left alone with four children in a large and gloomy courtyard, her eyes were full of helplessness and despair. We registered this family and immediately provided the necessary assistance.

Recently, on the way, I looked into this mahalla and stopped in front of the door of a familiar house. The walls are whitewashed, the gates are painted, the house is cozy. The yard itself has changed. A neat greenhouse has appeared in place of the empty plot, greenery grows everywhere. Met with the owner. A confident woman stood in front of me - a firm gait, lively eyes. When we offered her help, she kindly said: “Our state, our President saved me from the abyss. In those years when you came to my house, I was in despair, I could not explain my state of mind. Everything around me seemed hopeless, I could not find a way out. After all, being left alone with four children... Your loved ones will help you once or twice, everyone has their own concerns. In such difficult days, Allah sent you to me. Thanks to your help, I built a greenhouse, tidied up my garden plot, got livestock and began to receive income from all this. With the money I earned, I bought sewing machines and provided jobs for five young women in our mahalla...”

To be honest, meeting this woman lifted my spirits. Since I myself saw that the things started by the President are gradually bearing fruit, for desperate people this is a living elixir. Of course, I only told about one case, one family and one woman. Meanwhile, there are a lot of women in the country who, thanks to such social projects, have firmly stood on their feet, filled their lives with meaning and benefit society.

When it comes to social protection, it is worth noting that the interests of pensioners are also reliably protected. Currently (as of January 1, 2023), about 12.4 percent of the population of Uzbekistan (4.5 million people) receive pensions and benefits. Recently, their number has been growing by 200-250 thousand per year. As their ranks grew, it became clear that some changes needed to be made to the system. One of the pressing problems of pensioners before 2017 was that they did not receive money in cash. On February 1 of the same year, this issue was resolved: pensions and benefits began to be issued in any form - in cash or through a plastic card.

Another positive change in the pension system occurred in 2019. The maximum salary for calculating pensions was increased from 8 BRV to 10 BRV. As a result, pensions increased for 531 thousand citizens. Moreover, from January 1 of the same year, working pensioners began to receive their pension in full.

On January 1, 2023, the maximum salary for calculating pensions was raised from 10 BRV to 12 BRV.

VI

Science, education and upbringing are the cornerstone of development and the force that makes a country powerful and a nation great. This is an undeniable truth. That is why in Uzbekistan a lot of effort and money is directed towards the comprehensive development of the education system and the training of qualified personnel. In this process, a lot of work has been done to improve the status of teachers. As mentioned above, teachers and students were freed from any type of forced labor, more precisely, free labor, such as cotton picking, field work, landscaping and construction work.

We all know well that an unfair approach to the education system forced many male teachers to leave their jobs, humiliated the honor and dignity of the teacher, and damaged his authority. As a result, no matter how rude it may sound, school and children's education and upbringing remained in the hands of women teachers. Meanwhile, everyone who raises a child in a family knows how important it is for children to be raised by a father, a man, and we realize that the outcome of such a situation could be sad.

So why did male teachers leave school? The answer is simple: the money they earned by teaching children was not enough to live on. Think for yourself, a teacher is at school from morning to evening, and the salary is not enough for his needs. Is there a more severe humiliation for a person who is the head and breadwinner of a family?! Many of us remember well not only school teachers, but also university teachers and scientists who quit their jobs and went to the Hippodrome to feed their families.

Of course, I don’t say all this reproachfully, and I don’t want to humiliate anyone. That was the time then. And no one was protected from such a fate.

Today, if a person is honest and conscientious, he must admit that the situation in the field of education has improved. Thanks to the attention paid to the school, teachers return to their favorite profession. The state pays great attention to their material and moral support. In particular, in recent years, the monthly salary of school teachers has increased by 2.5 times, and the teaching staff of higher education - by 4 times. Today, hundreds of teachers teach in regular rural schools and receive salaries of thousands of dollars.

Let's look at this situation using the example of the work of university professors. In 2016, they received a salary of about 2 million soums, and from December 1, 2023, this amount reached 11 million 148 thousand soums. In addition, teachers are paid an additional 60 percent of the budget for an academic degree. Overall, no one can deny that the education sector today has become an arena of great reforms.

Take, for example, the system of presidential schools, which has emerged in the same field in recent years. Such a system of primary education, corresponding to world standards, has now been created in all regions. And the most gratifying thing is that their graduates receive grants for admission to the most prestigious universities in the world. Thanks to these reforms, private education has developed in our country; there are now more than 383 private schools and over 65 non-state higher educational institutions.

The number of universities in our country has exceeded 210. Among them there are branches of prestigious universities around the world. Enrollment in higher education increased from 9% to 42%.

I can’t help but remember the sad episodes that took place in the education system in those days; today we have almost forgotten about them. Just 8 years ago, with the arrival of spring, our capital and cities where there are universities were filled with parents of applicants with money in their bags. The goal is to arrange for the child to study. Nobody believed in such concepts as knowledge, justice, luck. Everyone knew that nothing could be solved without money. The children themselves knew this. There were reasons for this. Firstly, the education sector was the most corrupt, and secondly, the number of existing universities was not proportional to the number of graduates. Today education is available to many. An applicant can apply to several universities at the same time and become a student in one of them.

And who remembers these changes today?!

It is appropriate to say here that today the issues of construction of modern schools and reconstruction of old ones are also under the special control of the President. Now, even in the most remote villages, not a single school remains, which was once built of clay and stones, with a ceiling blackened by dust and smoke.

Let's face it. After all, until recently, our children studied in buildings where today people are afraid to even enter. And who can take it upon themselves to say that all this was achieved easily, without much difficulty?! Unfortunately, very often we do not pay special attention to such things, we quickly forget all the good things that have been done, people have short memories.

Another important detail of education is the preschool education system. Frankly, in Soviet times this system was not at such a high level and was far from perfect, but there was a certain order here. Even in villages there were such concepts as nurseries and kindergartens. Women sent their children there and had the opportunity to work in government jobs or do other things. This process was interrupted during the years of independence. Such institutions in cities and villages began to close, and their buildings and land areas were sold under the hammer.

And the most interesting thing is that a whole generation, especially in rural areas, seems to have forgotten what a kindergarten is. This concept has even disappeared from our everyday vocabulary. But even here we could not resist making false loud promises, without a twinge of conscience asserting that “we must create conditions for rural women; in the modern world, she must work, take care of herself and have equal conditions with urban women.” And it never occurred to anyone that a rural woman has three or four children, whom she has no one to leave if she goes to work. Moreover, in television programs they began to give emotional lessons in ethics and aesthetics, to hammer into the head that a rural woman should also take care of herself, dress well, this, you see, is an important factor in the strength of the family. Honestly, this is how it is, there is no mistake: every woman deserves to be beautiful and happy. However, this requires appropriate conditions, which no one could provide them.

After 2016, these problems began to be resolved without unnecessary fuss, endless socio-economic comments, explanations and discussions. In my opinion, they were more focused on quickly solving the problem, and not for the sake of PR and enthusiastic applause. Thanks to these efforts, the number of preschool educational institutions increased 6 times in subsequent years. There has been a significant increase in private sector participation in the industry. Hundreds of family kindergartens have been organized in remote and hard-to-reach areas. As a result, the enrollment rate of children in preschool educational institutions reached 74.3 percent. Measures are now being taken to raise this figure to 80% by 2025.

Most importantly, according to the “Education 2030” concept adopted in Uzbekistan, reforms continue consistently.

However, there is one point that surprises me, there are many changes in the education system, the authority of teachers, professors and academicians is growing, so why doesn’t our intelligentsia talk about them, or their conversations do not go beyond a narrow circle?! After all, who, if not them, should know and understand better the situation that existed 7-8 years ago?

VII

In our country, special attention is paid to providing the population with qualified medical care. Evidence of this is that in subsequent years, funds allocated from the budget for the healthcare sector increased from 7.3 to 24.7 trillion soums, the average monthly salary of doctors - from 1131.2 to 3282.7 thousand soums, wages of nurses - from 692.1 to 2008.6 thousand soums. Funds allocated from the budget for medicines and medical products increased from 0.4 to 1.8 trillion soums, the number of universities in the medical field - from 7 to 9, private medical organizations - from 4000 to 7010.

It is known that disease prevention is more effective and beneficial for both the family and the state than its treatment. Therefore, the development of preventive medicine in the country began to be given priority attention. First of all, primary health care, the ambulance and emergency medical care system will be reformed. The healthcare system is brought closer to the population through the creation of a “khonadonbai” patronage service in each makhalla. In 2022 alone, 136 family medicine centers and family clinics, as well as more than 1,000 makhalla medical centers, were created in remote areas. The amount of funds for 70 types of medicines, which are distributed free of charge to the population by family doctors, has increased 3 times compared to previous years. As a result of the creation of day hospitals in family clinics, 740 thousand people gained the opportunity to receive treatment directly at their place of residence, without going to hospitals.

The scope of qualified and technologically advanced medical services is expanding. First of all, more than 100 branches of 25 specialized medical centers have opened in all regions of the republic. As a result, surgical interventions and 200 types of diagnostics, which were previously carried out only in the capital, are now carried out in local clinics. Over 130 types of surgical interventions were introduced for the first time in regional clinics, and 60 types in district clinics. The monthly salary of medical workers has increased by 3.1 times, and they are no longer forced into forced labor.

Most importantly, thanks to the measures taken, the average life expectancy of the population exceeded 74.7 years. The goal is to bring this figure in the future to 78 years.

Starting this year, it is planned to take the necessary measures to treat the 10 most common diseases at the level of primary health care, provide the population with a guaranteed medical package of 6 medical services free of charge, and continue work on free distribution of 7 types of vitamins, iodine and folic acid to women of childbearing age , pregnant women and children.

VIII

Creation and destruction are a confrontation inherent to man, and our ancestors, who have courageously walked along the paths of history since time immemorial, united by a single idea, have accumulated a great deal of life experience in this regard. Do you know what our people have not experienced, how many great conquerors over the centuries have been unable to defeat them?! Thanks to wise rulers, sometimes our people lived in peace, the country prospered, and sometimes our dreams and goals were destroyed in a whirlwind of oppression and ignorance.

The subsequent life of the peoples of the countries of Central Asia, located at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road, falls on the pages of history as a new era of good neighborliness, mutual trust and cooperation thanks to the initiatives of Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Today we should rightfully be proud that we are not only observers, but also active participants in such a historical period.

I have set out my thoughts on this topic in many of my articles and will not tire of supporting the far-sighted policy of our President. These thoughts, historical facts, worthy of becoming a leitmotif and clearly demonstrating the political will of Shavkat Mirziyoyev, can be formulated as follows: for our ancestors, good neighborly relations have been a value since ancient times. It is appropriate to recall the wise sayings passed down from generation to generation: “If your neighbor is calm, so are you,” “A close neighbor is better than a distant relative.”

However, these concepts, established and confirmed by history, did not become the principle of our life. Countries in the region that have a common language, religion and culture are becoming strangers against the backdrop of political ideologies and intrigues, and the language of mutual trust, friendship and neighborliness that once united them is turning into a sharp language of diplomatic sarcasm and slander. Moreover, in the relations between the countries of the region, this mood of people has formed the so-called “hate speech”. Let's leave other countries aside. What was the situation in our country eight years ago with our close neighbors, border and customs inspections? There is no need to talk about trade and cultural ties; they did not exist.

This was a difficult test for Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who made it a priority of his foreign and domestic policy to break down iron fences, make Uzbekistan an open country, especially to bring warmth to frozen relations with the countries of the region. Meanwhile, for us, those bygone days, like a film with a sharp plot, scrolling before our eyes, having a favorable ending, acquire special historical value and awaken in us special feelings of involvement.

After all, it’s no secret that in all corners of our country the traditions of matchmaking, kinship and brotherhood are closely intertwined with an inextricable bond between our peoples. But we remember and cannot deny that such values were lost during the cold period of relations. I remember in those days there was an order to completely remove the railway that ran through the territory of Tajikistan from Tashkent to the Fergana Valley, and to plant trees in its place. The order was carried out. I don’t have to name the reason, everyone knows it: cold relationships. Meanwhile, no one thought then about how much the economy suffered, how many people felt pain because of this political decision.

By the way, about the fate of people. When I wrote these lines, I felt with all my heart the pain and bitterness for the thousands of people who died as a result of explosions in the mountainous border areas that were mined after the civil war in a neighboring country. It was because of the cold relations that this territory, called the field of hell, was not cleared and caused fear and anxiety among people for many years. Such stubborn determination in politics has damaged not only economic and political, but also social relations between our peoples.

For example, families living in the border villages of the Fergana Valley and oasis regions had to cross several borders and travel hundreds of kilometers to go to weddings or funerals in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. After all, they lived so close that they heard each other’s voices, used water from the same stream, they only had to pass through one or two mahallas or villages to meet and hug each other.

We saw a lot of grief and suffering of people who, due to difficulties crossing the border, for many years could not see their relatives, share their joys and sorrows, or see someone off on their last journey. When you see how for many years parents lived in anticipation of seeing their children, worried about them, you will feel with all your soul that there is no greater suffering than helplessness and powerlessness. When the borders opened, people were finally able to see their loved ones, whom they missed and loved. Finally, their pain subsided, the roads were opened for them to attend their relatives’ weddings and travel.

The head of our state raised a problem, the solution of which requires great political will. He began to resolve issues that can only be resolved through joint efforts, such as borders, water bodies, and the use of transboundary rivers.

It is appropriate to note that our region, located in an important zone from a geopolitical point of view, has always been at the center of the interests of world powers, and most of them assessed the rapprochement of states as a negative factor for their influence on these countries. The peoples of Turkestan, divided at the beginning of the last century by Soviet power along ethnic lines, even after gaining independence, could not get out of the quagmire of separatism, discord and nationalism.

It is for this reason that the famous American politician and statesman Zbigniew Brzezinski was probably right when he introduced the concept of “Eurasian Balkans” into geopolitical terminology.

“....The word “Balkans” in Europe,” he says, “immediately brings to mind scenes of ethnic conflicts, and one recalls scandals between the major countries of this region. Eurasia also has its own Balkans, but the Eurasian Balkans are much larger, more densely populated, and more ethnically diverse. They are located over a very large area that forms the central zone of global instability and includes parts of Southeast Europe, Central Asia, parts of South Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

The scientist includes nine countries in this composition, and five of them are countries of our region. Of course, we understand what Brzezinski meant. As he rightly suggests, during the years of independence, several conflicts of an ethnic nature have occurred in our region over the division of territory and water resources. And, unfortunately, most of them took the form of bloody clashes. However, twenty-five years after independence, both social and political life here has changed. For Brzezinski, we can say that the political climate brought to the region by Shavkat Mirziyoyev may bring changes in his views.

I would like to give one impressive example. Last year, in an interview with the Kabar agency, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov firmly expressed his position against some destructive forces that misinterpret and mislead people on the issue of the Kampirabad reservoir, and stated:

...Now let me get to the most important question. Does it matter to us how the Uzbek side receives water, which already flows to Uzbekistan? It doesn't matter through pipelines, rivers or air. The important thing is that every action must be mutually agreed upon.

From now on, the Kyrgyz-Uzbek friendship will be strong. No one can break our bonds of friendship except Allah.

This is why we must ask the Almighty to always live in peace.

All kinds of experts, analysts and politicians who closely follow political and economic relations between neighboring countries know very well that we had an almost 25-year conflict with Kyrgyzstan over water and border issues, and it remained unresolved for a long time. Today all these problems have been solved. And the most gratifying thing is that politics has changed, our views have found harmony.

To confirm my idea about the growing trend of rapprochement between the countries of the region, I would like to give one more short quote. It belongs to the head of Kazakhstan, Kasym-Jomart Tokayev. On May 16, 2024, at the first meeting of the secretaries of the security councils of the Central Asian states, which took place in his country, he stated:

We are pleased to note that the situation has changed dramatically towards strengthening cooperation and mutual trust.

I can say with full responsibility: literally 10 years ago there was no such situation in the Central Asian region.

Today, not only heads of state, heads of government, secretaries of security councils, heads of law enforcement agencies, but also people heading economic departments are in close cooperation with each other. This is a very good indicator that the situation in the Central Asian region is moving towards sustainable development.

Indeed, in recent years, not only our peoples and political elite, but also external observers - all kinds of politicians and analysts have noticed and recognized changes in the region. Thus, Jennifer Brik Murtazashvili, director of the Center for Management and Markets at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, said last year in an interview with foreign media: “... the time has come to see Central Asia as it is. This is no longer the post-Soviet space. This is Eurasia. I think that Central Asia was viewed through the prism of the post-Soviet space, it was not viewed as the heart of the Eurasian supercontinent...”

Considering that she is an expert who has studied Central Asia for a long time, it is clear that her claim has some validity and weight. But how did these great changes happen, which are recognized by both the leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and American scientists, and how were such results achieved? Although it is often not customary to talk about this openly, the whole world and all the peoples of the region are well aware of who is behind these actions. These processes are connected with the personality and political will of Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

When it comes to our peoples, who have lived in our neighborhood for thousands of years, one point must be openly acknowledged: thanks to the wise policy of the head of our state, warm relations have developed between neighboring countries, which are reflected in the lives and moods of people. For example, when our country’s football players won a license for the Paris Olympics, social networks thundered with praise and good wishes for them. I was very pleased that among the well-wishers were thousands of Kazakhs, Tajiks, Turkmen and Kyrgyz. Their sincerity showed that relations between our countries and peoples are strengthening in the true sense.

Indeed, sincerity begets sincerity. Since our peoples, who just ten years ago cast contemptuous glances at each other, today rejoice at the victory of their neighbor and brother, this can be called, in the language of sociologists, a historical reform in an unstable ethnic context. In fact, even in the recent past, discrimination, violation of honor and cynicism were, in a certain sense, our way of life...

IX

Of course, it is impossible to fully cover the foreign, domestic and regional policies of the head of state in one article. Therefore, I briefly touched on some reforms and historical updates. And I realized that this process allows us to clearly present a vivid image of the Leader of our Nation - a political portrait.

We started the article with a quote from our President. Of course there is a reason for this. At that meeting, the head of state, in my opinion, opened his heart to the people. He shared his dream with the people. These sincere words, coming from the depths of the soul, sounded like the President’s report to the people.

This fiery speech resonated in our hearts. I believe that the determination of the Leader of the Nation, who does not spare his life for the sake of the people, and his undying love for the Motherland and the nation will serve as a source of inspiration for all of us on the path to creating a bright future for New Uzbekistan.