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Uzbekistan: Tashkent, a green city. Or not?

Old trees are cut down in the center of Tashkent – the shocking news was spread in the city within a day.


Photo by goricvet

Planetrees, or platanus, planted at the end of the 19th century, were cut down in the public garden named after Amir Temur (Tamerlane) in Tashkent last week. As officials say, the felling was carried out according to the plan of sanitary actions to be held in the city. However, it was visible that the trees were in good condition and well-attended.

Moreover, two old buildings located next to the public garden are being demolished. The first one is the recently renovated hotel “Poytakht” (“Capital” in Uzbek), which was built in the middle of the last century. The second one is the former Russian Orthodox Church that was erected for the Tashkent Teachers Seminary in 1898. A new administrative building is planned to be constructed there.

Joendax writes (rus):

I never worried about tress so much before. But on that day and several days after, I couldn’t believe it’s true. When I recall these memories I start crying, because I can not change anything.

How this can be explained? Many consider that the main reason of these actions is the new Forum Palace, built next to the public garden earlier this year. This was the subject of wide speculation among Uzbekistan bloggers.

So UNKNOWN wrote:

[…] there was a command on urgent dismantling of the central and the oldest telephone station in Tashkent, built in 1932. This was a surprise for the most of its workers and subscribers. At the same time they demolished the central bus station located near the telephone station. A new Forum Palace is planned to be built on this territory.

However, the Palace still provokes many questions among the public, especially concerning the expediency of such spending, the use of foreign labor force on the construction site against the background of wide unemployment in the country and other issues, including the ban on taking pictures of the building.

Now the Palace’s victims are old trees in front of it.

Some suppose that the monument to Amir Temur, located in the middle of the public garden, was the main reason for elimination of trees:

nashingyou comments with a bitter sarcasm (rus):

[…] Tashkent must always be young and fresh! What does it need the old tall and thick trees for? What does it need the old architectural monuments for? This is the past! For example, the public garden has been recently exterminated, so now tourists can see the horse of Amir Temur from afar.

On November 21 young activists held a protest against this vandalism.

They laid flowers and candles to the public garden’s fence, next to the Forum Palace. The action was to be held inside the garden, but entrance was closed by the police, while bulldozers were working there. Shortly after the action began, the police came to blew out candles and threw away flowers.

Blogger roost reports (rus):

Protest near the Amir Temur Square was held on Saturday. On the one hand, it was good, because it brought together a sufficient number of people. […] On the other hand, it was not successful, because most candles stood there only for a minute or so. As far as I know, nobody was detained.

2 comments

  • Uzbekistan Governments previous record proves that what ever they have done has been positive. We human beings love inertia and always resist the change. Older we get more we resist the change. I being an Expat living in Uzbekistan since last 17 years have witnessed the changes brought by the government because of clossal reconstruction. Uzbekistan Government is trying to put the country amongst the developed nations. Uzbekistan will always have history but progress it can achieve with some radical actions. Foreigners should concentrate more on stopping the US and European armies for killing the innocent people daily than making hue and cry for cutting trees in Tashkent.

  • PO

    According to the Uznews website, Karimov was furious when he saw Tashkent’s central park without its usual trees.. It seems he did not like the fact all of them were cut down. According to the website, his initial order was about making minor cutting-downs in the park in order to make the statue of Tamerlane visible from four angles. However, the city officials in charge, cut the whole park down instead. If the information is true, I have a question… How come, after being in power for about 20 years, the Uzbek president failed to establish an effective networking system that could guarantee the correct execution of his orders? How bad things should be in the country, if words of the President can be so easily misinterpreted/ deliberately misused?

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