Located in the hearth of Central Asia, a few kilometers from the border with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajiquistán, Tashkent has been since the beginning of its history a city of crossroads. Its name, meaning city of stone, clearly wants to make a difference between an urban center with a fixed position and a stable organization and, on the other hand, the nomadic camps and small towns that surround it. Oasis and reference point for travelers and caravans that crossed this region, Tashkent developed as an important center of trade between the Far East, the Turkic peoples of Central Asia and the West. Eventually it also became one of the key cities that Russian and British empires fought for, in what Kipling called the Great Game for the control of Central Asia. For these reasons its population has changed constantly, until in modern times when, after its conquest by Russia and large population movements in the Soviet Union, its inhabitants from being mostly local and muslim became predominantly Russian and christians. Today Tashkent is the capital of a country that reflects these historical and geographical peculiarities, which in some cases have led to major crises, such as the Andijan Massacre in 2005, where the government was responsible for the death of hundreds of civilians. While the civil war in Kyrgyzstan, closely related to the uzbek population in the nearby valley of Ferghana, still goes on, Farkhad Tolipov, professor of politics at the University of Tashkent, helps us to understand from its perspective the difficulties and challenges of a government that, 20 years after its creation, is in the position of having to organize a population so diverse and yet give the country a place among the new balances of Central Asia and the rising powers in East and West.

Interview with Farkhad Tolipov

BBC Andijon Documentary Trailer

White Gold - the true cost of cotton