Autocracy at Its Finest

This story from the New York Times reminds me of a lot of things that one of my roommates from my freshman year at UAH, Hurshidjon Shamstidnitov, told me about his home country, Uzbekistan. He had been sent here to study American business practices by the Uzbek government and by his father, who, if I’m not mistake, owns the local Daewoo automobile plant mentioned in the story.

Hurshi and I talked long into the night once about economic conditions under the Soviet system and the present regime. “Things are better,” he said, “but not as they should be. With the Soviets, you got paid the same whether you worked hard or just showed up, so everyone just showed up and was paid. That’s why I’m here, to learn American business practices and take them home to support the work ethic my people want to have.”

I just wish they’d get rid of their dictator. But it’s impossible: he may be holding them down, but Hurshi swears that he’s a beloved man in his country. I remember one of our Russian students saying some nasty things about Karimov to Hurshi, and my normally very quiet roommate looked made enough to rip him apart limb from limb. -sigh-