Before the Friendship of Peoples Palace in Tashkent is the the International Friendship monument, This was erected in memory of the Shamakhmudov family who adopted 15 orphans in the Great Patriotic War and became a symbol of the generosity and humanism of the Uzbek people.
When Tashkent women appealed to the women of Uzbekistan to adopt children evacuated from all over the Soviet Union in the first months of the Great Patriotic War, blacksmith Shaakhmed Shamakhmudov and his wife Bakhri Akhmedova adopted 15 orphans - Russians, Belarussians, a Moldovan, Ukrainian, Latvian, Kazakh, Tatar, and others.
The Shamakhmudovs gave the children what they lacked - a genuine home and family. They became prototypes of the main characters of Rakhmat Faizi's novel "His Majesty, Man" and movie "You Are Not An Orphan".
In the evening of April 12 night workmen with rock-drills and hammers and JCB's dismantled the statue to replace it with a flower bed. The author of this story of vandalism asked the civvy wearing boss where it was to go, and was told it was being moved to Chilanzar (one of the city blocks in the outskirts).
This news which was re-posted (By Oleg Panfilov)has elicited a fascinating story related to Mr Shamakhmudov who was evidently a blacksmith . The story is lengthy and is related here at Global Voices.Diana Makarova, a Kiev-based journalist - read about the dismantling of the Tashkent monument related the story of one of the children he saved , Fyodor Kulchanovsky, and the role her own father played in helping the war orphan find his biological family. (Full story in Rusian here)
The 4 years old Fyodor arrived from the Ukraine in Tashkent with a notebook that stored his personal info, entered in someone's handwriting. At the orphanage, the contents of the notebook were copied when they created [Fyodor's] personal file. But they misread the handwriting. Fyodor was Kulchanovsky - but was turned into Kulchakovsky. And then blacksmith Shamakhmudov came to the orphanage and took Fyodor in. There were 16 adopted kids living in the blacksmith's house, I guess. Though they now say there were 15 of them.
This simple transliteration of his name provided a major obstacle which her father finally resolved and Fyodor was able to meet his 104 year old granny just before she died .. and then the rest of his family and he moved finally from Tashkent to Rostov.
EU suspends travel restrictions on Uzbek Ministers
In October The European Union agreed to suspend travel restrictions on four members of the Uzbek regime and since then the USAF have been allowed to use Termez airbase for NATO operations in Afghanistan. Tonight Channel 4 report that next Tuesday they will vote again - and Channel 4 News has learned they will confirm that suspension, despite Uzbekistan's failure to comply with many of the EU's demands on Human rights. However pressure , especially from Germany (who maintain an airbase ) who want access to minerals and gas overrides any concern about the Andijan massacre and human rights concerns.
Body boiler Karimov appointed his daughter Gulnara Karimova deputy Finance Minister on Feb 1st ...days later Saidjahon Zainabiddinov, Umida Niazova, Karim Bazarbaev and Ikhtior Hamroev were freed , (between February 2 and 4), under a general prison amnesty announced at the end of November.
Human Rights Watch suspects , that the releases were timed to coincide with a February 5th meeting between officials from Uzbekistan and the European Union, with which Tashkent is gradually trying to win favour. Zainabiddinov, the longest-serving of those released, is a leading human rights activist who was sentenced to seven years in jail in January 2006.
Zainabbiddinov spoke out to foreign media after Andijan . Not only did he witness the shootings he also saw the corpses being taken away in trucks the following day. He appeared on the Moscow-based NTV channel holding up massive cartridge casings from large-calibre shells gathered from the square where most of the killings took place – hard evidence that armoured vehicles had turned their guns on civilians.
Unlike other eyewitnesses and alleged participants, Zainabiddinov did not go on trial until early in 2006. His family did not see him for several months beforehand, and it was several days before anyone knew the trial had started. It was clear the government regarded his case as particularly embarrassing and wanted it shielded from publicity.
This amnesty included the well-known human rights activist and journalist Umida Niazova. She was given a seven-year jail sentence last May, after being convicted of illegally crossing the Uzbek border and of smuggling and distributing "dangerous material".
Once again, this apparently illicit material related to Andijan, in the shape of a published human rights report on the tragedy.Following an international outcry, Niazova’s sentence was changed to a suspended one a week later, and she was conditionally released.
Ikhtior Hamroev, sentenced to three years for “hooliganism” in September 2006, and Karim Bazarbaev, a member of the Ezgulik human rights group who was three months into a six-year sentence for slander, a criminal offence in Uzbekistan. Hamroev’s case is revealing – human rights groups believed he was jailed to punish his father Bakhtior for his work with the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan.
The amnesty followed a high-profile visit to Tashkent of the EU’s special representative for Central Asia, Pierre Morel, who conveyed congratulations to Karimov for his triumph in the December presidential election. See Thursday, January 31, 2008 US launches 2 pronged diplomatic assault on Central Asian republics - Afghanistan poppies and pipelines