Once part of the Persian Samanid and later Timurid empires, the region which today includes the Republic of Uzbekistan was conquered in the early 16th century by nomads who spoke an Eastern Turkic language. This region was subsequently incorporated into the Russian Empire in the 19th century, and in 1924 it became a boundaried constituent republic of the Soviet Union, known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR). It subsequently became the independent Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991 (officially, from the following day). Most of Uzbekistan’s population today belong to the Uzbek ethnic group and speak the Uzbek language, one of the family of Turkic languages.
Uzbekistan’s economy relies mainly on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, and natural gas. Despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, Uzbekistan continues to maintain economic controls, which deter foreign investment and imports and benefit domestic ‘import substitution’. The policy of a gradual, strictly controlled transition to the market economy has nevertheless produced beneficial results in the form of economic recovery after 1995. Uzbekistan’s domestic policies on human rights and individual freedoms have been criticised by some international organizations.
Tajikistan officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. It borders Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Pakistan has separated from Tajikistan by the narrow Wakhan Corridor in the south.
Most of Tajikistan’s population belongs to the Persian-speaking Tajik ethnic group, who share language, culture and history with Afghanistan and Iran. Once part of the Samanid Empire, Tajikistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in the 20th century, known as the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR). Mountains cover more than 90% of the republic. After independence, Tajikistan suffered from a devastating civil war which lasted from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy to grow. Trade in commodities such ascotton, aluminium and uranium has contributed greatly to this steady improvement.
Courtesy : BBC World, Simon Reeve, YouTube, Wikipedia
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