Military Review

New constitution in Uzbekistan. Social contract in exchange for investment

New constitution in Uzbekistan. Social contract in exchange for investment

On April 30, a referendum on amendments to the Constitution was held in Uzbekistan, and an updated version of the main law was adopted by an overwhelming majority (over 90%) of votes. Early presidential elections will be held in early July. The press (as with the elections in Kazakhstan) was primarily interested in the issue of extending the presidential term, but it seems that the topic of transforming the political system of one of the main countries of Central Asia should be considered much broader.

Of the five countries in the region that were previously part of the USSR, three have recently undergone significant changes in their political model: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The models themselves are not similar, but "vectorally" they are all aimed in one way or another at ensuring the political course for the next eight to ten years, and not declaratively, but supported by mechanisms of vertical controllability.

Kazakhstan has switched to a presidential-parliamentary model, in Turkmenistan the leader of the state has nominated his son to the presidency, who will not only gain the necessary experience, but also strengthen the general line of G. Berdimuhamedov with a guarantee for years. At the end of April, Uzbekistan finally fixed the “super-presidential” model with a very wide range of social and liberal (in the classical, not modern sense) obligations.

Already in July last year, Tashkent collected the main amendments, which eventually numbered two hundred and seventy, and it is quite possible that the reform would have officially passed a little earlier than this April, but the elites of Karakalpakstan actively opposed, where proposals affecting the status of this “republic in republic" ("Uzbekistan. New constitution and protests").

As a result, the norms were transferred in a new version to Art. 85–90, where the right to exit based on the results of a referendum remains, as well as the criteria by which Karakalpakstan independently determines its administrative-territorial division. They did not change anything there and simply took the issue of sub-republican status out of the discussion, transferring the issues of interaction in the power vertical to other sections.

The fact that the changes being introduced are considered by Tashkent as an extremely important act is also evidenced by the temporary relaxation of the migration regime, which we introduced at the request of our neighbor during the preparation and holding of the referendum.

Changes in the political model

And here we need to try to figure out which changes in the political model are significant, because with all the richness of the amendments, there is a feeling that, behind the backdrop of liberal norms, it was the governance structure that was poorly transformed. Understanding this will make it possible to determine the real goals and objectives that our neighbor sets for himself.

Indeed, in the previous version of the Constitution of Uzbekistan, the vertically integrated scheme was traced very well. Representatives of the judiciary and the prosecutor's corps are presented for approval by the President, as, by the way, the chairman of the upper house of Parliament. Khokims (heads) of the regions are approved at his request, heads of a lower level - at the request of the approved heads of regions, etc. The text includes such bodies as the Presidential Administration and the Accounts Chamber, but this is an institutionalization of what was before - the choice of candidates is so and remains with the President.

This is a pronounced super-presidential model, where the terms of government are shifted from five to seven years, and in the rest, with a few exceptions, the vertical is fixed, where does almost three hundred amendments come from? And here there are many such innovations that may be of interest to the Russian reader, including from the point of view of ideology, which the elites of the neighboring country are laying in the new version of the Constitution.

For example, for comparison, you can cite Art. 9 of our basic law: "1. Land and other natural resources are used and protected in the Russian Federation as the basis for the life and activities of the peoples living in the respective territory. 2. Land and other natural resources may be in private, state, municipal and other forms of ownership.”

Before the amendments, Uzbekistan also had Art. 65 "The land, its subsoil, water, flora and fauna and other natural resources are national wealth, subject to rational use and protected by the state".

But after the amendments, the article began to sound like this: “The land, its subsoil, water, atmospheric air, flora and fauna and other natural resources are national wealth, subject to rational use and are state-owned".

In the new Constitution of Uzbekistan, in general, there are many such new norms that it would not be superfluous to transfer to domestic soil. Yes, very interesting article. 52: “In the Republic of Uzbekistan, the work of a teacher is recognized as the basis for the development of society and the state, the formation and education of a healthy, harmoniously developed generation, the preservation and enhancement of the spiritual and cultural potential of the people”. Or Art. 78: "The state and society take care of the formation in children and youth of commitment to national and universal values, pride in the country".

Here we all can not decide on the ideology. Until now, statesmen cannot decide how to treat the Soviet heritage, as imperial, whether Rurik is Norman or Balt, they try to prescribe traditional values ​​for the people. But while a rich discussion has been going on for years about whether Stalin is “good” or “evil”, the work of a teacher in our country still remains a “service” for educating a “qualified consumer”, and the state, according to the basic law, only “establishes a guaranteed minimum size wages".

Expanded set of constitutional social guarantees

Some of the constitutional innovations of the neighbors are so interesting that the author would even recommend interested readers to familiarize themselves personally on the Internet with their complete list. No matter how it turned out that while we have been discussing questions from the series “what is good and what is bad” for years, our southern neighbors have bypassed us by three steps in this.

In this regard, it is not at all surprising for the author that even in those rather stingy reports about changes in the Constitution of Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan, we focus only on the terms of office of leaders. Because if observers start digging into these very hundreds of amendments, it suddenly turns out that from the point of view of the social vector, the Central Asian neighbors paradoxically go somewhere away from our version of understanding the capitalist formation, where at least everything is an imitation, except for money.

In the new constitution of the neighbors, for every rare amendment in terms of the administrative vertical, there are 13-15 related to the social sphere, humanitarian and ideological foundations, guarantees, etc. We have a pronounced version of the so-called. "social contract", where the vertical is approved from below, but in return the society receives a very expanded set of constitutional social guarantees.

However, this version of the new social consensus, which is proposed in the Constitution, also pursues investment goals. The fact is that Uzbekistan is faced with a shortage of such resources as water and electricity.

This winter, the region was covered by a full-fledged crisis, which the author wrote about in Military Review. Even joint projects with Rosatom will not cover all the growing needs, and in order to avoid very severe deficit scenarios by 2027 (forecast), investments are required in the project of a new energy and water circuit.

Such norms are designed to give a signal to investors that only the guarantor, the state, will negotiate on resources, and for the population, which perceives any change in the resource base as a very dangerous action, just state ownership of resources gives a certain peace of mind.

In this regard, an interesting innovation is the introduction into the management system of such a body as the Anti-Corruption Agency, the director of which is approved by the upper house of Parliament, on the proposal, of course, by the head of state, as well as such a form of reporting introduced into the Constitution as the “annual National report on combating corruption in the republic. Uzbekistan". It is presented along with the reports of the Accounts Chamber.

Countering corruption is always a blessing, but there is a peculiarity here. The fact is that such forms of separate specialized forms of anti-corruption institutions are the traditional recommendation of the IMF for “developing countries”. Here we can recall (although I don’t really want to do it today) Ukraine, where loans were strictly linked to the functioning of the NABU (anti-corruption bureau), as well as to the personalities that supervise this body.

In order to attract Chinese or Arab investments, the creation of such a body in this form is desirable, although not necessary, but if there is a focus on entering international (primarily Western) supranational lending platforms, then its creation looks more than justified.

Preparing for a massive investment cycle

This means that the neighbors will be preparing to attract large infrastructure investments along this line. In a way, this is a signal to China and the Arab countries about the lack of investment activity.

The issue of interaction with Karakalpakstan was also fairly carefully resolved, and this is one of the main issues from the point of view of the resource base, since natural gas is largely supplied from there. Resources owned by the state, the republican structure did not change, but they changed the scheme of participation of regional elites in management. The number of guaranteed seats in the Senate was reduced from 28 to 17, the proportions of the republic (and from the republican capital city) and the center were practically left, but a norm was introduced under which a representative of a sub-republican legislative body cannot be a senator at the same time.

Attention is drawn to the fact that the launch of constitutional reforms in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan took place almost simultaneously. In both cases, there was an extension of presidential terms and the consolidation of vertically integrated management schemes.

Enforcement mechanisms differ from model – in Kazakhstan it is more complex, but everywhere we see in the reforms a pronounced new social contract, large packages of social guarantees and even ideologically expressed social guarantees. All this, together with a very definite vector for the creation of a single regional space (and here again I would like to recall the new union forms, which have grown to official ones in a year). agreements), shows that the southern neighbors are purposefully preparing for a large-scale investment cycle.

It is interesting that, having solved the problems with borders, social stability - thus the “new social contract”, Central Asia can potentially claim the role of an investment haven, where excess financial assets can merge during a crisis period. That is, the game here is quite worth the candle.

Therefore, it is completely possible that, despite all the problems, when some of the elites in the West do not stop their favorite pastime: “set something on fire somewhere”, such projects may turn out to be a priority for many large investment structures. And the Russian market is now de facto blocked for them.

So it is possible that we will see similar schemes of large social contracts in exchange for controllability and at least a ten-year stability of the power model in other countries of Central Asia.

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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 16 May 2023 05: 36
    An updated version of the Basic Law was adopted by an overwhelming majority (over 90%) of votes.
    In unison..
    1. Civil
      Civil 16 May 2023 07: 03
      constitution in Uzbekistan

      These are incompatible words, an oxymoron, such as "speed stump" or "iPhone for crucian" laughing
      In the eastern despotisms, the law depends on whom. For example, he does not work at all for the current padishah and his relatives. laughing
      However, the Uzbeks are satisfied with this)
      1. Aleksandr21
        Aleksandr21 16 May 2023 17: 49
        Quote: Civil
        In the eastern despotisms, the law depends on whom. For example, he does not work at all for the current padishah and his relatives.
        However, the Uzbeks are satisfied with this)

        The same can be said about our country :) Is the law strong in relation to those close to the first person, and his relatives? The question is understandably rhetorical.

        But the trend among our neighbors (especially Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan) is interesting... until recently in the same Kazakhstan there was a personality cult of Nazarbayev, and how everything was played out when Tokaev took power into his own hands... a redistribution of power began, but with a bias towards democratic processes and the adoption of laws to improve the broad masses of the population.

        In Uzbekistan, something similar is also going on ... the population in the country is increasing, and it is quite young (labor force) + taking into account the good relations between Uzbekistan and Russia, China, the USA, the EU - good investments have gone into the country and, accordingly, there is growth economy (2021 - GDP growth 7.4%, 2022 - GDP growth 5.7%). And at the same time, the general level of well-being of citizens is growing .... (of course, the Mirziyoyev clan and those close to it will have power, of course), but processes are underway to improve the lives of citizens.

        And we should take the best from Western and Eastern countries, there is nothing shameful in this :) if there are working models + good laws that will improve the lives of our citizens, then we need to work in this direction .... study the experience of not only the USA / China, but and Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and it is worth taking a closer look at the innovations in Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan, etc. - you look, maybe we’ll take something for ourselves, into service.
        1. Eule
          Eule 16 May 2023 22: 34
          Quote: Aleksandr21
          the best from Western and Eastern countries, there is nothing wrong with that :) if there are working models + good laws

          But at the same time, no one took the point that worked for hundreds of years on a vast territory:
          "It is forbidden to take more than one tenth of the income from taxes, whoever wants more will be killed"- this is from the Yasa of Genghis Khan. An excellent point that would attract not only investments, but also the relocation of the head offices of large firms.
    2. nikolaevskiy78
      16 May 2023 17: 06
      There are actually quite a few amusing positions in the social sphere, and in general, which can be "taken on a pencil."
      There is simply not enough space to cite all the amendments separately; in fact, almost the entire social program was rewritten there.
  2. kor1vet1974
    kor1vet1974 16 May 2023 08: 28
    In power, in the SA, is the local bourgeoisie, in their own interests with a bone for the people, these Constitutions were adopted.
  3. Knell wardenheart
    Knell wardenheart 16 May 2023 12: 52
    Attempts to pre-empt and gradually stop the Maidan potential with the help of tools not so much a stick, but also a carrot - that's what it is. + - Oriental flavor.
    Both the Kazakhs and the Uzbeks from the Russian-Ukrainian story concluded that "you need to crawl away, but gradually and thoroughly working with your society." They will smile and wave as much as possible, behind the screen of this "de facto" there will be a dismantling of political structures oriented towards us and an increase in social stability, so that the states crawl away not to someone (who may be hostile to the Russian Federation, for example) or not under the wing to the Russian Federation, but in fact stupidly went into a kind of sovereign, but without separation from the warm oil and gas udder and the CIS market. But at the same time, implying that IF such a separation happens, that everything will fall off easily and without convulsions. And most importantly with a good mine.
  4. Fangaro
    Fangaro 16 May 2023 21: 04
    Michael, thanks for this post!
    Personal opinion...
    The super-presidency works well in those countries where almost the entire population idolizes the Sovereign. Freethinking is allowed conditionally. And a lot depends on the goals of the Sovereign and his strength.
    Though what am I...
    Centralization of power is the risk of tyranny.
    Democratization is the risk of anarchy.
    Thanks again!
  5. dump22
    dump22 16 May 2023 22: 15
    Here is a good example for us.
    The super-presidential centralized model in Uzbekistan and the soft presidential-parliamentary model in Kazakhstan.
    Now we'll see who's economy will develop faster and more stable.