Iskandar Khudoyberganov was born on September 29th 1942 in Tashkent. After finishing school in 1960, he entered the faculty of Geography of the Central Asian State University (later renamed to Tashkent SU, currently Uzbekistan National University) and graduated from the University in 1966. He had started his employment during his studentship. In 1965, I. Khudoyberganov worked at the Tashkent Institute of Geology as a laboratory worker. From 1967 to 1994 he worked at the Tashkent State University. In 1994-1998 he worked at the Space Nature Studies Scientific Centre and National Geoinformation and Cadastre Centre. He joined the opposition in 1996.
— Iskandar aka, first of all, please, accept our gratitude for your moral support and close assistance in the activities of the “Assistance Centre” (Kumak markazi). General public are aware of the first meeting of this centre in Tashkent that was held recently and your attendance to it. In general, what do you think of the objectives of “The Assistance centre” group?
— Although the “Assistance Centre” has been established quite recently, we should make a special note of the fact that this group is now gaining specific standing not only among opposition members, but also among general public. In fact, the founders of the “Assistance Centre” group, and more specifically, under the leadership of the outstanding politician, leader of the “Birdamlik”(Solidarity) People’s Democratic Movement Bakhodir Choriyev, who has his own voice and standing among opposition members of Uzbekistan, have defined clear and distinct objectives. You are aware, that “The Assistance Centre” group have made their principle purpose to help within their capabilities to those people, including political movements, parties, human rights protection organisation, centres, human rights activists and journalists, who participated and are participating in the work of strengthening the democratic foundation of the state in Uzbekistan, but who have therefore been subjected to and are under different pursuit and pressure from the government. Thus, the objectives of the “Assistance centre” group deserve applause, and other people can join me to give positive assessment to their work.
— “The Assistance Group” is receiving applications from different people. These include member representatives of other opposition parties. What do you think of this factor?
— Yes, there are really representatives of different parties among those who have filed applications to the “Assistance centre”. And the “The Assistance centre” really deserves applause for their unbiased consideration of the received applications and rendering assistance on the basis of real possibilities. This factor may really have some positive effect not only in raising the respect of the “Assistance group”, but also, in more people joining the “Birdamlik” PDM, and finally, consolidation and union of the opposition parties and movements, who currently lack any coordination. In my opinion, I would not exaggerate to say that by their activities, the founders of the “Assistance centre” managed to demonstrate the highest priority of humanness, benevolence, tolerance and docility.
— Like many others, you have mentioned inconsistency among the Uzbek opposition. Is the lack of coordination among oppositional political organisations a reality?
— Nowadays, we will not be mistaken to say that several parties and movements, including “Birdamlik” PDM, “Erk” and “Birlik” parties are in opposition to the existing government of Uzbekistan, and many people are now aware of life, activities, fates and life style of several people, who are members to these parties and movements, who cooperated with such. Taking the opportunity, I would like to note the absolute lack of cooperation, agreement of opinions and unity. For instance, “Erk” are busy with criticising the activities and political positions of “Birlik”, while “Birlik” do the same in relation to “Birdamlik”, and there are cases when they put obstacles to the affairs of each other. This is absolutely not right. I think that lack of coordination between the opposition units is the biggest problem. And solution of this problem depends only and solely on the leaders of the above mentioned political organisations. “Birdamlik” PDM are more or less trying to do something about this. But such attempts are not enough. They are required to attract more intelligent people, experienced politicians, who understand the ways to do, who would regularly act towards a definitive purpose, who can help resolve the problems that exist in our Uzbekistan, in short, smart people into their organisations. This requires going deeper into the society, hear the voice of human souls and manfully explain the essence of their political agenda.
— Iskandar aka, can you tell us how you joined the opposition, if that is not a secret?
— From my childhood, I could not stand any injustice. And I could never ignore any injustice, when I saw it. While a student, I was always angry if a professor admitted any injustice. Because of my personality, I never was in good terms with the teachers of the department at the University faculty. In fact, my transfer from the faculty of geography to the faculty of geology was caused due to my “bad blood”. I think, such nature of mine may have been a trigger to join the opposition. In reality, those who were against the policy of governments have not appeared today or yesterday. They existed in the old days. Opposition existed during the soviet era of blood and before the collapse of the USSR. The people, who stood up to revolt against the politics of Mikhail Gorbachev, can be shown as examples to this. Especially, this was quite evident after publication in 1987 of M. Gorbachev’s article “К новому демократическому социализму” (To a new democratic socialism). Based on this, I want to say that opposition existed all the times and it is required and vital nowadays. Governments should treat their opposition not as enemies, but as their friends, for when there is no opposition, there will be no progress. Alas, unfortunately, in our days, it got to the active point when the opposition people are stamped as “enemy of the nation”, “traitor of motherland” and “anti-propagandist against the government policy”. This is not right. Lack of political culture is triggering such negative cases to float. If you look at it closely, you and I do not need opposition, it is the state that needs the opposition. If our government can draw right conclusions from the opinions of oppositionists, our country will step into progress. Even if the opposition side proposes any activities that are against the interests of the nation, the government should approach such factors from the diplomatic point of view. Nowadays, not only the opposition sides, but also the state and the opposition should cooperate with each other, correct each other’s mistakes and endeavour towards the interests, future of the nation and wellbeing of the people.
During the conversation, Iskandar Khudoyberganov openly expressed his thoughts about politics, economy and agriculture. He spoke with sorrow about the fact that politics is not an art, but an independent science, the importance of liberalisation of national economy, impossibility of keeping economy within certain boundaries, lack of any favourable conditions for developing the national economy in Uzbekistan, the necessity in globalisation and integration, absolute non-compliance of the approach to the entrepreneurs, land, land owners and farmers, the necessity in giving the land to the farmers in its entirety, lack of knowledge of not only ordinary workers and farmers, but also industry specialists of classification and systematics.
Interviewed by: Ruziboy Azim