Bahodyr Ergashev, D.Sc. (Philos.), professor, deputy director of the Institute for Civil Society Studies (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)

When writing about his mainly positive attitude toward the Industrial Revolution in England and French Utopian Socialism, Ahmad Donish (1827-1897), an outstanding Central Asian diplomat, never suspected that this would make him the regions first social-democratic agitator. Later, socialist ideas in bad Turkish translations (as Donishs pupils and followers asserted) were actively promoted in the Central Asian khanates. One can say that this ideology and the social-political movement of the Turkestan, Bukhara, and Khiva workers who readily embraced it are over 100 years old.

How has the movement changed over the last 100 years? How should we treat the rich social-democratic history in light of the collapse of the Soviet Union and developed socialism? How are the social-democratic parties of Central Asia developing in the context of the world financial crisis? What are their prospects? What can be said about their leaders (P. Zoiirov, Zh. Tuiakbai, G. Kaliev, and others)?

It is not my intention to answer all these questions; I shall concentrate on the key issues using the largest and influential social-democratic organizations as an example. I have in mind the Peoples Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (leaderL. Guliamov, 310,000 members); the National Social-Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (NSDPK) (Zh. Tuiakbai, 140,000 members); the Social-Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (SDPU) Adolat (I. Saifnazarov, 90,000 members); the Kazakhstan Social-Democratic Party Auyl (G. Kaliev, 61,000 members); the Social-Democratic Party of Tajikistan (SDPT) (R. Zoiirov, 5,000 members); the Social-Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK, A. Atambaev, 5,000 members), and some others.

There is a fairly limited number of works by prominent Central Asian authors dealing with the subject under discussion. I relied mainly on those that looked at the local social-democrats during the most difficult periods of the regions recent history: 1990, 1993, and 1998. The latter, which coincided with the Asian economic crisis, deserves special attention in connection with the latest developments. The Central Asia and the Caucasus journal has carried articles on the multi-party system, political parties, and the social-democratic movement by R. Abdullo, I. Bagirov, M. Bekker, Kh. Hajji-zade, I. Ismagambetov, I. Karsakov, G. Kerian, V. Kurganskaia, A. Kurdov, E. Mamytova, M. Mashanov, P. Mullojanov, R. Musabekov, S. Olimova, M. Sabit, A. Tulegulov, B. Fakhritdinov, R. Yalchin, and others.

It is not easy to identify common features among the fundamental issues (such as organizational, personnel, legal, material, financial, agitation, and propaganda) of the regions social-democratic organizations. They are distorted by local conditions and the authorities fairly strong pressure on the political parties; the social-political and..

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