Congratulatory Address to the people of Uzbekistan on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of national independence

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September 2, 2016

Congratulatory Address to the people of Uzbekistan on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of national independence

Dear fellow citizens!

I sincerely, from the bоttom of my heart, congratulate our nation on the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s national independence, which opened a new page in the centuries-long history of our nation, liberated us from the shackles of a totalitarian system and gave us an opportunity to create a free and prosperous life.

Dear friends!

As it is known from history, gaining independence does not come easily to any nation. Our people, who are profoundly conscious of this truth, honor and cherish the memory of their ancestors that demonstrated selflessness and courage and sacrificed their lives in the fight for independence.

These days, remembering the period of transition from the old system, which had failed to vindicate itself, to a new one, we mentally return to those tough days and ordeal that we had to live through.

At the time, the state of affairs in the republic fell into dire straits and assumed a particularly dangerous, critical nature because of the flaws of the outmoded system, first of all in the area of life sustenance – there were supplies of flour enough to feed the population for just seven to ten days – and in the area of order and discipline, as a result of which various subversive and destructive forces started rearing their heads, and it should not be difficult to imagine that our country was virtually on the edge of an abyss.

And even in that extremely complex situation we did not swerve from the path we had chosen – the path of independence. We understood full well that at that moment, when the most important and crucial issue was being decided, giving in and retreating in the face of challenges and obstacles would be tantamount to betrayal of the present and future generations.

It is exactly at that time that our nation vividly demonstrated its qualities such as courage and endurance and did not lose faith in a great future, and I am convinced they will keep it forever.

Indeed, from the first days of our independence, no matter how dangerous and difficult our situation was, despite the fact that we had to overcome obstacles at every step and address acute problems, we continued to consistently develop our well-thought-out strategy that meets the tasks of our country’s present and future.

On the path toward the great goals we set ourselves – create a free democratic state, carry out transition to a market economy, shape a civil society, and join the ranks of developed countries – we did not make rash decisions, prevented taking careless steps and taking ill-considered action; we explored advanced global experience but at the same time did not copy other countries’ actions. Firmly following the profound ideas “Reforms are not for the sake of reforms, but for the sake of people”, we chose the only appropriate path for ourselves which had long-range prospective that was fully consistent with the mentality of our nation, features and conditions of the country that has been recognized globally as an ‘Uzbek model’ of development.

Indeed, today life confirms how correct the chosen path is – a strategy based on five famous principles that passed the test in practice and became the groundwork for the development of our country. First of all, it can be exemplified by the training a new generation of personnel that thinks in a new way and meets modern requirements, which we defined at the dawn of our independence as the most important and pressing task.

If we had not discarded old dogmas and stereotypes and had not adopted the National Program for Personnel Training and its logical extension – the National Program for the Development of School Education, if we had not fundamentally reformed the system of education and had not mobilized all the forces and opportunities of our state and society, then it is not difficult to picture the situation we would have found ourselves in today.

Today, we have all the grounds to say that thousands of our boys and girls, graduates of lyceums and colleges and higher educational institutions, emerge in the area as initiative-driven and active participants of all reforms being carried out in our country.

Undoubtedly, the decisive role in the construction of a new society is played by the fact that we adopted programs in good time and elevated them to state level – programs aimed at training and rearing a new generation able to assume responsibility for their country’s future and destiny.

Indeed, in a historically short span of time, Uzbekistan, which was a backward republic unable to support itself and protect itself and had a one-sided economy and a cotton monopoly that had a deleterious effect and extremely low quality of life, has today turned into a dynamically and stably developing powerful state that has earned a worthy spot in the world community.

In the years since independence, Uzbekistan’s economy has grown nearly six times. The share of industry has increased from 14 to 34%. Notwithstanding the enduring global financial crisis, Uzbekistan is one of the few countries, whose GDP growth rate has remained at 8% or above over the past eleven years. As the results of the first half of 2016 reveal, the growth rate will remain at the same level in the current year as well.

Most importantly, over these years we have been able to improve the health of our people; maternal mortality has dwindled 3.2 times and child mortality 3.4 times; the average life expectancy has increased from 66 to 73.5 for men, and to 76 years for women. According to forecasts, by the end of 2016 the country’s population will exceed 32 million, an increase of 12 million people since independence. This is testimony to the lengthy path of development we have passed and the growing quality of life and prosperity of our nation.

We have succeeded in making all this happen, first of all, thanks to the remarkable hard work of the many nations that live in our country, and today the fast pace of Uzbekistan’s stable development draws admiration from the international community.

Dear fellow citizens!

We are all well aware that the remarkable results we have achieves thus far are just a part of the objectives we have set ourselves.

The fast-changing modern times, the enduring global financial strains, the uncertainly and instability in the global markets, toughening competition, and the plunging prices of raw materials are some of the circumstances demand that we, and first of all leaders and officials, discard old views and approaches, methods of work, think in a new way, and raise the organization of work and system of management to a modern level.

First of all, we have important tasks such as continuation of started reforms on the path of democratic renewal, modernization of the country, increasing its competitiveness, deepening of structural reforms in the economy and reducing the state’s participation therein, increasing the share of private property and ensuring its priority. Along with this, the focus of our constant attention should be on further expansion of benefits and preferences created in the country in an effort to improve the efficiency of small business and private entrepreneurship, increasing the volume of foreign investment and introduction of modern high-tech.

The increasing conflicts and contradictions in the near and far abroad, as well as around us, the continuing collisions and bloodletting, the briskly rising threats of terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking are cause for deep concert and require that we all remain alert and careful at all times.

In this complex situation our duty and priority should be to ensure security and inviolability of Uzbekistan’s borders, to keep trouble and misfortune far from our doorstep, to protect the atmosphere of interethnic and civil accord, mutual respect, kindness and mercy that reign in our country, and personify the noble call “Our nation needs peace and tranquility”.

I would like to underline once again – the key areas of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy consist in the fact that we are adherents of non-interference in other countries’ affairs and solution of arising conflicts and disagreement only by peaceful, political means.

We shall not join any military bloc or alliance; we shall not allow foreign military bases in the territory of our country and shall not send our military personnel beyond the confines of our country, and we consider this approach to be the only appropriate option for ourselves.

In the years since independence, we have worked to build relations with foreign countries on the basis of mutual respect and recognition of each other’s national interests, and we will continue this policy aimed at strengthening friendship and cooperation with all states.

Dear friends!

These days, our people celebrate and extend their sincere and warm congratulations to the young athletes who achieved a huge victory in the Summer Olympic Games in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro and won 4 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze medals. Today we can state with rightful pride that the courage, hard work, high mastery and love of motherland that the brave athletes manifested in the tough competitions with famous athletes from 206 countries serve as true examples to thousands of our boys and girls.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our talented athletes, who raised our flag high and demonstrated to the entire world that the youth of Uzbekistan are on a par, as well as to their parents, coaches and mentors and all members of the national Olympic team.

I address you, our youth, my precious children, and I want to tell you: always be goal-oriented. You hold the future!

Dear fellow citizens!

Once again, my congratulations on Independence Day! I wish you all peace, prosperity, good luck and happiness as well as wellbeing to your households.

May the Almighty always support us in all our good deeds and undertakings!

May there always be peace and tranquility in our country, and may there always be a clear sky above our Motherland!

May our independence last forever!


Islam Karimov,

The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan