President Islam Karimov’s Greeting Address at the
Festive Event to Celebrate 22nd Anniversary of Uzbekistan’s Independence
Today, the entire nation, all our people are celebrating, with incredible fervor,
the 22nd anniversary of state independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which
cardinally changed the meaning of our life, our consciousness and the way of
thinking, an independence that our forefathers had strived for centuries.
I have a tremendous pleasure to congratulate you – respected compatriots, and
the entire people of Uzbekistan in your person – sincerely, from the bottom of
my heart, on this remarkable date, on the holiday truly greatest, truly dearest
for every one of us.
We perceive of independence, its essence and significance primarily as a right.
Achievement of independence is precisely an opportunity to fulfill our great and
sacred obligation, that is, to command our destinies and the fate of our country
on our own, along with its natural, economic and intellectual resources; to
mobilize all this startling potential for the good of our people, by thoroughly
understanding how great a history, culture and spirituality we have; and to
revitalize our ages-old values and faith.
Independence means to be independent of anyone at any time, to secure
sustainable growth rates of the economy, consistently boost the wellbeing of the
population, and bolster the standing and prestige of our country at the
international arena, taking into account our national interests and long-term
At the same time, independence means building a robust backbone for our future,
fostering a mature and comprehensively advanced, independent-thinking,
courageous new generation inferior to no one in any thing, a generation capable
of continuing our great undertakings.
Today, on this marvelous day, we naturally evaluate the accomplishments we have
made for the past twenty two years on our way toward the splendid goals we set –
the wide-ranging efforts to build a democratic state and an economy on
fundamentally new foundations, the growth in the level and quality of life, and
the mounting transformation of our cities and villages, our entire nation, in
appearance and in terms of comfort. Tell me, dear friends: would it have been
possible to make so important, internationally acknowledged achievements without
The, not an, answer to this question is: No, absolutely no.
Independence and independence alone has served as a sturdy, the most potent
foundation for us to reach these high accomplishments.
I believe in this respect it would be appropriate to ask ourselves as to whom we
used to be yesterday and who we have become today.
Perhaps a lot of compatriots still remember that as recently as little more than
two decades ago, Uzbekistan found itself in an abyss of extreme socio-economic
misery; it was a backward region with a biased, raw-based economic development
vector, with an absolute monopoly of cotton production. They recall how low the
living conditions of the people were, and all this led our Republic to the verge
For a historically brief span of time, our country, as the majority of
international observers note, has turned from a land incapable of supporting
itself, into a modern, independent and sovereign nation that advances with
steady rates, a nation that relies on its own virtue and capacities, that is
capable of defending its borders, its peaceful and harmonious life – and this
inspires us with a sense of pride.
As an indication of considerable achievements and spectacular accomplishments we
have made for the past years, I would like to cite just a few facts and figures
that brilliantly reflect our nation’s current potential and development rates.
To date, Uzbekistan’s gross domestic product has grown 3.1 times if compared to
figures of the year 2000, and in per capita calculus it has risen 2.6 times. The
volume of exports has increased 4.4 times; the nominal wage has multiplied 22
times in comparable prices; the average retiree pension has grown 12.7 times;
per capita real incomes have swelled 8.4 times, while the economic growth within
the last six years has been exceeding 8 percent. We would barely be mistaken if
we suggest that these kinds of indicators are rare today across the entire world.
Our achievements in the past period, including the fuel and energy as well as
grain independence, the total self-sufficiency in essential consumer goods, and
crucially, the public healthcare (notably, the 3.2 times reduction in maternal
mortality and the 3.4 decrease in child mortality, the growth in life expectancy
from 66 to 73.5 years) – all this is suggestive of an immense path of growth and
development we have passed, of the rising living standards of our people.
Today, with the lapse of time, we come to be convinced time and again of the
correctness of the well thought-out strategy of democratic reforms we opted for,
acknowledged throughout the world as the Uzbek Model of development that
completely meets the interests of our people.
When one speaks of the principal driving force behind our accomplishments, we
can say with confidence that today, with our world outlook, consciousness,
thinking, attitude to life, to work, to the world surrounding us, we completely
differ from ourselves of yesterday, of the 1990s.
Today we are a people with free thought, with confidence in its virtue, with the
persistently enhancing political, legal and cultural maturity, with a clear
perception of its future, of the things and people it lives and labors for.
We set out a great goal to build a democratic state with a market economy and a
civil society, to join the ranks of advanced nations of the planet. And no force
can turn us away from this path.
In these turbulent and alarming times, when various regions of the globe,
including those around us, experience mounting confrontation and armed conflicts,
one cannot stay indifferent and unconcerned, and the current realities require
that we be more vigilant and attentive, prepared to curb any attempts posing
threat to our national security.
We consider our most critical priority to consolidate the truly invaluable
wealth, namely, the reigning atmosphere of friendship, interethnic and civic
harmony, kindness and compassion; to build up mutual-respectful cooperation with
countries located both near and far away.
I would like, from this point of view, that the principle “We need peace and
harmony” that has been deeply absorbed in the flesh and blood of our people
become the most pressing task for every one of us.
Let me take this opportunity to express my sincerest and kindest wishes to the
ambassadors of foreign nations and representatives of international
organizations and all esteemed guests who are present at this occasion and share
At these unforgettable moments, I deem it my duty to express my deepest respect
and bow before our hard-working and magnanimous nation who has seen much in its
lifetime, who has become hardened amid tests, and who has today been writing
down bright pages into its ages-old history, who displays genuine self-sacrifice
to secure the prosperity of the current and future life of Uzbekistan.
Addressing our sons and daughters – my children, our hope and support – who have
filled this magnificent square, I would like to say: On our way toward the
gracious goal of building a country with a great future, I rely first and
foremost on you – the brave and initiative-prone youth, a healthy and
extensively advanced generation that aspires to conquer summits in science and
knowledge, that which is capable of overcoming any obscurities, and that which
has been turning into a decisive force in our country.
Anywhere I go, be it an official ceremony or a forum, when I meet you, the
representatives of the younger generation, when I look into your eyes that shine
with enthusiasm, when I look at you full of power and energy, my heart gets
overfilled with a sense of infinite delight and pride. I earnestly love you all
and I am prepared to devote my entire self for you, for your happiness and
May you always be in heights, my dear children!
Respected compatriots, dear friends!
This dazzling and blissful evening, by mentally embracing you all, I sincerely
congratulate you time and again on the greatest holiday – the Independence Day
of our native Uzbekistan!
I wish you a sound health, happiness and the best of luck, affluence and
wellbeing to your families.
May the Almighty keep our people and our country from any misfortunes and
May the sky above our Motherland always be clear!
May our independence be eternal!