Uzbekistan: Is Santa Ban Linked to Osh Violence?

19 Dec

Observers have reacted with dismay to the news that Uzbekistan is making moves to outlaw Santa Claus as the authorities in Tashkent call for Santa’s  Russian cousin Ded Moroz to be banned from the nation’s airwaves this festive season.

Kazaxia can exclusively reveal that the ban is not some spur-of-the-moment decision but is linked to a long-running dispute with its neighbour Kyrgyzstan. The Santa spat dates back to 2007 when Kyrgyzstan usurped the North Pole as the ideal base for the global present deliverer to base his operations. Tashkent pointed to a Stalin-era map which showed Santa’s new base to be in Uzbek territory.

The problem worsened when inter-ethnic violence broke out in Osh, Kyrgyzstan in 2010 between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks, leaving hundreds dead. Tashkent didn’t react at the time but has now decided to make it’s move by aiming to strangle a valuable foreign currency earner for Bishkek.  Not only are the Kyrgyz coining it in from  Santa Claus – who is  forced to pay an  extortionate rent for the mountain base, but the Russian’s have also got in on the act with a separate base for Ded Moroz, albeit at a much lower rate.

It looks like Santa Claus/Ded Moroz will be giving Uzbekistan a wide-berth this time round, so all that children in the country will have to look forward to is a visit from Evil Uncle Karim, Tashkent’s answer to the traditional present deliverer. Evil Uncle Karim comes with a sinister twist – after descending the chimney he steals the kids’ toys, raids their piggy banks and then drags them off screaming to toil in his cotton fields.

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