Sarah Kendzior on the passing of the man who ruled Uzbekistan for 27 years:
Karimov died as he lived, shrouded in secrets, discussed by his countrymen through the mish-mish — gossip — that forms the primary source of communication in his insular, authoritarian state.
Of the origin of insular, Merriam Webster says:
Late Latin insularis, from Latin insula island.
Ironically, Uzbekistan is not merely landlocked: it is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world (the other one being Lichtenstein). None of its neighbors has access to the sea, unless the Caspian Sea is counted as a real one.
Whether Uzbekistan exists in marine-like isolation and whether its natives are known for a blinkered worldview, I am unable to judge but suspect neither is quite true.
According to Petr Bologov at the Carnegie Moscow Center,
Every ninth Uzbek citizen is a migrant worker, according to a conservative estimate.
Most migrants go to Russia. In 2013, every fourth migrant worker there had come from Uzbekistan –2.3 million, according to Russia’s Federal Migration Service. The actual number may be twice as high. Besides Russia, another half a million Uzbeks work in Kazakhstan, Turkey, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, or further afield.
The official number of Uzbeks working in Russia declined to 1.8 million at the beginning of 2016, but that was still close to 6% of the citizenry. There must a wide and busy bridge from the isle to its neighbors.