romanian Raşidov Şaraf (prim secretar al CC PC din Uzbekistan, scriitor)
english Rashidov Sharaf (first secretary of Central Committee CP of Uzbekistan, writer)
russian Рашидов Шараф (первый секретарь ЦК КП Узбекистана, писатель)

Rashidov Sharaf - first secretary of Central Committee CP of Uzbekistan, writer
Sharaf Rashidovich Rashidov (6 November [O.S. 24 October] 1917-31 October 1983)

Born the day before the Russian Revolution to “poor peasant stock” in Jizzakh, in what would be the Uzbek SSR of the Soviet Union, Sharaf Rashidovich Rashidov worked as a teacher, journalist and editor for a Samarkand newspaper. He returned home in 1942 with wounds suffered on the German front in World War 2. He became head of the Uzbekistan Writers Union in 1949, and was elected to the post of Chairman of the Praesidium of the Uzbek Supreme Soviet in 1950. In 1959, he became First Secretary of the Uzbek Communist Party, a post he held to his death in 1983.

His name became synonymous with corruption, nepotism and the Great Cotton Scandal of the late Brezhnev period. As orders from Moscow to grow more and more and more cotton spiraled in, the Uzbek government responded by reporting miraculous growth in land irrigated and harvested, and record improvements in production and efficiency. Of course, all of these records were falsified. Rashidov and his mafia cronies skimmed off billions of dollars in profits from this imaginary cotton, built themselves huge palaces, and ruled the various provinces of Uzbekistan as private fiefdoms. Rashidov died in office shortly before satellite imagery revealed the true extent of the massive fraud, unparalleled in Soviet history.

During the decade following the death of Rashidov, Moscow attempted to regain the central control over the Uzbek SSR that had weakened in the previous decade. In 1986, it was announced that almost the entire party and government leadership of the republic had conspired in falsifying cotton production figures. A massive purge of the Uzbek leadership was carried out, with prosecutors brought in from Moscow, leading to widespread arrests, executions, and suicides. It may never be know how high the corruption extended, as Brezhnev’s own son-in-law was implicated in the affair. In the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan became synonymous with corruption. The Uzbeks themselves felt that the central government had singled them out unfairly; in the 1980s, this resentment led to a strengthening of Uzbek nationalism. After Uzbekistan independence, Rashidov has re-emerged as a national hero. He is seen as having been a strong leader who found a way to cleverly defy Moscow and "beat the system” while managing to create a situation where Uzbekistan became autonomous of central control.

updated: 2006-03-29 18:49:24