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Premier Blames Corruption, Shady Dealings for Uzbekistan Violence

June 16, 1989|From Associated Press

MOSCOW — Soviet Premier Nikolai I. Ryzhkov told Communist Party activists in Uzbekistan on Thursday that corruption, political intrigue and ethnic hatred led to violence against the Meskhetians, a Turkish minority.

Ryzhkov completed a four-day investigation of the rioting with a party meeting in the republic's capital of Tashkent, the official news agency Tass said.

"This was the work of ruthless and cruel hands of those to whom inter-ethnic enmity has always been the soil for the criminal mentality that everything goes," Tass quoted him as telling party officials. "Corruption and shady economic and political dealings" played a role, he said.

Ryzhkov said the violence was well-planned and aimed at destabilizing the republic and the country. He did not identify any group or people he held responsible.

At another party meeting Wednesday near Fergana, the city hit hardest by the unrest, Ryzhkov said party and government officials gave gasoline, transportation and vodka to attackers who killed the Turks.

Pravda, the party daily, said prosecutors have arrested several hundred people on charges of organizing pogroms and violent actions and that proceedings have begun in more than 60 cases. Up to 100 people were killed and hundreds were injured in the attacks.

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