Digital distrust: Uzbek cynicism and solidarity in the Internet Age

by Sarah Kendzior

In this article, I examine how Uzbek exiles have used the Internet to attempt to forge solidarity in a political culture of cynicism and distrust. Tracing the development of internal divisiveness in the Uzbek political opposition, I show how cynicism has been reconstituted as an essential part of Uzbek political integrity, and then I examine how some dissidents have attempted to counteract this cynical political culture through the online promotion of a new political repertoire. I argue that the Internet changes patterns of political dissent by allowing greater interaction between geographically dispersed, like-minded parties but also allows the doubts and antagonisms that existed within those parties to be more easily perceived and, in some cases, exacerbated.