During the years of the Soviet Union, there were several versions of the flag of the Uzbek SSR. The first ones, in 1925 and 1926, included the acronym for UzSSR (Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic) in Uzbek (Arabic script) at the top and Russian (Cyrillic script) below it – Уз.С.С.Р and ئوز.ئـ.شـ.جـ . In 1927 they introduced Tajik to the flag as well as an acknowledgement to the large Tajik population inside the borders of the Uzbek SSR – جـ.شـ.ا.اوز . In 1929 the Uzbek and Tajik were changed to their modified Cyrillic alphabets – ӨZ.Ь.Ş.Ç and Ç.Ş.Ь.ӨZ until six months later when they decided to remove the Tajik again. There were then a few more small changes to the ways the name was written until they finally settled on a design by the Uzbek artist Anatoly Kuzmich Osheyko.
The last was adopted on the 29th of August 1952. In the top right-hand corner was the hammer and sickle representing the peasants’ and workers’ union, alongside the red star of the Communist Party, the same as all the Soviet flags. The rest of the flag is two wide horizontal bands of red, split with a band of light blue and two thin white stripes. The red represents the “revolutionary struggle of the working masses”, and although there’s no official explanation about the rest of the design, it’s assumed that the blue is to represent their main water source, the Amu Darya River, and the white is for their cotton fields.
At the collapse of the Soviet Union, the independent state of Uzbekistan was the first of the Central Asian republics to choose a new flag. They chose a blue/white/green tri-colour with thin red stripes between each block, the colours symbolizing peace and purity (white), water and sky (blue), nature and fertility (green), and the “life-force” within the Uzbek people.
Although the country’s relationship with Islam, and religion in general for that matter, is a bit complicated, there is a nod to their Islamic history in the top left-hand corner of the flag. As with flags of many Islamic countries, there’s a crescent moon, and next to it lies twelve stars to represent the months of the Islamic calendar and the signs of the Zodiac.
Although this is possibly the least unique flag of Central Asia (well, it certainly isn’t the most unique!), they are incredibly proud of it, and it appears prolifically all around Uzbekistan. The blue/white/green tri-colour appears on doorways, electricity poles, advertising, company logos and much more. Whilst in Uzbekistan, at any point, it will almost certainly be that you can see a representation of the flag, or at least the tri-colour.
There was a funny little hiccough in 2010 when the First President Islam Karimov (who died in 2016) decided that this was inappropriate usage of the national flag, and made it illegal to use the flag for anything other than direct government business. This did minimise the use of it somewhat, but gradually since then, most things that had been removed or painted over have been replaced or re-painted.
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