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This Uzbek Mayor Is Publishing Names of Divorced Couples to Embarrass Them

This Uzbek Mayor Is Publishing Names of Divorced Couples to Embarrass Them

If you’re the kind of voter who wants the government staying out of your personal business, here’s some free advice: Don’t move to Uzbekistan. Especially not if you might get divorced anytime soon.

Rakhmonbek Usmanov, mayor of the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, realized this week that his city is the place in all of Uzbekistan where marriage is most likely to fail. According to a recent state report, some 32 percent of marriages in Tashkent end in divorce. That’s more than double the next-leading divorce hub, in the eastern region of Jizzakh, where some 14 percent of married couples choose to part ways.

Naturally, Usmanov needed a way to end this madness. So he decided to broadcast the names of divorced couples twice a month on the Tashkent Telekanali television show. They’ll also be published in the Evening Tashkent, a local newspaper. In majority-Muslim and culturally conservative Uzbekistan, divorce is largely looked down upon.

Usmanov, who was named mayor by recently-deceased President Islam Karimov four years ago, is convinced the name-and-shame campaign will discourage unhappy couples from opting for divorce.

And he’s found a culprit, too: Mothers-in-law. While he didn’t label them “nasty women,” as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump did to Hillary Clinton this week, he did imply they are bad for newlyweds. Mothers-in-law, he insisted, are to blame for many of the divorces because new wives are expected to do too many chores for their new husbands’ mothers.

But if name-and-shame doesn’t work and those relationships just don’t improve, Usmanov has a plan B: He’ll just publish pictures of the unhappy couples instead.

Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images