Firuza Mirkhamidova was visiting family in her native Tashkent in October when she received an unexpected phone call. Her husband, Abdulvosi Latipov, had unexpectedly been released from jail in Volgograd, where they lived.
Uzbekistan's pensioners can hardly be accused of excess.
Most of the country's more than 6 million retirees survive on pensions of just $100 a month -- less than half the official average salary and barely enough to cover food costs alone. And with widespread unemployment that money is often the main source of income not only for the pensioners, but for their extended families as well.