Muhammad Salih (sometimes cited as Solih in Uzbek or Salikh in Russian or Salih in Turkish), born on 20 December 1949 is an Uzbek political opposition leader and writer. He lives in exile in Norway where the government has granted him political asylum.
Muhammad Salih was born in the Khorezm region of Uzbekistan in 1949. He served in the Soviet Army from 1968 to 1970, witnessing the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. After serving in the army, he enrolled in Tashkent State University where he studied journalism. He graduated in 1975 and started working as a writer. He published his first poetry book in 1977. Between 1977 and 1979, he enrolled in literature courses in Moscow. Salih became an influential writer and poet in Uzbek literary circles in the 1980s. Salih's first political activity was a letter signed and sent by 53 young poets to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, known as the 'Letter To The Politburo.' The letter criticized the Communist Party as "anti-Uzbek.", Subsequently, Salih published several articles condemning the government's demographic and environmental policies in Uzbekistan. In 1988 Salih was elected Chairman of the Union of Writers of Uzbekistan.
In 1988 the Uzbek literary elite, including Muhammad Salih, Dadahan Hasan,Rauf Parfi founded 'Birlik' (Unity), the first opposition movement in Uzbekistan. The movement organized a number of street demonstrations, inspired by mass demonstrations in the Baltic Republics, demanding the end of cotton monoculture, rehabilitation of Uzbek language, and purged intellectuals. Birlik movement and the off-spring Birlik Party never received official registration from Uzbek authorities. In 1989, one year after the establishment of Birlik, Salih and Erkin Vahidov split from the movement and founded a more moderate party, Erk Democratic Party. In March 1990 Salih was elected to the Uzbek Supreme Assembly.