President Of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov
Islam Karimov has led Uzbekistan in the Soviet Union and ruled the country for more than 27 years, reminds Bi-bi-si. British broadcaster notes that, according to human rights activists, he retained his power, creating one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, where thousands of his opponents were in prison, were restricted freedom of the press, and torture became part of the system of justice.
Karimov has seen itself as the protector of his people from Islamic militants and radicals, writes Reuters. Under his rule, Uzbekistan has become one of the most isolated and totalitarian countries, says the Agency.
Reuters notes that Karimov had personally chosen as the national hero of the Uzbeks medieval ruler Timur, known in history under the name Tamerlan, considered to be one of the last major period of the conquerors of the steppe nomadic empires.
According to the Agency, in addition to the persecution of dissidents, the Uzbek President stubbornly resisted all attempts to reform the moribund economy and jealously guarded independent political course from interference on the part of Russia and Western countries.
Reuters recalls in 2006 in response to Western criticism about human rights in Uzbekistan, Karimov said, “don’t interfere in our Affairs under the pretext of promoting freedom and democracy, don’t tell us what to do, whom to be friends and someone to navigate.”
German newspaper Bild also draws attention to the authoritarian nature of Karimov’s reign. The newspaper points out that in the ranking of press freedom of Freedom House Uzbekistan ranks 166th out of 180, indicating that the country is “not free.” Bild writes that the Uzbek authorities sent dissidents to the field work, imprisoned homosexuals, used the technique of collective punishment and use of forced sterilization.
Uzbek opposition blogger Nadezhda Atayeva, living in France, said that, according to her, the authorities were preparing to block the communication channels as soon as followed by an official statement about the death of the President, The New York Times reported. It is with reference to its sources in Uzbekistan, claimed that on Friday in the country stopped working messenger Skype, civil servants were ordered to turn off their mobile phones, the Internet speed has fallen sharply, and journalists are not allowed without prior accreditation in Samarkand, Karimov’s hometown, where he will be buried.
Version Bi-bi-si, based on the opinion of Western analysts, the most likely contenders for the post of leader of Uzbekistan are Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Rustam Azimov, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev and head of the Uzbek security services Rustam Inoyatov.
Asimov, writes Bi-bi-si, consider as the person close to Karimov. He was appointed Minister in 1998, and before that headed the Uzbek delegation of the European Bank of reconstruction and development, in connection with which he is credited with Pro-Western views. Living in Switzerland Uzbek journalist Alisher Taksanov argues that Asimov has a good chance for the presidency because he belongs to the so-called “Tashkent clan”, whose members occupy key positions in the country, including the interior Ministry, the security services and the Ministry of Finance. The rival Samarkand clan”, according to toksanova, headed by the Prime Minister mirzijaev.
The political scientist Kamoliddin Rabbimov worked before fleeing to France in the administration of the President of Uzbekistan, on the contrary believes that the chances of mirzijaeva to become President above. In his opinion, the Prime Minister has been in office for 13 years and during that time managed to appoint his people to key positions throughout the country.
Analysts also agree that a powerful figure is the head of the Uzbek intelligence services Inoyatov, who previously worked in the KGB. “Everything indicates continuity, someone who will retain semblance of a schedule created by Karimov,” said Bi-bi-si, the American Professor George Mason University Dr. Eric McGlinchey. The reason for this, in his opinion, is that the government is the source of wealth, and therefore all the rich people of the country have an incentive to preserve the system.
McGlinchey also does not exclude that the successor to Karimov may not be the most famous figure in the case if it would be a compromise candidate of the ruling elites of the country.
Uzbekistan — the most important country in the Central Asia region due to population and its geographical position writes in the pages of the Chicago Tribune analyst of Foreign Policy magazine Nate Senkan. He calls his archetypical post-Soviet police state, closed, cruel and corrupt, with the consequence that few observers entertains hopes of an “Uzbek spring” after Karimov.
However, according to Shenkman, the new leader will probably have to end the policy of isolationism, as it will need additional funding to prove their worth and to ensure payment of the loyalty of the security forces.
The death of Karimov, who publicly announced his successor, will create in Uzbekistan a state of great political uncertainty that the country experienced during its independent existence, writes the Financial Times. The publication notes that any upheaval in Uzbekistan could destabilize the entire region between Russia, China and Afghanistan.
FT emphasizes that according to analysts, the probability of a change of policy of Uzbekistan is extremely unlikely. They believe that in Tashkent use the scheme of transfer of power following the example of Turkmenistan, whose President Saparmurat Niyazov died suddenly in 2006.
Expert at Central Asian consulting Agency GPW Kate Mallinson FT said that the Uzbek elite has long been waiting for the death of Karimov, given his poor health. “Behind the scenes consensus was probably ten years ago,” she said.