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Friday, March 16, 2018

Azhdar Kurtov: Uzbek elite can not be trusted

The uncertainty of the nomination of the successor of the President of Uzbekistan can lead to a serious crisis inside the country

21 Nov 2013, 21:01

Text: Peter Akopov


“The consistency and sincerity of action of the Uzbek elite can not be trusted – can throw at any time, and painfully,” – said the newspaper VIEW, political analyst Azhdar Kurtov. He believed that the extravagant antics of the daughter of the President of Uzbekistan can be a sign of serious internal problems in the country.

The message appeared yesterday that the eldest daughter of Uzbekistan’s President Gulnara Karimov was arrested, soon clear – she came to the police to plead for detained activists of the youth movement. Where and wrote in his account “Twitter”: “I in the police Department. The most interesting that I now write on the tape with the support of Russia, Kazakhstan And Uzbekistan, as always, silent.

Recently Gulnara, at one time considered almost the heir of the ruling for almost a quarter century of Islam Karimov, stands with a variety of sensational statements using the same “Twitter”: last month, she accused the head of the national security Service of Uzbekistan Rustam Inoyatova intent to take power in the country in their hands, and then reported the attempt on his life and that security forces arrested and tortured her former bodyguard. Gulnara particularly intensified after a month ago, the authorities froze the assets of the company, which was believed, it controls.

Among yesterday’s entries Karimova from the police station there is this: “Any sensible person understands that do not take and do not persecute those who defied the country, the President, his family, and destroy the most talented to bring on all the fear out of the country or stupid to put in the dungeons! What is it?! Only in the explosion and confrontation!”

About how the authorities in Uzbekistan, VZGLYAD talked to a senior researcher of the Russian Institute for strategic studies (RISS) joined by Ajdar Kultovym.

OPINION: what is this activation of Gulnara Karimova? Whether the cost of this some serious tensions within the family, and in General in the Uzbek elite?

Azhdar Kurtov: not Everything revolves around girls, and around Islam Karimov and the one who will be his successor. Karimov, an old-timer on the post-Soviet space, he has been in power since 1989. In 1990, Uzbekistan is the first former Soviet republics have introduced the post of President against the wishes of Gorbachev. Since then, he has been the President – not once he changed the rules limiting the term of stay in power. The time will reset and a new counting starts. With this approach, there is temptation to remain in office until the end of his days. And that desire is a cause of irritation in the society. Uzbekistan in the Soviet period was one of the most developed in the industrial sense of the republics, there were advanced intellectuals.

VIEW: But in late years the Uzbek ruling elite suffered a real defeat in 1983-1988 years there was raging the “cotton case”, ruzmetova a considerable part of the staff that has developed over a quarter century of the reign of Sharaf Rashidov. Along with the actual corruption was an obvious political order, the investigator Gdlyan was acting like a Commissar of the Cheka. Did the impact of these developments on the management style of Karimov?

Azhdar Kurtov (Photo: facebook.com/kurtovaa)

AK: To a very large extent. In the period glanowski purges Republic several years was in limbo. Were planted the Moscow landing of the huge number of investigators and prosecutors who perform their activities across the Republic, including in party and Soviet bodies. And not only was the abuse uncovered as a result of their activities, but also abuse of the group itself. And this irritated the Uzbek elite, which was already included Karimov. The more that they are accustomed to a complacent attitude of Moscow in reshetovskaya years – honor the stars of heroes, and then they dropped through the floor. But in the East for the rulers, it is very important to save face. Success in life there is measured not only by presence of money or property, and what level in the public service you take. Black car and a big black portfolio that’s their dream in the Soviet period, it was a symbol of success in life and caused you the reverence of the population. And suddenly it all started to fall apart.

VIEW: How Karimov in those years was the clan man?

AK: He was not a puppet of some powerful clan. Karimov comes from Samarkand, and it is believed that it is this clan, but in the realities of the time it is not so. The Kremlin chose him as the best candidates for the position of first Secretary of the Communist party of Uzbekistan, precisely because he was not strong rooting in the local clan system. The envoys of the clans came to Moscow with rich presents, cavil at each other. So Karimov became the head of the party, and then of the Republic of the coincidence, and then there was the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he was at the head of an independent state. But if not for restructuring, it would do his career the same way as Rashid, with the same level of reverence and deification of the first Secretary. And when the Soviet Union collapsed, he regretted it – and who was, from his point of view, is to blame? The fault was center – Moscow, Gorbachev. And all this affected his mentality.

OPINION: He was not an ardent nationalist.

A. K.: Of Course. There was a very strange bloody event in Ferghana, which, quite likely, was inspired not only by the Uzbek side.

Karimov realized that his bright dream about the future of his person within the framework of the Communist system is collapsing – first, that the Kremlin is satisfied with such cleaning in Uzbekistan, then a strange movement of Gorbachev’s reforms. And then began the process of the emergence within traditional Uzbek society of people who are in conditions of an ideological vacuum began to turn to a different set of values, primarily Islamic. During this period, were the events in Namangan. The Islamists were trying to take power and have a direct, almost physical impact on President Karimov, who then decided to go to the people. So he suffered certain fears during this time – and as a result bowed to the fact that you need to act quite tough.

OPINION: AND he acted tough with the Islamists…

A. K.: Yes, he’s still their organization or banned or dispersed, and their supporters were forced to emigrate. Reinforced police apparatus, was to use repression. But knowing what is East, I don’t blame him – otherwise, most likely in Uzbekistan, all would have resulted in a civil war like in Tajikistan. If in Tajikistan, it was necessary to cross mountains, valleys and passes, Uzbekistan is densely populated, so its consequences would have been much more serious.

OPINION: did Karimov to retain the outflow of the Russian population from the Republic?

A. K.: First up rabid nationalism – in the capital threw stones at the Russians, demanded their departure. Karimov maneuvered. But it was economic devastation, and if he had some financial resources, then perhaps he would have acted more definitely. The money was not his, nor in Moscow, so he took from those who gave, and that was including the Gulf countries. Who wanted access from their promotional literature. But gradually Karimov gave the order and stood on his feet economically.

OPINION: What allowed the rise of the Uzbek economy?

A. K. Karimov is an economist by education, a Soviet economist. All his ideas of what should be the economy, formed in the planned economy period. He made a bid for the state, paternalistic economy. Not made radical privatization of the most profitable enterprises are in the hands of the state. Yes, formally state enterprises can stand specific owners, specific benefits, but there is no freedom of the market. Basically the state in industry, but in agriculture, where the bet is placed on farmers are legislative provisions, which are set by officials in terms of what you need to do sales, the price factor. Economic regulation leads to the fact that some farmers are trying to sneak the cotton in Kazakhstan, where the price is higher. So a market economy in which where to locate production, what to produce, what will be the price determined by the play of free forces, in Uzbekistan no. But it solves many of the problems of Uzbekistan.

OPINION: the standard of living in the country has surpassed the Soviet period?

AK: Technically, if you watch the macroeconomic indicators like the GDP, he managed in the late 90s to go out on the performance times of the USSR. But he could not cope with those scissors, which objectively is in Uzbekistan: the population is growing faster than the state is able to create a new production. Now live in the Republic for more than 30 million people.

Islam Karimov (Photo: RIA “Novosti”)

OPINION: what is the total number of labor migrants?

A. K.: no Exact figures. In the 90 years the authorities did not recognize the fact that labor migration to Russia, posed by the obstacles removed. And then they got over it, realizing that otherwise can happen a social explosion. Don’t know the number in our FMS. But according to official sources, Uzbeks are on the first place among migrants from Central Asia in Russia, exceeding these mythical Tajiks. I think that in Russia more than 2 million Uzbeks. There are Uzbek labor migrants in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, there is agreement on the direction of labor migrants from South Korea.

OPINION: overall, How stable the situation in Uzbekistan?

A. K.: There is an external stability. Traditional society could exist for centuries in a certain state, at a time when Khan was a mighty sword in his hands and he could show, that in case beheaded. In principle, Karimov showed in 2005 during the events in Andijan, in which case he will not hesitate to use heavy machine guns against the crowd.

But this is only one of the elements that ensure stability. The second condition was that traditional society was closed – there were no big migrations there was no information about what is happening abroad. In 90-e years, Uzbekistan had hoped that the way it will remain: there is established a rigid censorship, there were problems even with the import of the Russian press, the restrictions on satellite TV. In modern society, with the Internet it is impossible. Besides, if you want to develop, it is necessary to prevent the exchange of information needs to go students and businessmen. And when you get the information that the Kazakhs live better than you on the order…

LOOK: AND quality of life in Kazakhstan is really so much higher than Uzbek?

A. K.: If you look at salaries and pensions, the difference is very large. And I know this was a shock for the Uzbek people. Because their mentality has always been based on the fact that we were the first ancient state, the largest population…

OPINION: Experience with foreign investment was not too good?

A. K. Karimov drew the Americans even made one of them my husband and my daughter (then it all ended with a divorce). But foreigners in Uzbekistan like to extrude – engaged in raiding, regardless of country of origin. Whether American, Russian or German businessmen. Plus Eastern corruption, build me a school, a road…

OPINION: Karimov is thinking about what will come after him? Does he have some kind of personnel policy for the farming successor? What forces in the apparatus of power he relies largely?

A. K.: In the 90 years he thought about it. But at a certain age it needs to take stock and to think about it.

Previously, creating a rigid authoritarian system he had to demonstrate his sword in the hands of not only society, but all possible candidates, those who stick out. In the 90 years he increasingly relied on security forces, but many of those people even predicted in his successors, was later removed from their posts. Besides the sheer violence, as a police state, a country such as Uzbekistan, could not exist. In recent years, in order to prevent a social explosion, he had to admit in the power a significant number of businesses that would earn income for the budget not only increase taxes but also the development of production.

But in all these years there was not a clear bet on one figure, to be able to say that he grows the man who will replace him.

OPINION: the Elite, he periodically cleans?

A. K. Karimov is a bloody tyrant. Planting only those who have gone too far and openly defying the rules. And then, if the people obey, then it can release. Nobody ground to powder.

LOOK: No serious opposition, offering alternative project and enjoying mass support in Uzbekistan, no?

A. K.: No financial-industrial groups, consolidated clans, who could throw down the gauntlet, no. There are regional clans, kinship, communities – this is not going anywhere.

What is the Uzbek opposition? It’s part of those people who tried to compete in the public political field with Karimov and they were pushed outside the country. Now they are in exile and, naturally, dream of returning triumphant. But they have no support, and all they can do is to throw in the public opinion of their interpretation of what is happening in Uzbekistan. Than they are now amid all the stories with Gulnara Karimova is active and engaged, trying to discredit Karimov.

OPINION: Why is the daughter involved in this public squabble?

A. K.: I have a clear answer no, but this is a typical situation for East – bickering in the big family of the ruler.

Karimov was nice to the daughter of his predecessor, Rashidov – it was his Ombudsman. And his daughter Gulnara he tried to enter into politics. She was a diplomat, a Deputy, posing as an active scientist. But for her as a woman and heiress to a great financial state that is not a born politician, there is always a lot of temptations – she’s a fashion designer, and sings well, likes to Express themselves in a different field. But as a politician she is weak.

OPINION: Divorce is the result of the intervention of the father?

A. K.: No, it is rather the character of a capricious Princess.

OPINION: Now her political activity led to the fact that it begins to lose its assets, at least aware of the assets that she had.

A. K.: Perhaps she thought that exists in the form of restrictions and regulations, none of her business and she can pick up larger and larger pieces. She was the richest man in Uzbekistan, judging by the information that now walks.

The fact that Uzbekistan is a country of limited natural resources, unlike, for example, from Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan. The Uzbeks have uranium, gold, but not enough. Although if you look at the numbers, they have a decent growth rate of about 10%. But people still do not flourish, everything hangs in the balance. There will be something on a large scale, the power, the time it stops and the system goes berserk. But I don’t think that the government may falter as a result of these Palace squabbles. It’s too far from the people has for him.

But if the government does not keep the situation and the splash of the dirt will go in the second half of the 80s, on the rise, it could end badly.

OPINION: Gulnara consciously make a bet on it?

A. K. how else to explain her Twitter activity.

LOOK: Back second daughter Lola to do with this?

A. K.: It is not an alternative to Gulnara.

Public discussion of family issues is a very slippery path, which is now, I don’t know the will or against the will of the President, take his daughter. Information public struggle only discreditied the situation, exposes the ugly side of the political regime. And most importantly, gives you more determination to his opponents, because when people see that the government is not gods, and the people with their problems and sins, they have added determination to oppose the government.

VIEW: External forces can play on the split in the elite?

A. K.: Of Course. Although Karimov Americans are not the enemy. He never allowed actions directed against them. Method of conducting the foreign policy of Tashkent is to regularly change partners. After the honeymoon with the Americans to change them to Russia, then to China to play with the EU. Today, for example, ties with Beijing exceed ties with Washington, but the gap with the USA has not happened. Although Karimov is concerned about the actions of the Americans, he sees how they behave with those who for many years has sponsored in the middle East.

OPINION: Now, on the eve of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and in the process of creating the Customs Union, Tashkent is ready to work together more closely with Moscow? How serious is the intent?

A. K. is Absolutely frivolous. The consistency and sincerity of action of the Uzbek elite can not be trusted – can throw at any time, and painfully.

And with the TC it’s not politics – the Customs Union formed yet primarily to regulate the rules of trade in goods, while Uzbekistan has always relied on protectionism, through its manufacturer. They mined the border, shoot shuttles, doing everything to keep those jobs that there are in Uzbekistan. Even though they produce uncompetitive in the world market of the goods by closing borders for the Russian, Kazakh, Chinese and any other goods. And the logic TS the opposite is to ease customs barriers to the rise of the national industry.

But Uzbeks are not ready not only to sign those documents that are within the Troika Customs Union, they are not ready for full-fledged cooperation in the framework of the CSTO. Once they have demonstratively out of the organization, then returned. And when again I am going to suspend my membership, they were warned again if asked back, you will be required to sign and ratify all the documents.

OPINION: are they able to do without the CSTO?

A. K.: we intend to slightly escalate the fear of the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan.

VIEW: But it is clear – we are trying to gather the post-Soviet space.

A. K.: Yes, but Karimov understands that immediately after the withdrawal of troops nothing, most likely, will not clear the danger of war there. And if something goes up that he could throw himself into the legs of the United States… In foreign policy, he veers.

VIEW: But sooner or later you can get into trouble…

A. K. They think that a multi-vector policy can continue indefinitely.

VIEW: any External or internal threats will be key to Uzbekistan in the next five years?

A. K.: Internal. When there is no stable economy, and the problems all the time increasing – associated with population growth, water shortages, the possibility of environmental harm – it is enough of a push from a major crisis to bring society out of balance.


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