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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Long-running death Islam Karimov: Uzbekistan has entered a new political era

Today, the whole day continued to be news about the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. From Samarkand reported on the preparations for the funeral, wrote about the departure of the delegations from different countries, Turkish Prime Minister issued condolences, and in the evening “Interfax”, referring to the government of Uzbekistan, first published the news about the death of Karimov, and then denied it, saying a technical failure. And now we have official confirmation.

photo: Alexander Astafyev

When in January 1936 the condition of the patient the British king George V was completely hopeless, his personal physician Lord Dawson made him a lethal injection of a mixture of cocaine and morphine. As it was written in published half a century after this event, the diaries of Lord Dawson, the doctor took this step in order to “preserve the dignity” of the monarch. Dawson wanted about the king’s death was announced in the respectable morning newspaper the times, and not in the evening tabloid sheets.

The Uzbek authorities with such strange “emotional outbursts” totally alien. The permanent President of the Republic Islam Karimov is dead. However, from the viewpoint of official Tashkent, Karimov continued to live and even speak to my people with holiday cases.

The reasons for such behavior of the Uzbek authorities — a topic for a separate discussion. But the important thing right now: 27-year-old Karimov era in the history of the most populous countries of Central Asia ended. The era, whose name has not yet been invented.

In Samarkand prepared for the funeral of Islam Karimov (5 photos)

Will this new Uzbek political era very different from the previous one? When in December 2006 from the President for life of Turkmenistan, Niyazov Saparmurat, changes in the life of the Republic was rather cosmetic. Instead Turkmenbashi (literally translated “father of all Turkmen) Niyazov residents of the Republic it was offered with no less zeal to read Arcadia (“patron”) Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. A handful of former closest associates of Niyazov, for example, his head of security and de facto the second man in the country Akmurad the Rejepov — first got “improved”, and then quite quickly ended up in jail. That’s all. Replacement for Niyazov, Berdimuhamedov had virtually no impact on relations with Turkmenistan and surrounding countries.

However, from my point of view, in Uzbekistan the Turkmen situation will not happen again. Despite some similarities in the political life of Ashgabat and Tashkent, the two countries have not “twins”. The population of Turkmenistan — 5 million 240 thousand people. Uzbekistan has a population of 31 million 800 thousand people. In Turkmenistan there is an almost inexhaustible source of income that allows the authorities of the Republic “pour money” any problem — great gas reserves. In Uzbekistan such a source is not available. In Turkmenistan there are no powerful Islamic extremist underground with a real chance to seize power. In Uzbekistan is underground there.

Watch the video on “video delivery of the dead body of Islam Karimov in Samarkand”

No, the change of power in Tashkent is a truly important event. The event, which may have the most direct impact on the lives of neighbouring republics, and even the life of such world powers as Russia, America and China. And that’s what I see the essence of change: all the shadow sides of their nature, Islam Karimov was the real owner. Politician who has held power in Uzbekistan in a tight iron fist and did not let any external players to intervene actively in the Affairs of their country.

As I told an informed source in Moscow in the early 90-ies of the Deputy Prime Minister suggested Islam Karimov deal: Uzbekistan will remain in the ruble zone, and in exchange, Tashkent will give Moscow control of deposits of gold and uranium near the city of Zarafshan. After hearing such a “tempting offer”, Islam Karimov in the most literal way sent our Deputy Prime Minister on three letters. The Russian obscene vocabulary, the President of Uzbekistan owned a virtuoso and not really shy to show their knowledge.

In the time of Putin, the Russian diplomacy managed to agree about creation in Central Asia of the international consortium for the management of water resources in the region. In Central Asia, he who controls the water resources, in fact, controls and the entire region. So it may well be that Moscow was on the verge of major advances. But, alas, beyond the threshold it was not allowed. After hearing from the Deputy Prime Minister (of course, the other) that the headquarters of the consortium will be located in Moscow, Karimov berserk and “buried” the project.

In the 90-ies of Islam Karimov once not found a common language with the President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel. Ankara sees itself as the “elder brother” of all Turkic peoples and immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union began consistently “Spud” of the Turkic-speaking former Soviet Republic. Karimov found a very convincing way to show that no new “big brother” he doesn’t need. Suddenly all the numerous Uzbek students were withdrawn from the Turkish military schools.

Temper Karimov had the opportunity to experience even the most powerful country in the world — the United States. In may 2005, the Uzbek regional centre of Andijan something happened: a popular uprising, or an attempt by Islamic extremists to seize power. Karimov responded to this massive use of force. America remembered its role of the protector of human rights and demanded “an independent investigation of the Andijan events. But instead, Karimov kicked out the Americans from the Uzbek military airbase in Khanabad, which they have used since 2001.

After Islam Karimov in Tashkent is no longer a gigantic figure, which sea knee-deep and with no one afraid to start a loud quarrel. On the one hand, this can have a positive impact. Complex and painful feelings of the President led to the fact that Uzbekistan almost all had quarreled and actually isolated themselves. For example, on the orders of Islam Karimov, on the border between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were placed minefields. And Karimov himself once even entered into a fist fight with the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon — so, in any case, the incident described Rahmon.

As reported in December 2009, various media, talking to journalists in Dushanbe, President Rahmon made an amazing confession: “I have a lot of time with the Karimov argued. Twice even came to blows. Once we Nazarbayev separated. Another time Kuchma. And I said to him, “Samarkand and Bukhara we’re gonna get!” The meaning of this statement is that when in 1924 a United Turkestan Autonomous Soviet socialist Republic was split into Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, Samarkand and Bukhara were on Uzbek territory. But in Tajikistan, many people still think this is the greatest injustice.

However, the real reason for this unusual personal relationships Karimov and Rakhmon lies not only in the complex shared history of the two republics. In 1992 the President of Uzbekistan actively intervened in the civil war in Tajikistan and helped come to power in this country, the recent Director of the farm Emomali Rakhmonov (as it was then called). In doing so, Karimov apparently expected “eternal gratitude”. But Rakhmonov has quickly shown that he has a “own pride”. And then Karimov was offended — offended so much that relations with the neighboring country gradually was frozen: there from Tashkent stopped to fly the planes and the trains running.

Relations between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan is far less dramatic, but also very difficult. Islam Karimov saw Nursultan Nazarbayev opponent in the struggle over the role of the unofficial leader of Central Asia. Uzbekistan’s relations with Kyrgyzstan can be described as ugly: the two countries can not agree on border demarcation, dispute over water resources and other and other… If a new leader in Tashkent will be less emotional, more pragmatic and more inclined to agree, that in Central Asia both in economic and in political terms, there will come a “new life”. And it will benefit all, including Russia.

However, there was time for that inevitable and in this case ominous verbal back — “the other side”. If after the departure of Karimov in Uzbekistan suddenly formed a political vacuum, it would mean the nightmare scenario. As I already hinted above, the Islamic extremist underground in Uzbekistan is not destroyed completely — it’s just physically impossible. This is underground only cornered (sorry for such “violence” over the Russian language) and waiting in the wings. And God forbid if that day comes: “fire” can quickly spread to all of Central Asia and to roll across the Russian border.

In the very near future, I do not see preconditions for such destabilization in Uzbekistan. “Shield and sword” Karimov for many years chief of the local security service, a former officer of the Soviet KGB, Rustam Inoyatov, is currently one of the most influential people in the official Tashkent. Do not underestimate the Prime Minister of the Republic Shavkat mirzijaeva. Yes, he is a contractor, but the contractor is creative, capable of independent goal setting and task accomplishment.

Created by Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, the system in theory is quite able to function without the Karimov. But whether the theory with the practice? It will depend on exactly how the events will develop in the Uzbek top, and who will be the next permanent President. As mentioned above, the era of Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan has ended. And how will the new era — no one knows.

UPDATE: the Government and Parliament of Uzbekistan announced the death of Karimov

Watch the video on “waiting for the funeral Karimov hundreds of residents of Samarkand go to the necropolis”

Died Islam Karimov. Chronicle of events

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