At the funeral of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev said that the youth will be taking their cue from their late leader, and Moscow, in turn, hopes to strengthen friendly ties with Tashkent. In response, the likely successor to Karimov, the current Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoev announced that his country is ready to such succession of events. However, researcher of the Center for the study of Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Volga-Ural Institute of Oriental studies of the RAS, Stanislav PRITCHIN believes that the sharp warming in relations between the two countries should not be expected.
At the funeral of Islam Karimov.
As you know, Tashkent is not a member of the CSTO and the Eurasian economic Union, as Karimov feared that through their structure, Moscow will try to limit the sovereignty of Uzbekistan. However, during the last meeting, Karimov and President Vladimir Putin in April 2016, the two leaders came to the conclusion that Russia needs the Uzbek vegetables and fruits, which trade between the two countries had increased recently by 10%.
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Research fellow, Centre for the study of Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Volga-Ural Institute of Oriental studies of the RAS, Stanislav PRITCHIN told “MK” that will develop internal and external policy of Uzbekistan in the foreseeable period, and that we can expect Moscow:
It’s too early to talk about what to expect from the new leadership of Uzbekistan, because even the figure of the successor to Karimov is unknown for sure. But be that as it may, Karimov has always adhered to the maximum of the isolationist position in relation not only to Russia but to the United States, and China. In particular, Uzbekistan adopted a special law prohibiting the placing on the territory of Republic of any foreign military bases, and when China proposed the conclusion of an economic Union, Karimov took it very cautiously. Now will launch the procedure of the transit authority, the speaker of Parliament becomes interim President for three months, will announce the presidential elections, there will be candidates on a post of the head of Uzbekistan. Karimov tried to be equidistant from all groups of influence in the country, but the new man will build the system for themselves and this will lead to a change in personnel of the ruling elite. In particular, after the election there will be changes in the government. But it all ended, the key directions of domestic and foreign policy will remain unchanged. Will be decided only what sector of the economy will control, and this can only lead to tactical changes in Uzbekistan.
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– The average age of the population of Uzbekistan is about 27 years of age, do you think Karimov’s death will affect their worldview? After all, they lived all his life under his authority.
The Karimov regime was personalized, but not to the same extent, as in Turkmenistan or North Korea. In Tashkent people genuinely went outside, wept and threw flowers… Karimov was a true patriot of Uzbekistan, and the citizens loved him for it. With him is inseparably linked to the independence of Tashkent, and in that capacity, he will go down in history. I don’t think somebody’s going to question his importance for Uzbekistan.
– Uzbekistan is one of the most closed countries in the former Soviet Union. After Karimov, the country will begin to open to the world?
– Selected Karimov course of development of the country was not his personal whim, but a response to unfolding circumstances of Tashkent. Uzbekistan is a densely populated country with a very diverse ethnic composition, complex geography, territorial disputes with neighbors, the risk of radical Islamization… Actions Karimov was a logical response to the evolving domestic circumstances. Any attempt to weaken the grip can lead to the fact that the Islamists will start to seep into the socio-political structure. Therefore, in the nearest future the authorities will not be interested in any developments in this direction.
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