Uzbek stroke: who can take the position of Islam Karimov
Material posted: Publication date: 29-08-2016
The government of Uzbekistan for the first time reported the disease of Islam Karimov. The President's daughter said that he had a stroke. The most probable successors of the experts believe mirzijaeva Prime Minister and first Deputy Prime Minister Azimov.

The illness of the President

Sunday Uzbek edition of with the reference to informational message of the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan reported that President Islam Karimov is hospitalized. "According to experts, the treatment will take some time," quoted the publication of the message. It came after an independent information resource "Fergana" with reference to its sources reported that Karimov suffered a stroke. Monday morning version of "Fergana" has confirmed in his blog in Instagram the President's daughter.

Karimov is the highest among the presidents of CIS countries, he is 78 years old. About weak health permanent leader of Uzbekistan is known, earlier it is not rare for several weeks disappeared from public space. Last winter, during the campaign for the presidential election, Karimov did not hold public events more than two weeks. But then came and won the election with the support of 90% of the population.

This time the situation is special, concludes the Russian expert on Central Asia Arkady Dubnov: "Never before in Tashkent officialdom did not confirm rumours of a deterioration in the health of their Patriarch, and the Sunday message that Karimov is on hospitalization, which will require "some time", more than eloquently".

From official reports it can be concluded that Karimov will miss the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence, which the country will celebrate the 1st of September.

Who, if not Karimov

The whole history of independent Uzbekistan connected with Islam Karimov. He led a Republic in the USSR: in 1989 became the first Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist party of Uzbekistan, in 1990 the Supreme Council elected him President, the first General elections he won in 1991. In 1995, the powers of the leader was extended until 2000 by a referendum. The next election, in 2000, 2007 and 2015, confirmed the powers of Karimov.

However, about who may become his successor, the experts are thinking for a long time and called the names of two functionaries, located for many years near Karimov — Prime Minister Shavkat mirzijaeva and Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov. Although under the Constitution the position in case of inability of the President to perform their duties transferred to the President of the Senate. Now this post is Nigmatilla Yuldashev.

Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat mirzijaev. Photo: Vitaly Belousov/TASS

The major players in the choice of a successor, in addition to the President himself, are his family, security forces (among which the key players can be distinguished head of the national security Council Rustam Inoyatova) and regional clans, according to the study the International Institute of political examination (MIPE).

According to Dubnov;, favorite now is mirzijaev. The same opinion is shared by the chief editor of "Fergana" Daniel Kislov.

Shavkat Mirziyaev 59 years, he is from Jizzakh region, was Governor of Jizzakh and Samarkand regions, since 2003 is the head of government. Mirzijaev presented as a very moderate and humble Karimov's successor. "This is a plus for the appointment of a successor, as he will continue the policy of the current President and is likely to comply with the agreement with his family. But this is a big minus, if not surgery will go smoothly and the struggle for power between the clans will result in an open confrontation", — stated in the report.

Mirzijaev close to the President's family, he has a good relationship with the President and his wife, as well as with the head of the national security Service Rustam Inoyatov, excellent management experience, he is not only Prime Minister since 2003, but has twice been Governor, now he has the most authority among the other candidates, lists the factors that determine leadership in an unspoken competition successors, Kislov.

Given the closed nature of power, the grounds on which to judge who is the favorite, there is little, however, you notice that the news about his illness was signed by the Cabinet of Ministers, and not by the press service of the President or the foreign Ministry, it may be considered indirect evidence indicates Kislov.

Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov, the son of the famous Uzbek scientist, Sadik Azimov, closely associated with the elite groups of the Tashkent clan, mentioned in the study WAS. He has long worked at the posts of Chairman of the National Bank for foreign economic Affairs and the Minister of Finance.

Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov. Photo: Alexey Danichev/RIA Novosti

The daughter of Islam Karimov, Gulnara, according to Kislov, hard to be considered a contender to replace his father, as in the past two years, information about it almost did not appear.

Russian influence

Karimov recently held multi-vector foreign policy. Uzbekistan during the years of his reign came and went from CSTO (a military bloc of Armenia, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), giving the United States a military base in 2001. In 2005, he terminated the cooperation, the EAEC (Customs Union) in Tashkent is also not officially committed, although in recent years the Karimov promised to instruct experts to explore possible interactions with the main economic integration Union in the CIS.

Two years ago, Karimov complained about the lack of communication with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "When these meetings differ somewhat in time, I find myself somewhat at a loss be", — said the Uzbek leader is he at the summit of the Shanghai cooperation organization in Dushanbe. Since then, Putin and Karimov met regularly. In December 2014, Putin visited Tashkent on a visit, during which Russia has written off Uzbekistan's debt of $865 million in Tashkent at the same time expressed the interest to cooperate with the Eurasian economic Union.

In April of this year, Karimov was in Moscow, and with Putin, they met for two days in a row — first met together in the evening, and next day communicated in the format of delegations. In June of that Karimov was the owner representative for the region of the summit of the Shanghai cooperation organization. The summit is remembered long Karimov's speech in front of reporters.

"If the government inherits Mirziyaev, it is likely that Tashkent will not avoid a serious strengthening of the Russian influence, that does not mean new the return of Uzbekistan into the fold of the CSTO or its entry into the EEU. This will meet the interests of a pragmatic rather than a political one, the heirs Karimov will need real support, and in Moscow it is not stingy, the price is very high, says Dubnov. — The Pro-Western inclination of the new generation of the Uzbek elite at the same time it is not excluded, but sharp turns in the sentiment is not peculiar to policies of Tashkent, it may become a thing of the future."

The Prime Minister with Russian politicians and businessmen working in Russia, good communication, I agree Kislov, but this does not mean that in case of transfer of power foreign policy dramatically unfold. In the study, it WAS stated that the husband of the niece mirzijaeva was the nephew of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. Asimov, on the contrary, is considered Pro-Western, indicate Dubnov and Kislov.

In recent years, Uzbekistan has actively expanded cooperation with China. In June at the SCO summit, Karimov and Chinese President XI Jinping opened geleznodorogny tunnel "Kamchik" on the electrified railway line Angren — PAP. The total cost of the tunnel was built jointly by the state joint-stock railway company (SJSC) "Uzbekiston Temir Yollari and China Railway Tunnel Group, amounted to $455 million Project, financed by the Fund for reconstruction and development of Uzbekistan (frru), China Eximbank ($350 million) and the world Bank ($195 million).

However, relations with neighbouring countries Uzbekistan complex. With Tajikistan since 1992, there is no air connection periodically Tashkent has blocked gas supplies to Dushanbe on a non-delimited border skirmishes are frequent.

The threat of a third force

Given the closed nature of Uzbek society, the processes occurring in it, is little known, however, it is unlikely that elites will not be able to agree on a successor that will provoke clashes, says the expert of the Russian Institute of strategic studies Azhdar Kurtov. However, the expert continues, ill health of the head of state opens up opportunities for the Islamists and the opposition that calls itself democratic and is abroad, to influence the situation. The representatives of the Islamic opposition in Uzbekistan hiding in Kurts indicates, the main threat comes from neighboring Afghanistan, but to organize a large-scale invasion or the riots in Uzbekistan Islamists are unlikely to afford.

Uzbekistan, home to 32 million people, the largest country in the region to destabilize it not profitable for anyone — neither Russia nor the United States nor China, the expert is convinced.

Islamists opposed to the Uzbek authorities since the early 1990s and since that time almost forced them or abroad, or deep underground. In the early 1990s, Karimov spoke at a rally of Islamists and met by Tahir Yuldashev, the future founder and head of the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan, an active ally of al-Qaeda. The threat of seizure of power by Islamists in Uzbekistan was real, but Tashkent was rapidly squeezed out of the country dangerous activists, writes

The last major event with the participation of the Islamists in the country occurred in 2005, when authorities were harshly suppressed the revolt in Andijan.

Polina Khimshiashvili


Tags: Central Asia , Uzbekistan