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The Morning Sun Never Lasts A Day

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - 23:08

Amidst the background of events in Syria, the problems of Central Asia have been pushed away from the foreground. However, this region (which involves the former Soviet republics that obtained independence in the 1990s) is of particular interest because of the continuity of power observed in major political players of the Muslim world, such as the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.


While Kyrgyzstan has been through the institution of democratic elections of the President, the Republic of Uzbekistan today seems an uncharted territory in terms of continuity of power, as proved by the rule of former communist Karimov during the past 20-odd years. Constantly hurling between Russia and the West, the weakening the leader of Uzbekistan remains virtually without any successor. While in Kazakhstan the issue of transfer of power from the equally aged President is more or less transparent, the search for the successor in Uzbekistan is usually limited to the two rival figures: President's daughter Gulnara Karimova and prominent politician Rustam Azimov. The candidacy of Gulnara Karimova for the position of the future President is not even worth discussing, as a female President is not a possible option for Uzbekistan, where the Muslim mentality and traditions are strong. And this means we should carefully consider the figure of odious and volitional Rustam Azimov.


Being the son of an academician, Rustam Azimov received an excellent education. His lineage resulted in a rapid career growth, as his family is closely connected with the clan of the Karimovs.


Taking advantage of this situation, Azimov has established a large-scale business, creating it by dishonest means. He not only makes his competitors bankrupt; he also physically removes the most distinguished opponents of his. And this is not an open secret for the representatives of big business of Uzbekistan.


As for his political orientation, we should consider the ambiguity of his political views. Initially, he was generally focused on cooperation with the CSTO and the CIS. However, later his views changed sharply, and he began to flirt with the West. All this hints on the fact that he is unclean both as a businessman and as a politician.


Today, we should pay close attention to the stir-up of the US foreign policy in regard to the Central Asian region. We should not be naive to an extent that would prevent us from viewing the November 2015 lightning visits of John Kerry to all the Central Asian states in this context. These landings of the US Secretary of State did not miss Uzbekistan, indeed. His Samarkand-based meetings with Karimov did definitely touch upon the issues of expansion of political contacts, as well as the continuity of power.


As for the USA's policy in Uzbekistan, we should admits that the Americans are successfully wearing two hats. They use one hand to collaborate with the current government, and the other hand to literally feed the Uzbek opposition that resides abroad.


It is known that in 2013, Kerry had several meetings and intense conversations with leader of the Uzbek opposition M. Sallihom. During those meetings both politicians came to the conclusion that the current political conditions make any opposition activity impossible in Uzbekistan. It is the foreign Uzbek opposition who actively support notorious Rustam Azimov. Given that today, when the incumbent President is not going to resign, Asimov already enjoys the support of the opposition in the US, we can easily discern what the political orientation of Asimov will be if he is elected to the position of the President. Rustam himself does not hide his ambitions. Given his far-from-impeccable immediate circle and his own personal qualities (including cruelty towards people whom he regards as waste materials), we can imagine the subsequent regretful discredit of Uzbekistan and the entire hardworking Uzbek people throughout the world.


Although today the Republic of Uzbekistan is referred to as a semi-closed state, it is still ruled be legitimate president Karimov. However, after Asimov comes to the office, the situation will change only for the worse.


It is no secret that all the Central Asian states are now experiencing great economic problems, and a large part of their GDPs accounts for remittances by migrant workers. Against this background, Azimov with his 4 billion dollars appears not just an odious public figure. Modesty, including in regard to statements of income, has always been inherent to the Uzbek people and for the people of Kyrgyzstan. The absolute truth is that one cannot earn 4 billion dollars under the conditions of the Uzbek economy in an honest way. With that, Azimov boasts of his revenues and his position in the Forbes ranking – and this is absolutely beyond any decency.


On the other hand, these notorious billions can be spent on bribing the future voters, which will enable him to come to the Presidency in an allegedly legitimate way. This makes us feel hurt for the fraternal Uzbek people. If the office goes to such an odious President, his term will not only discredit the Republic of Uzbekistan; it may also lead to a certain international isolation (including economic isolation), taking into account the attitude of the big business towards the figure of Asimov.


But here we should once again review the role of the USA. The State Department cares naught about the personal characteristics and the past of their protégés in all countries, including Uzbekistan. For them, it's more important to promote the policy aimed at satisfying their own interests. And it is true not only in relation to construction of bases and hubs (such as the Manas); it also concerns how they bring to power their own satellites.


Sad as it is, notorious Azimov can become one of these satellites. If that is the case, we can only express our sympathy and condolences to the Uzbek people.


It's a pity that the Azimov card may be played in Uzbekistan. Even more hurting is the fact that Uzbekistan is the next-door neighbor of ours – so the temperature of the political life in our Kyrgyzstan depends on the temperature of that in Uzbekistan.

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