The illness of the President
Sunday Uzbek edition of Gazeta.uz 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 on “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 presidential campaign, Karimov did not hold public events more than two weeks. However, later it appeared and won their elections with 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. Following elections 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 failure by the President to perform the duties transferred to the President of the Senate. Now this post is Nigmatilla Yuldashev.
Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyaev
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. This is also the opinion of the chief editor of “Fergana” Daniel Kislov.
Shavkat Mirziyaev 59 years, he is from Jizzakh region, was Governor of Jizzakh and Samarkand obestat 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 was Governor twice, and now he has more among all other applicants of the authority, enumerates 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 of almost there, but you notice that the news about his illness was signed by the Cabinet Minister, and not by the press service of the President or the Ministry of foreign Affairs, 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, difficult to consider the candidates to replace his father as the last two years, information about it almost did not appear.
Karimov recently held multi-vector foreign policy. Uzbekistan during 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, Islam Karimov complained about the lack of communication with Vladimir Putin. “When these meetings differ somewhat in time, I find myself somewhat at a loss be”, — said the Uzbek leader is the Russian President 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. It will answer, rather, the interests of a pragmatic, rather than political, 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 the case of a transfer of power to him, 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 Yullari” and the Chinese company “China Railway Tunnel Group, amounted to $455 million: the 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 at the Tashkent complex. With Tajikistan since 1992, there is no air connection periodically Tashkent has blocked gas supplies to Dushanbe on a non-delimited border is not rare shootout.
The threat of a third force
Given the closed nature of Uzbek society, the processes taking place in it is little known, however, it is unlikely that elites will not be able to agree on a successor that will lead to clashes, says the expert of the Russian Institute of strategic studies Azhdar Kurtov. However, experts say, illness of the head of state opens up opportunities for the Islamists and the opposition that calls itself democratic and is abroad, to attempt 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, which is home to 32 million people, the largest country in the region to destabilize it unprofitable to 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 Tape.<url>.
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.