Interview WIth Karimov

by Nathan Hamm on 1/14/2005 · 4 comments

It’s extremely rare that Islam Karimov sits down for interviews, but he recently did. Ferghana.ru has a translation. Whether he’s being genuine in his stated desire for democracy or not, Karimov’s a smart cookie. Even though I think he’s wrong in some of his conclusions about Uzbeks, he has evidently thought about democratization, the impact and limitations of Western involvement, and why people rise up as in Georgia and Ukraine. He seems to have a much more realistic grasp on the situation than the Raimondos, Buchanans, Steeles, and BHHRGs of the world.

At the same time, his firm grasp on the situation is problematic. He has appraised the situation, come to the conclusion that people force governments out of office when extremely dissatisfied, and looked for ways to stave off such a revolt in his country. While he says that Western involvement is not decisive, he has apparently identified it as something he can do something about. The way that he talks about this makes fairly clear that in his eyes the road to democracy doesn’t involve the involvement ofthe people.

There’s a lot to chew on in the interview on all kinds of matter. One impression I come away with is that Uzbekistan might be a lot less interested in triangulation than I had come to believe (in a way that would make Russia happy).

Meanwhile, closely related to much of the interview is EurasiaNet’s article on Kyrgyzstan’s protests. Given the way that Karimov talked about President Akayev’s worries, I think the opposition protests might just convince him to, at the very least, tone down any electoral shenanigans he had up his sleeve for the vote next month.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 2 comments }

student January 14, 2005 at 8:42 pm

“These days, everything depends on me and it is hardly surprising. We have a difficult period behind us, a period when we had to rise to numerous challenges, when I was forced to take responsibility for everything…”
Interesting, does it mean that he is gonna run again for the presidency in 2007 too?
“Literally the other day I signed a decree granting citizenship to 70 Russians who opted to return to Uzbekistan.”
Nice job, Mr President. I think granting citizenship is much easier than guaranteeing and providing human rights for your citezens.

student January 21, 2005 at 2:20 am

Ferghana.Ru reports an interview with Muhammad Salikh, Erk leader and political immigrant.
Muhammad Salikh, Saloy Madaminov, was one of the candidates to the presidential elections in 1991 running against Karimov.

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