Lola Karimova’s effort to punish Rue89, an online French magazine, for making the fairly uncontroversial statement that her father’s government in Uzbekistan is a dictatorship looks to be backfiring. Over at TOL, Barbara Frye has a great account of developments at the trial in a Paris court. Rue89’s attorneys are calling activists and people who have in some way been victimized by Karimov’s government, turning this lawsuit in an opportunity to embarrass Uzbekistan’s government rather than redeem the Karimov name. Here’s a selection from an exchange involving Nadezhda Ataieva (who apparently blogged about her testimony; who has a link?).
A tribunal judge asked her, “Karimov’s daughers, are they useful to Uzbekistan?”
“Lola Karimova spends her time organizing fashion shows in Europe, for her, for her image. How is that useful? Besides, who funds these shows?”
Did Lola really expect this to go well for her? The stakes area much higher than for other post-Soviet libel tourists; it’s not just the Karimov name that’s drawing high-profile, public attention, but the reputation of the entire Uzbek state.
In unrelated Uzbekistan news worth reading, Cornelius Graubner has interesting commentary on German disillusionment with Uzbekistan at EurasiaNet. German investors, at the very least, are getting fed up with the frustrations of trying to accomplish anything in Uzbekistan. For what it’s worth, I agree with the German government’s inclination toward a pro-engagement policy, but the key to success in Uzbekistan, perhaps, is to gauge the level of engagement toward not expecting to accomplish much.