Tied to Today: Future for Central Asia?

On Friday, September 2, 2016, the death of Islam Karimov, the President of Uzbekistan was announced.  Karimov was 78 years old and died of a stroke.  He had been in power in Uzbekistan since before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has been the country’s only president to this point.  Uzbekistan is the largest former Soviet Republic in Central Asia (in terms of population).  Karimov had a close relationship to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, yet still allowed the United States to use airbases in his country to fight the War on Terror.  Human rights watch groups such as Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders decried Karimov’s regime for practices including torture and forced child labor.  Despite these allegations of crimes, Central Asia has been stable since 1991 despite the troubles in the nearby Middle East and the tensions between Pakistan and India.  With Karimov’s death, we can only wonder who will fill his shoes in Uzbekistan – one of the least open countries in the world.

Featured Image: “Islam Karimov.” By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0.
Source: Yan, Holly. “Longtime Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov dies after stroke.” CNN. 2 September 2016.

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