The USA and Russia decide the fate of Uzbekistan

Dec 2012
The suspension of Uzbekistan’s membership in Collective Security Treaty Organization stirred up a wave of publications about this Central Asian republic and the question about the future of Uzbek government gives a sting to them. Karimov came close to the border line when it is necessary to clear up a part of his plan linked with the concrete names of new configuration of the power. At the same time Karimov should appoint a more loyal man as the President in order to obtain a safe conduct, passing him a part of his rating.
Otherwise, in short time Uzbek people will see “a clash of strong wills”, when business will be against business, policy against policy, clashing in a battle for oil, gas, cotton, uranium, gold and strategic position of Uzbekistan. The local elite will lobby their own candidate; Karimov plans to appoint somebody unknown, geostrophic centers of the world – the USA and Russia will push their man to the highest post of Uzbekistan. His name is Rustam Azimov.
As it is indicated in the recent Internet publications, Rustam Azimov is a liberally tuned statesman and in sympathy with USA. Really, the USA patronizes Azimov. There were a lot of materials about it in foreign publications and in statements of congressmen and senators of the USA. Azimov’s regular visits to the USA from the beginning till the end of the 90th were adjusted from the beginning of 2000, when the Uzbek president took under the control all travels of his officials to foreign countries. Though, being a head of the regional office of EBRD, Azimov has not abandoned his foreign travels. During these travels he was persuading the West that he is a follower of liberal values and democracy.
Azimov’s family also knows western life style. Practically all his relatives have residence permit in Spain, Greece and England. Rustam Azimov’s wife has double citizenship – Russian Federation and the USA. It should be mentioned that spouses of Mikhail Saakashvilly and Viktor Yushenko’s, a former Ukrainian leader, also had the American citizenship. In due time, these leaders took unconditional moral and material support of the USA on presidential elections.
However, being no fool, Azimov tries “not to put all eggs in one basket”. He has close and trust relationships with Russian establishment. These relationships were conducted through Ilkhom Shakirov, a Russian businessman. Rustam Azimov became related with Shakirov marrying off his daughter to his son. Undoubtedly, in this case, the Russian political figures do not mind to see Azimov on the top of the Uzbek government, supposing that he will be more predictable and “complaisant”. There are enough reasons for it. Firstly, Azimov’s financial and business interests in Russia. He has shares in some fuel and energy companies through Ilkhom Shakirov. Secondly, family moorings, that were mentioned above.
As a rule, protege’s activity has its own “logic” and the essence of this “logic” is that he should balance between loyalty to the person who helped him to ascend the throne and the aspiration for independence. It is unknown how Azimov will solve this problem. He should balance between the USA and Russia. Therewith, nobody has cancelled the repartition of influence area and property to one’s profit.
Thereby, the USA and Russia deepen their confrontation in the region pushing Azimov to Uzbek Olympus. Karimov will play his own patience. As peculiarity of the Uzbek political system is a very tight connection between authority and property. The man who loses the first thing usually loses the second, because one can save his assets only using authority resources.
The only thing that will not be taken into consideration in this invisible war is the cost of life of typical Uzbek citizen, his future and his hypothetical interests.

Aleksandr Nikitskiy
Oct 2012
Louisville, Ky
In my opinion, the U.S. should stay out of the region (as well as many others), and simply lend a hand when asked. We cannot afford to be everywhere, nor should we be.