A Dark, Dark Place 7

I cannot believe Alisher Saipov is dead. When last I saw him he can only have been 23 years old, and was so brimming with energy, life and optimism. Now at 26 he is dead, just the latest dissident to be murdered by the Karimov regime. There is a lovely tribute from Natalia Antaleva here.


Coming so hard on the murder of my friend Mark Weil, I really am overwhelmed by the sheer horror of it all.

http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article2970807.ece The dissident movement in Uzbekistan has been almost entirely exiled, incarcerated or murdered now, and the state becomes ever more of a nightmare. I find it crushing – and I am not even an Uzbek.

There is an absolutely vital item on Uzbekistan coming on BBC2 Newsnight on Tuesday 30 October. It looks at the slavery of the people while Karimov and his oligarchs become billionaires. Please do watch it.

Meantime, Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North (and thus Arsenal FC), had tried through a parliamentary question to obtain from the British Government the reports I put in from the British Embassy in Tashkent regarding Alisher Usmanov’s corrupt dealings with the Karimovs and Putin.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Alisher Usmanov

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish reports received from British embassies relating to Alisher Usmanov. [158765]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Such information would constitute personal data. A request for personal information brings into play the relevant legislative provisions on data release by the Government and would require the consent of the individual concerned.


That stonewalling answer is, when you think about it, quite astonishing. The government can never tell you about Mugabe, or Slobodan Milosevic, or anyone else, without their consent? Of course it is a nonsense excuse – which leads to the question, why is New Labour supporting Usmanov in covering up his past?

They also will not tell us why (if my sources are correct) he received a British passport:

British Citizenship: Alisher Usmanov

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether Mr Alisher Usmanov holds British citizenship, whether honorary or not; and, if so, when and why it was granted. [HL5411]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is the policy of the Border and Immigration Agency not to comment publicly on individual cases.


Again that is nonsense – you may recall Peter Mandelson had to resign for the second time for improperly facilitating the passport application of another dodgy billionaire. Did the government simply take the line that it could not comment on an individual passport application? No, it did not.


For some reason New Labour is trying to clamp down debate on Mr Usmanov. I wonder if Gallagher Holdings, or any of Usmanov’s other companies, will turn out to have made donations or “loans” to New Labour?

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7 thoughts on “A Dark, Dark Place

  • Sabretache


    You say you find the horrors surrounding the stifling of dissent in Uzbekistan crushing. Whilst seldom involving the same degree terror (domestically at least – YET), frankly I feel much the same about this country. The interests of the State and the mass of its citizens are increasingly divergent. The bulk of those masses are either too cowed by the phony 'war on terror', or too somnambulated by the endless diversions of 'reality' and trivia entertainment to even notice what's going on. Meanwhile, the State's PR operatives (politicians) are, in equal measure, either powerless, complicit or both. In similar fashion to the US, UK governments are increasingly bought and paid for. Except on domestic trivia, it makes precious little difference which party does the 'governing' because, on the burgeoning epoch-defining issues of population growth, resource (especially oil) depletion, climate change and globalised 'Free' (read on our terms) Trade iniquities, together with the policy stances required to either ignore or promote them, there is broad consensus. Step outside that consensus with any degree of effectiveness and your career as a politician, journalist, media pundit or practically any other state dependent/sponsored job will be at an end.

    Thinking about that, I guess it pretty much describes what happened to our esteemed ambassador to Uzbekistan a few short years ago eh?

  • ruth

    I think the government's support of Usmanov is for a reason much stronger than than donating to the party. I suspect either he's a front man for the billions he owns and/or he's being groomed to take over Uzbekistan to rekindle a pro-Western stance.

    I absolutely agree with Sabretache and would also like to add that imprisoning entirely innocent people to hide corrupt government activities has been going on for a while.

  • Bartholomew

    I found a 2006 report which said that Saipov had been designated as a “terrorist” by some US agency, doubtless because of his reporting and analysis – was this a favour to Karimov, or just gross incompetence? And would it have had any effect the decision to get rid of him?


    (By the way, there’s an interesting short article in the latest “Private Eye” (p. 31) about Usmanov’s former directorship of Middlesex Holdings)

  • maceasy

    That is despicable if the UK government has given Usmanov a passport, and even worse, denies its own citizens the right to know who it is dishing passports out to, and on what grounds. What conceivable reason can he have to be awarded a UK passport? Money and influence. Which Uzbek dissidents in danger of their life will be granted UK passports so easily? This government have become so detached from the people who elected it, and so supine and cravenly in thrall to any big business interests that they deserve to be indited for corruption. Thankyou Craig for highlighting their chicanery and evil.

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