An Uzbek expat internet forum recently had a popular discussion on whether Alisher Usmanov would be a good President of Uzbekistan – this is not academic, as Usmanov is certainly the preferred candidate of President Karimov if the oligarchs will not accept his daughter, and would have the backing of Putin. Thanks to Libertad for publishing some translations. Here are some samples:
1. Right after Alisher Usmanov becomes a president, Tashkent will host a big “party” of criminals from around the globe. The streets of Tashkent will be decorated with big billboards that say “Mafia forever” or “Congratulations from brotherhood”
2. TV will be showing only mafia movies
3. There will be great changes in law enforcement bodies’ administration systems. The chiefs will be replaced by criminals
4. There will be significant changes to the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan. Advisors of president will be given a right to pardon criminals without any investigation
5. Ruslan Chagaev will become an absolute champion in boxing in the world, as everyone will refuse meeting with him in the ring
6. Rustam Kasymjanov will become world’s absolute master in chess
7. Arsenal will have new uniform with national Uzbek symbols (like cotton) on it
8. And there will be a match between Arsenal and Pakhtakor
9. New taxes will be introduced – to help the brotherhood
10. Usmanov will begin privatizing the government institutions
11. And in six months he will become the worlds top billionaire, and Uzbeks, of course, will be proud of being ruled by the world’s richest person
12. And in six moths Alisher Usmanov [just like Karimov] will be teaching farmers how to plant cotton, and builders how to put a brick, etc.
1. Uzbek Anthem will be changed to a music from a Russian movie “Brigada” [famous Russian movie about gangsters], but there will be a huge debate, because some of the Alisher Usmanov’s team members also like the music from the movie “Godfather”. However, a patriotic Alisher Usmanov will support “Brigada” voters.
2. Our current slogan “Uzbekistan is a country with promising future” will be changed to a “Forget about it” ?” with New Jersey accent /forgetta abaaut it/.
3. National sport Kurash will be replaced by “Cards”, and introduced in education. The first graders play “Durak” [card game] and so on, the level of difficulty will raise based on the grade and in grade 10 schools kids will be prepared to a Poker championship in Las-Vegas (in a couple of years, actually, kids will be so good that world championships will be held in Tashkent)
Now you may not get all the cultural references, but what does this tell you about what Uzbek people know of Mr Usmanov’s profession?
Forum.arbuz.com, where the discussion was held, hosts more than a few Karimov regime trolls, so there are a vocal minority of defenders of Usmanov here. Given that Karimov is arguably the world’s most vicious dictator, the argument that he must be OK as he is a friend of President Karimov perhaps won’t cut ice in many circles. Most of the discussion is of course in Uzbek or Russian.