Karimov Family Values 144

It is now important that Prime Minister Mirzieyev – who appears to be in control in Uzbekistan at the moment – produces Gulnara Karimova and shows that she is alive and healthy. The whereabouts of her daughter Iman are also obscure.

Twelve years ago President Karimov jailed his own nephew, Jamshid Karimov, for the “crime” of writing an article in a state publication which suggested modest improvements to his uncle’s economic policies. Like other prominent dissidents, young Karimov ended up chained to a bed in a psychiatric ward being pumped mind altering drugs to re-educate him.

Nevertheless, when President Karimov’s daughter Gulnara was confined to house arrest two years ago, I was inclined to view it more as protective detention than real incarceration. Gulnara was wanted on fraud and corruption charges in Sweden, Switzerland, France and the USA. The US government has demanded she forfeit 550 million dollars. Her “detention” in Uzbekistan prevented her being subject to an embarrassing trial in a foreign state. Besides her ability to tweet and send sorrowful photos from her house arrest seemed to argue against real detention. But 18 months of complete disappearance have caused me to worry. Another interpretation, to which I now tend, was that in his declining years Karimov was not all powerful and became unable to protect Gulnara from Mirzieyev and security service chief Inoyatov. Though it still remains possible that he incarcerated his own daughter to an uncertain fate – after all his funeral just took place with not even the western obituaries mentioning the existence of his eldest child, a discarded son from his first marriage.

There is no doubt that Karimov did think of Gulnara as a potential successor – or at least in that unenlightened country, in conjunction with a suitable husband. Mansur Maqsudi was a surprisingly good choice, but he proved unwilling to put up with Gulnara’s blatant infidelities and they divorced. The private lifestyle of the Karimovs got rare public exposure when the New Jersey divorce settlement awarded Gulnara, for example, her US $4.5 million worth of personal jewellery.

There was no sign of Gulnara at her father’s funeral. It is rumoured, and not impossible, she has been moved to Israel under an assumed name. On the other hand she could be dead. While I believe her to be involved in numerous crimes including corruption, sex-trafficking and conspiracy to murder, I should like to see her tried rather than murdered, and the Uzbek regime should now be asked to produce her – not least to help numerous investigations worldwide into mafia operations.

I have long expected Mirzieyev to take over as President, but I am happy to say I do not believe the corrupt system in Uzbekistan will last much longer. Uzbekistan has become a remittance economy. The highest single source of revenue was remittances from Uzbeks working abroad, mostly in Russia and Kazakhstan. The collapse in the oil price and the not coincidental crackdowns on illegal migrant workers have slashed remittance revenue from $5.2 billion to under $2 billion. Exports of natural gas, mostly to China, were Uzbekistan’s second biggest revenue source and the price has fallen drastically. So once again the state is turning the screws on forced labour for the cotton industry.

Decades of relentless propaganda had bought Karimov an artificial but real popularity. His successor has to start a personality cult from scratch against sharp economic decline. I am very hopeful the system will collapse within two years.

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144 thoughts on “Karimov Family Values

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  • Loony

    No doubt Karimov was not well disposed to people he may have fallen out with, or people who he deemed to have served their purpose or people who could conceivably threaten his hold on power in some way. Perhaps some of these people suffered a surprising or unexplained fate.

    Perhaps the fate of enemies of Karimov bear some comparison to some of the people on this list


    • Loony

      There are still books – mass book burning is a Trump policy.

      Trump believes Fahrenheit 451 to be a divine revelation – he is somewhat confused as he set fire to the book prior to reading it. Mexican immigrants will be forced to burn all the books. Thereafter they can choose whether to self immolate or be deported to Mexico.

      Conversely Hillary wants to give everyone as many free books as they would like – the entire cost of the book giving program is to be funded by the Clinton Foundation. Mexicans will be imported to hand deliver all of the free books.

      • Alan

        I see you too have a wicked sense of humour; I like that idea of Trump believing Fahrenheit 451 to be a divine revelation.

  • Loony

    It is disturbing to read that Uzbekistan resorts to forced labor in the cotton industry.

    Surely they must realize that forced labor could be deployed to many other industries. Take for example the US which has had the foresight to constitutionally enshrine slavery and to ensure that the fruits of slavery are available to a wide range of economic actors.


    As slavery is only legal in specific circumstances (i.e. to be a slave you must first be lawfully incarcerated) is it not fortunate that there are so many convicted criminals in the US. What incredible foresight Bill Clinton displayed back in 1994 when he passed legislation whose principal effect was to increase the US prison population and hence to increase the supply of slaves


  • Alan

    SNP’s growth for Scotland depends on the lobbying industry.

    The Scottish National Party (SNP)’s vision for Scotland includes much corporate lobbying.

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week that former MSP Andrew Wilson would head a Growth Commission. It’s a listening project but who gets heard may be predictable.

    A former economist, Wilson is the managing partner of Charlotte Street Partners. (CSP). It is a secretive and influential firm with close ties to the SNP and the financial sector.

    CSP calls itself “a strategic communications company”, helping businesses engage with “policymakers, politicians and regulators”.

    Past clients include Cluff Natural Resources, which wanted to burn coal under the Firth of Forth to release methane. CSP has also lobbied for Irn Bru maker AG Barr, whose drinks will be hit by the new sugar tax, and mobile phone mast firm Wireless Infrastructure Group.


    Now you have to admit that RoS failed to mention this little matter 🙂

  • Tony_0pmoc

    She looked rather like this..what was I supposed to do..More Welsh Than Russian..but she was studying physics and maths…like me – but not in the same class (I never had any luck).

    This is when she was young wearing specs


    She is far too young to run a News Agency in Edinburgh – but she has written a book and got it published in Russian – which is more than me.

    Look at The State of The American Girls now in Comparison…

    Просто говорю’


  • Paul Barbara

    @ Resident Dissident September 7, 2016 at 20:21
    Putin is readopting the old KGB habit of sending political opponents, from the annexed Crimea, to psychiatric hospitals

    Thanks so much, RD, for letting me know Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty was still going; I thought it was lonf defunct, and replaced by Fox/CNN.

    Here’s another article from it:
    ‘Russian Environmentalists Slam U.S. Green Party Candidate For Putin Comments’:
    (at least Jill Stein does get a mention on RFE/RL; more than she gets on Fox/CNN):

    ‘Two prominent Russian environmental activists have criticized the presidential candidate for the U.S. Green Party, saying her positions on President Vladimir Putin and his policies are “deeply shocking.”
    The open letter by Yevgenia Chirikova and Nadezhda Kutepova is unlikely to fundamentally alter the electoral prospects of Jill Stein in the race for the White House.
    She’s running distant to the more mainstream candidates for the White House from the Democratic and Republican parties, and some polls show her Green Party trailing the other major alternative political party, the Libertarians.
    But the letter put the spotlight on some of Stein’s more controversial statements, as well as the plight of Russian environmentalists, who have been subjected to increasing repressions, along with other civil-society groups……….’
    ‘……Chirikova gained notoriety in Russia for her involvement in the fight over treasured forestlands north of Moscow that were slated to be partially razed for a new superhighway to St. Petersburg. For many, the protracted fight for the Khimki Forest turned into a litmus test for the ability of civil society activists to fight government-backed industrial projects.
    Chirikova was awarded one of the world’s most prestigious awards, the Goldman Environmental Prize, in 2012.
    Last year, she fled to Estonia, saying she feared Russian authorities would try to pressure her by levying steep taxes on her award, or other measures……’

    Hmmmn, the ‘Goldman Environmental Prize, worth a cool $175,000 – not the sort of prize an anti-bee killing or GMO or anti Fracking activist would get in the West…..

    And (different site, same ‘Weltenschaung’):
    ‘Opposition Activist Arrested with Explosives Equipment’:

    ‘The US prize winning opposition activist Yon Goicoechea has been arrested by Venezuelan authorities for the alleged possession of explosives equipment just two days ahead of the opposition demonstration scheduled for September 1st.
    On Monday evening, Venezuelan news agencies began reporting Goicoechea’s arrest, which was subsequently confirmed by Diosdado Cabello, Vice-president of the United Socialist Party for Venezuela (PSUV). 
    “He was detained, and they found in his possession detonator chords for explosives. This man was trained by North American imperialism for years,” stated Cabello.
    “We prefer a million times over to imprison a murderer in time, than to let a drop of blood flow through the streets of Caracas, because that is what they want,” he continued. 
    Venezuelan citizen Goicoechea was awarded the U.S.-based Cato Institute’s $500,000 “Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty” in 2008 for his role in anti-government protests in 2007. His family has denied the allegations against him to the press. 

    Hmmmn, a cool $500,000! Not the sort of prize a Colombian, Haitian, Saudi, Bahraini or Sahrawi would get from the Cato Institute ‘For Advancing Liberty’, eh wot?

    Perhaps you need an injection of ‘Truther’ stem cells!!!

  • Paul Barbara

    Russia? How about the ‘good ‘ole USof A?’:

    There’s an old saying (paraphrased): ‘Liberty Starts At Home’; I wonder if ‘Radio Liberty’ will be interested in broadcasting/printing this story?

    ‘Committee to Stop FBI Repression’:

    ‘Rasmea’s prosecutors deny the horror of torture; Judge Drain accepts their argument’;

    ‘Rasmea’s lawyers file motion “to protect defendant from additional harm”:

    ‘Defense attorneys for Rasmea Odeh, the Palestinian American icon who was wrongfully convicted in a politically-motivated, federal immigration case, filed a motion yesterday in response to last week’s ruling by Judge Gershwin Drain that Rasmea would have to submit to up to 18 hours of a government expert’s examination of her mental state.

    The defense motion asks Drain to “require the government to disclose the identity and all other relevant information concerning the expert…and to identify any formal tests that the designated individual intends to administer.” The defense had asked for this from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan, and was refused.

    Last week, Drain sided with the government, and will compel Rasmea to undergo intensive psychological evaluation by a government forensic examiner, even though the judge knows she is a survivor of vicious physical, sexual, and psychological torture at the hands of the Israeli military.

    For this reason, the defense is asking for additional, “simple modifications” of the judge’s order, like a neutral site for the examination, allowing Rasmea to have a companion with her, and a clear explanation of the exact amount of time needed for the government to assess her.

    Dr. Mary Fabri, the torture expert and former clinical psychologist at the world-renowned Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture, who diagnosed Rasmea with PTSD, again filed an affidavit with the court, writing that “the risk of Ms. Odeh suffering substantial further mental and emotional trauma from another examination—particularly from an adversarial figure, where the need for safety and trust will be fundamentally important—is very real.” Fabri adds that “trauma specialists agree that effort must be taken to avoid the retraumatization of survivors, especially by professionals.”

    In addition, when the defense asked for the name of the government expert, the prosecution responded with a return to its wild claims that “defense counsel will then foment harassment of the expert by the supporters of the defendant.” Followers of the case will remember Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel’s attacks on the Rasmea Defense Committee, when he called her supporters “mobs and hoards [sic].” And even though it appears that Tukel has been removed from the case, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade’s office is still engaging in similar racist attacks against Rasmea’s supporters…..’

    One law for ‘US and our friends’, another for those who don’t kow-tow to the ‘Exceptionals’.
    (There is a rumour going about that ‘Old Nick’ has special ‘Exceptional’ suites in hell – asbestos underwear are said to be sold out…..wonder if ‘it’ has special suites for Trolls and presstitutes?).

  • Uzbek in the UK

    I give mirziyaev his 20+ years of rule and terror. You are overestimating Uzbeks.

    Never uzbeks have revolted successfully against tyranny. Collapse of feudal medieval kingdoms was due to the revolution in Russia and independence was by-product of events taking place in Belovezhskaya Pusha (when 3 Slavic leaders decided to leave USSR). As historian you will know that people who lived in Transoxiana have mostly been ruled by invaders and was always ruled by tyrants (sometimes enlightened like Ulugbek but still tyrants). There is nothing to base your arguments about collapse of regime in Uzbekistan in 2 or even 10 years.

    And to add to it, Uzbekistan (comparing to many other authoritarian systems) is not doing that bad. People rely on remittance which were reduced in the last 2 years but there is still way to go until people will become totally starved. And even then, with more than 600.000 security forces in place it is unlikely that there will be any successful revolt. By that time oil prices will start picking up again (as it happened many times in the last 60 years) and remittance economy will return.

    The only events that might trigger some change are if authoritarian regimes in Kazakhstan and in Russia will collapse. But even this will not lead to a great change in Uzbekistan. I base my conclusions on the events in 1989-90 when soviet authoritarian system because more liberal (affected by glasnost and perestroika) however; no dramatic liberalisation have taken place in Uzbekistan. In fact Uzbekistan along with Turkmenistan were the only 2 soviet republics which transitioned into even more brutal dictatorships. So no big hope here either.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    No offence but I am concerned that you are concerned with the well being of Gulnara and have not addressed the well being of thousands of political prisoners in uzbekistan. Gulnara has done very well in the last 27 years (despite the last 2 years of set backs) while people like Muhammad Bekjan lives in prison in the last 18 years. What about his well-being? Would you please demand his release and thousands of others?

    I would also like gulnara, her sister and all those in power tried but we all know this is not going to happen.

    I feel concentrating on Gulnara and ignoring thousands tortured and thousands killed is inappropriate.

    I know that you are man of principles and have done a lot for victims in Uzbekistan, but please expands your call to now uzbek president mirziyaev.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Why was Swedish communication giant Telia willing to pay Gulnara over a billion dollars in 2007 to break into the Uzbek market which it is now expected to make up?

    Was it to make the murderous regime look okay to Europeans?

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