It will be difficult for Uzbekistan’s new president to bring about foundational change without moving toward some kind of glasnost. Though Uzbekistan’s tightly controlled political system has its limits, Mirziyoyev will have to loosen the reins in one way or another.
Tajikistan, plagued by frequent widespread blackouts, has begun construction of an ambitious dam project that could significantly ease the country’s perennial energy shortages. However, in a region notorious for water disputes, neighboring Uzbekistan is staunchly opposed to the dam. A long-term solution is essential to maintaining peace in the region.
The Kremlin has tried to use billionaires to do its bidding in post-Soviet states before—with mixed success. When it comes to Alisher Usmanov, the hurdles to a successful partnership are particularly high.
It’s not surprising that the members of the EAEU are struggling to adopt a Customs Code. In many ways, the problem stems from Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the EAEU, which mostly benefits Chinese exporters to Russia, who now have less red tape to deal with and more contraband routes available. The Russian budget, which may miss out on about $340 million a year, is the biggest loser.
Carnegie Moscow Center organized a conference on contemporary issues in Central Asia.
Although we shouldn’t expect anything drastic, Uzbekistan’s next president will likely change some of Islam Karimov’s policies, especially in the economic sphere. Because the country needs financial support and access to new technologies from the West, Uzbekistan may liberalize slightly, demonstrating greater respect for democracy and human rights.
The struggle to succeed Islam Karimov is heating up. Rustam Inoyatov, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Rustam Azimov—three of the most powerful men in Uzbekistan—are the leading contenders to assume the throne in Tashkent.
Change is coming to the regimes of Central Asia, with Uzbekistan only the first state to experience a succession crisis. The departure of a long-standing leader can result in regime consolidation, but a struggle for power can also lead to a period of glasnost and democratization.
The Carnegie Moscow Center hosted Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Hekmat Karzai to discuss the country’s political, economic, and military situation as well as future development prospects and security challenges in the region.
Evidently, most of Uzbekistan’s economic indicators are subject to statistical manipulations, be it a 90 percent voter turnout for presidential elections or refrigerator manufacturing, where a 50-fold increase was reported. In this context, numbers on labor migration out of the country shed more light on the efficiency of Karimov’s economic model than all of his statistical data.