Uzbekistan seeks successor to Karimov


The President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, has suffered a stroke and is in intensive care. The question of a possible successor for the Uzbek leader is on the agenda. In any case, this is an occasion to think about what path Uzbekistan will take under a new leader.

Potential candidates

The following people have been named as possible successors:

- Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, the youngest daughter of the President, the Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan to UNESCO;
- Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev;
- Finance Minister Rustam Asimov;
- The head of the National Security Service, Rustam Inoyatov;
- Chairman of the Senate of the Republic, Nigmatilla Yuldashev.

Asimov is described as the most closely related to international financial institutions, and therefore has a better chance of turning Uzbekistan’s policy towards the West. Mirziyoyev, in turn, is considered to be an authoritarian leader who is less satisfied with the West.

Provoking insecurity

The process of transferring power is always associated with some instability which Islamist groups will try to take advantage of. The US is also interested in weakening the SCO’s Southern flank, which includes Uzbekistan.

Islam Karimov has ruled the country since independence in 1991. The general style of his foreign policy is maneuvering between the US, Russia and China. However, since 2005 and the uprising in Andidzhan, Karimov initiated rapprochement with Russia. Islamist groups (the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, ISIS networks, and the Taliban) with a foothold in neighboring Afghanistan and the separatist movement in Karakalpakstan might be important factors in destabilizing the situation in the country.