The oppressive political climate in Uzbekistan may continue to further or falter as Uzbek President Islam Karimov is reported to have suffered a brain haemorrhage. While there is no certainty of his survival yet he is alive, political analysts are concerned over the balance of power in the country.
Uzbekistan’s first president — with his power continuing since 1989 — was taken to the hospital under the story that he was undergoing regular treatment.
According to the President’s Youngest Daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, the President was already in weak health.
“There will be losers from Karimov’s demise no matter how smoothly succession takes place,” said Erica Marat, an assistant professor at the National Defense University. “With no pre-set procedures of succession and a complete lack of experience in holding open elections, anyone who comes to power will continue the same level of political repression or engage in even harsher methods.”
Hailing from a Communist Party, Islam Karimov had helped transform Uzbekistan into one of the world’s most repressive states. He had maintained control with deadly crackdowns and has reported to have authorised the use of brutal torture including the boiling of dissidents. The president even has a circle of former Soviet Intelligence operatives monitoring anti-government movement in the country.
While the next possible successor — Gulnara Karimova — is unfit for leadership, political analysts believe the political vacuum could see multiple parties vie for power.
Despite the imminent political breakdown of his passing, the country may also swing to one side of Russia or China. Russia is currently providing economic stability to the country but is troubled by low oil prices. China is itself having economic troubles, making foreign investment to its partner countries cool in the last three years.