First-ever public criticism of late President Karimov aired on Uzbekistan television


TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan’s recently launched 24-hour television news channel has expressed rare criticism of the policies of the late President Islam Karimov on its analytical program, RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service reported.

The critical comments, aired on July 30, were the first public criticism of Karimov’s policies inside Uzbekistan since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Although Karimov’s name was not mentioned in the program, analysts on the program said current President Shavkat Mirziyoyev “has to fix and rectify all the [domestic and international policy] mistakes of the previous leadership.”

According to the program’s anchor and the analysts, Uzbekistan’s “previous leadership” created tensions with neighbors and only now under the new leadership is the country opening up to other Central Asian countries.

“The [new] leadership’s announcement from the very beginning that the ties with the close neighbors does not mean the fight for superiority but, on the contrary, a sincere and respectful attitude to each other, made it possible to improve and strengthen Uzbekistan’s trustworthy relations with the Central Asian republics,” the program’s anchor said.

The program also criticized “the old leadership’s” internal economic, social, and monetary policies.

Mirziyoyev has taken some steps to open up the long-isolated country of some 30 million since he became president after longtime autocrat Karimov’s death was announced in September 2016.

Sergey Kwan