A Transition to Test Uzbekistan's Continuity

Oct 12, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
The death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov casts doubt on his longstanding foreign and domestic policies.
(URIEL SINAI/Getty Images)

Uzbekistan is arguably the most strategic country in Central Asia. With 31 million people living within its borders, it is the region's most populous country and the only one that shares a border with each of the four other Central Asian nations. Uzbekistan holds the majority of the Fergana Valley, Central Asia's agricultural heartland, and is a major producer, exporter and transit state of natural gas flowing to Russia and China. Today, Uzbekistan is all the more important for the unprecedented power transition currently underway there. Prior to his death in early September, President Islam Karimov had ruled Uzbekistan since 1989. During his time in office, Karimov oversaw the country's transition to independence from the Soviet Union, building its political, economic, and security structures and setting the course for its domestic and foreign policy. Though the late president died without a clear succession plan in place, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev stepped...

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