Welcome to Karimovstan
Uzbekistan, a Central Asian state of 30 million people with vast natural resources, has recently witnessed two major back-to-back events – the Navruz holiday and the 4th presidential elections since the demise of the Soviet Union.
Navruz, held annually on March 21st, marks the spring equinox. It is the festivity of Persian origin symbolising the renewal of nature and hope. The authorities make use of it to reinforce a sense of national identity and pride.
The political and socio-cultural weight of the latter episode, however, is far greater, and has little to do with the new day narrative, which embodies Navruz.
Islam Karimov, who has been at the helm of power for a quarter-century, won the opaque presidential election on March 29th. This means one thing – stagnation.