(Wall Street Journal) Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who ushered in his nation’s independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union and ruled it with an iron hand for more than 25 years, died Friday following a stroke in the capital Tashkent. He was 78.
Mr. Karimov leaves behind a legacy of isolation, underinvestment and one-man rule. During his tenure as president, he imprisoned opponents, eliminated political competition and clamped down on the local press. His country’s abysmal human-rights record drew international condemnation.
As the only leader Uzbeks have known in their quarter-century of independence, he leaves an indelible imprint on Central Asia’s most populous nation. […]
Sean Roberts, associate professor of international affairs at The George Washington University, said the events in Andijan “really changed the trajectory of Uzbekistan” and its relations to other countries. “Prior to Andijan, Karimov certainly ruled the state with an iron fist, there was no opposition, there were no competitive elections, he had pushed a lot of the opposition out of the country,” he said. “But after Andijan, it closed any sort of engagement with the international community on domestic political development.” […]