(New Eastern Europe) The death of the 78-year-old leader of Uzbekistan on September 2nd 2016 has cast the country into uncharted waters and sent shock waves through a region facing multiple security concerns. The late president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, who had ruled the country with an iron fist for 27 years, has been credited with building a stable, powerful, and secure state, albeit at the expense of civil, political, and religious freedoms. With all eyes on Uzbekistan’s internal power dealings in the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for December 4th 2016, many analysts expect a smooth and controlled transfer of power to a new president. Less discussed are the consequences of the current transition for the country and the region in the medium and long-term.
My contention is that the “second generation” of Uzbekistan’s leadership will entrench authoritarian politics and informal institutions that will weaken the state, making it increasingly vulnerable to transnational risks and domestic political turmoil. Since authoritarianism is a regional phenomenon, the entrenchment of authoritarianism in Uzbekistan will strengthen authoritarian tendencies in the Central Asian region at the expense of regional cooperation. […]
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