Russia’s President Putin heads to Uzbekistan as succession issue looms

By bne IntelliNews September 6, 2016

Russia's President Vladimir Putin will visit Uzbekistan on September 6  to honour the memory of President Islam Karimov, who died last week after suffering a stroke.

As Uzbekistan is either in the process of picking Karimov’s successor or has already settled on one, the arrival of Putin could solidify the choice of the Uzbek elites. The approval of Moscow has always played an important role in consolidating leadership in Central Asian countries. As such, it is important to see whom Putin will meet to give a clue on who will be the most likely successor of Karimov.

Addressing a news conference at the G20 summit in China, Putin said he hoped the Central Asian country’s new leadership would be able to preserve stability. “One can make different judgments about what he did for his country, one can view various moments in Uzbekistan's modern history differently, but he preserved stability in the country, he preserved its steady development,” Putin said, according to InterFax.

“New people will come ... I hope very much that they will be able to preserve this stability. For a country like Uzbekistan, it's extremely important, it's just indispensable for its self-preservation and further steady development.”

Karimov, who died aged 79, stood at the helm of the country for a quarter of century. His funeral took place on September 3.

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