17:30 GMT +318 February 2019
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    Uzbekistan: Life After Islam

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    Andrew Korybko, Sergey Strokan

    The passing of Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov ends an important chapter in the region’s post-Soviet history and heralds in a new era for the region, with Russia, China, and even the US having a stake in what happens next amidst swirling uncertainty over his successor.

    In an article titled “Post Karimov, Uzbekistan’s place amongst the global order must be decided”, written by Bryan MacDonald and carried by RT, the analyst writes that:

    “Uzbekistan matters. This country of 31 million people is the largest of the five Central Asian states that sprung from the USSR and the only one which borders all the other four. It also shares a border with Afghanistan.”

    He goes on to explain that:

    “Russia’s worst fear is destabilization of the volatile region and any eventual “Afghan-isation" of Uzbekistan would be a complete nightmare. However, the peaceful 2006 transition in Turkmenistan offers hope, as President Saparmurat Niyazov, who enjoyed a much bigger personality cult than Karimov, was replaced without any great friction.”

    In concluding his piece about what comes next in Uzbekistan, MacDonald ends by saying that:

    “The choices are obvious. Continue the isolationist posture or choose closer ties with Moscow, Beijing or Washington. Ferociously vacillating between the three, as Karimov attempted, mightn’t be a viable long-term strategy.”

    Bryan MacDonald joins us in this program, as well as our in-studio guest Russia’s former ambassador to Myanmar and South Korea and a member of the Russian International Affairs Council Mr. Gleb Ivaschentsov, and Nikita Danyuk, deputy director at the Institute of Strategic Research and Predictions at the People's Friendship University.

    Islam Karimov, Central Asia, Uzbekistan
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