Muslims are very active in Uzbekistan and for some time have been studying how to overthrow Karimov. Although in Tajikistan the opposition obtained some power after the civil war-and although in Kyrgyzstan as much as in Turkmenistan, Islam has never played a major role-Uzbekistan was already one of the greatest Islamic centers since the times of the Soviet Union, with official madrasas (Islamic schools) in Tashkent. The same thing happening in other countries of Central Asia, the division into clans, constitutes an important factor. The Andijan clan, humiliated, decided to get even by allying with the Muslims. Also in this case, one can speak of a certain degree of exporting of the revolution. The Uzbeks who live in the south of Kyrgyzstan have participated in the events of that country and one can be speak of a transmission of ideas, although it is exclusively psychological. It is probable that those facts have been planned with the help of organizations of foreign radical Muslims. One cannot speak of western or American participation; those countries are not interested in destabilizing the region so near to Afghanistan.
I would willingly compare the régime ofAkayev with that of the Hungary’s Kadar, who steered it toward the West. Karimov’s régime reminds one of Rumania on the eve of Ceauşescu’s fall: ferocious repression of the opposition and absence of all mechanisms for dialogue. Karimov wants, by all possible means, to avoid suffering the Romanian president’s same fate and, as opposed to Akayev, is going to the extreme. If he is able to contain and control the actions of the opposition in Andijan, and to later repress them with all his forces, then he could remain in government for a long time. In the East force is respected. Blood has already been spilled and the opposition is responsible for it. If Karimov uses force, the international community won’t be bothered by that.

Gazeta SNG (Russia)
Gazeta SNG is an online news daily in Russian language.

" Режим Каримова - Румыния накануне падения Чаушеску ", by Alexei Makarkin, Gazeta, May 13, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.