The following below is a digest of an article published in Russian.
The author is addressing all aspects of Gulnara Karimova “career” to support his opinion that she can’t be considered as a candidate for presidents in Uzbekistan. I am presenting below an approximate translation with a main focus on the ideas from the original post.
The sharp rise of the career of Gulnara Karimova began in 2000s and was driven by personal ambitions and the possibilities offered by the power of her father. In opinion of some experts who are personally familiar with the president’s daughter, she was never someone who strikes with high intelligence or abilities to perform serious analytical work. She does not possess perseverance for working on documents and materials, nor ability to set priorities, nor to choose right people to do it, and she is not someone who knows how to find efficient ways of troubleshooting, they say.
Despite having doctoral degrees in politics, economics and diplomacy none of her “colleagues” at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy is actually able to recall any particular academic achievement of Professor Gulnara Karimova; not even one single article or an “SOP” that are mandatory to receive the doctoral titles. Nothing is known in particular in regards to her masters or doctoral theses and nothing is known about how she was defending them. It is generally understood that all her diplomas, certificates and degrees are the result of pressure “from above” on all the academic boards’ and committees’ members. In her “CV” there is a great deal of overlap in time when she was studying at Harvard university while at the same time working in the Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan, getting her academic and science titles, teaching, working for NGOs, organizing exhibitions and all sorts of public events, running business and being mother to her children. To an ignorant observer, it may seem as an exceptional example of an active and efficient person. The truth of the matter is that she was getting credits for work of other people. Overall it seemed to some that Gulnara Karimova is being prepared to become a successor of her father, president Islam Karimov.
DIPLOMAT CAREER ASPECT
In the mid-2000s rumors started spreading around that Gulnara Karimova might have perspectives on presidency. At that time she was “experienced” by holding position as a Minister-Counselor at the Embassy in Moscow, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, as well as the representative of the Republic Uzbekistan to the UN in Geneva and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Spain. However, the reality refutes “conjectures” that she has any potential to hold a position of president of such country as Uzbekistan. To lead the country means to be able to manage resources, human resources, build and develop trust-based relationships, and navigate efficiently among government officials, “unofficial” and “clans”. A potential candidate would need to establish him/her-self as a competent leader who has proven skills in efficient crisis management at a level of administrative district, or an industry or an enterprise in the context of the system established in this country. Such a place for Gulnara, to prove her potential as the successor, would be the Ministry of Finance or Ministry of Economy, Stock Exchange, the Central Bank, municipality of Tashkent or any other regional administration, major industrial association, textile factory, or such. However, Gulnara “elect to take duty” as a Deputy Minister of Culture in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan. That position neither gives her any significant practical experience nor helps her to develop management skills. As noted by some of her colleagues in the Foreign Ministry, she wasn’t actually working at that position and just took it for her vanity, and flexibility in traveling abroad for personal and commercial purposes. At the time when Gulnara Karimova was representing Uzbekistan in UN in Geneva, members of various committees and commissions noted that it was very challenging to set a meeting with her because she was always absent from work. There were no significant achievements noted in the Uzbek-Spanish relations while Gilnara was serving as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Spain. However, Gulnara Karimova was periodically mentioned in the foreign press in relation to corrupt deals with real estate, commercial operations, and all sorts of shows with commercial brand “Guli”, under the cover of diplomatic activity. Several times Western human rights activists were critically commenting on her projects, indicating that the the projects have nothing to do with what they were claiming, i.e. taking care of people and the protection of youth, the poor and elderly citizens of Uzbekistan. Moreover, in various ratings president’s daughter took most leading positions in a dishonorable manner. Gulnara does not possess leadership skills, and it was never something that she was interested in. She was only interested in securing ways to lead an idle, glamorous life rather than work hard on reforms, control orders and allocating resources.
Work of Gulnara in the economic sphere consisted of raiding acquisition of profitable and established businesses, and of withdrawing funds from the state budget to implement her own private projects. So that is, by the way, how she has become known as a supporter of healthy lifestyles and the activist in fighting against breast cancer, “conducting social activities and purchasing equipment and drugs”, although in reality all those resources have been removed from the budget of the Ministry of Health. As a result, many hospitals, medical institutions had not received necessary equipment, while private clinics operating under the control of Gulnara, got everything to do the business. Gulnara herself however never contributed a single dollar for a charity. Gulnara exercised influence on the information space, owning entities such as media holding “Terra Group” (radio “Terra”, “Zamin”, “Alo FM” television “Forum TV”, “TV-Markaz”, NTT, SOFTS), the company “Prime Media”, “PanTerra Studio” “Gamma Promotion”. She is the owner of the 17 properties abroad that is just what is known to the public press. She receives profit income from her branded stores: United Colors of Benetton, Mango, Adventure, Geox, Chicco, S.Oliver, Antony Morato, New Millennium kids and New Millennium sport, Levis in Tashkent, as well as from the theater “Premier Hall”, shopping mall “City -Makon”, nightclubs “Basha” and “Dune”. Through the company, registered on other names she is engaged in illegal capital operations. Particular example is the famous scandal with the sale of licenses for cellular communication to the “TeliaSonera” ($320 million) through the front companies “Tekilant” (registered on Gayane Avakian). Through the Foundation “House of Style” (registered on Evkaterina Klyueva) Gulnara received state funds to deposit them on private bank accounts abroad. She was the actual owner of retail chains, in particular, “Nirvana” et al. (registered on Rustam Madumarov). Through Bahodir Karimzhonov (registered owner of “Bajo Shakarchi”) she was “controlling” the imports of sugar and Coca-Cola drinks. Forty institutions and associations in Uzbekistan are “controlled” by the foundation “Forum of culture and art” and this is just what became known about the “areas of business and properties” of Gulnara Karimova.
In the popular image Gulnara is known as “Madam”, “Madam Wong”, though she likes, when the press called her the “Uzbek princess.” In the last ten years Gulnara managed to make enemies among the powerful clans, mafia, as well as the opposition, not to mention the ordinary citizens… She has become a byword for her wealth, improper behavior and lifestyle, the fights against competitors using blackmailing, threats and police repression. First of all, she is opposed “Tashkent clan leaders” such as Rustam Azimov (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Rustam Inoyatov (National Security Services), Abdulaziz Kamilov (Ministry of Internal Affairs), Samarkand, Jizzakh clan (represented by Prime Minister Shaukat Mirzijaev) and the Andijan clan. Gulnara Karimova engaged in deals with criminal authorities Gafur Rakhimov and Salimbay Abduvaliyev to get her share of profits from the textile, oil and gas and construction industries, as well as a network of gas stations, markets, shops, transport companies and others. It was Gafur Rakhimov from whom Gulnara acquired firm “Zeromaks” in early 2000s and turned it into a monster of the Uzbek economy – controlling up to 80% of all projects in the oil and gas industry. Also “Zeromaks” controlled the media, tourism, export-import operations, sports, construction. Later, because of “disagreements” between Gulnara and Gafur Rakhimov he had to flee Uzbekistan. According to experts, in the beginning of the 2010s, Gulnara Karimova and Salimbay Abduvaliyev had abrasive relationships and their names figured in the reports of the US Embassy in Tashkent in relation to the currency exchanges and bribing for positions in the government.
Gulnara Karimova has no political platform whatsoever. She never worked in political structures, so she has no real support from political parties and social movements. She did not raise any of socially significant problems, such as corruption, child forced labor, as she herself was in the core of the system creating those problems. Her “career” and “entrepreneurship” were thriving in the context of the system established on corruption. Hand-picked cotton by virtually entire population of the rural country including children was giving her personal income. Foundations that she created, including the “Forum of Culture and Art”, were sucking all the resources from the budget leaving almost no chance for others. Some NGOs and foundations were forced to “cling” to the projects of Gulnara’s in order to get at least some of the budget money. Therefore, the president’s daughter earned the hatred among social movements. Not surprisingly, opposition movements operating from abroad, such as the Democratic Party “Erk” (Salai Madaminov, Turkey), “Birlik” (Polat Ahunov, Sweden), “Association for Human Rights in Central Asia” (Nadezhda Atayeva, France) “Fiery Hearts Club” (Tajibayeva, France), and radical organizations (IMU, Hizb ut-Tahrir) are all feel cordial abhorrence of Gulnara . The only exception is known to be the “Birdamlik” Bahadir Choriev (USA), the only one whose “party” expressed “loyalty” to the president’s daughter. Gulnara used her personal Tweeter account as a tool for blackmailing and manipulations. She started to denounce circle of people close to the president and the family, “uncovering the secrets” of the National Security Services, even though she had previously used this service and its channels to export her capital abroad and to blackmail her own opponents. As a result of these actions, Islam Karimov had to isolate the daughter to avoid possibility of exacerbation of already delicate and shaky balance of the clans, regions, and powers in the government.
The international corruption scandals associated with Gulnara Karimova, have placed at full stop all talks and conjectures about her chances to be a successor of the presidency. Moreover, she caused a significant impact on the position of Islam Karimov, in terms of support even in the special services, not to mention the region clans.
From the winter of this year, an active drill has begun to rescue the capital of the president’s family and to save Gulnara Karimova from the international prosecution.
The first task is to have the state to purchase all the assets that belong to Gulnara
Second task is to convict Gulnara in order to get indulgence for her from being persecuted abroad. Once she is convicted in Uzbekistan she cannot be convicted for the same offense in other countries where charges are being brought against her, namely Switzerland, Sweden, Latvia and France.
Convicting Gulnara in Uzbekistan has several advantages for those who are currently working on it;
• This will allow Uzbekistan as a state to claim all the assets frozen on the Swiss accounts in the amount of $800 million. The money however, will be then exported to other countries;
• Judged in Uzbekistan, Gulnara will be charged not as an organizer of a criminal association and criminal acts but rather as someone who is liable for the “negligence” while the main sentences will be given out to all her partners and former “teammates”. This will allow her to get under amnesty and to flee abroad;
• Convicted and sentenced in Uzbekistan all parties involved in the scandals will not be able to disclose abroad any sensitive information about the affairs. This scenario was already exercised in the past; convicted in 2010 former director of the “Zeromaks” Miradil Jalilov disappeared from sight and all claims against the company by foreigners left hanging in the air;
• Gulnara will be able to apply for political asylum, for example, in Argentina or Latvia, presenting her prosecution in Uzbekistan as “politically motivated”. Similar scenario worked out for the daughter of Fidel Castro, when she had to immigrate to the United States. By the way, the PR activity by Davidson Ryan Dore in London and interviews with Islam Karimov, Jr. (Gulnara’s son) serve exactly that purpose;
• President thereby will get rid of compromising him daughter and will be able to continue to rule the country. Oppositional political activity is impossible for Gulnara, since she never opposed the regime and she has never supported radical changes in the country. She was rather an opponent of her president father’s dictatorship until she became entangled in corruption crime and scandals that brought her identity to the surface for the public to see it in its all ugliness. In “opposition” Gulnara fought for her money and position, not for the people, and therefore she did not get any support from the masses and political structures.
In closing, For the most people it takes just a basic knowledge and understanding of the situation and the country to know that Gulnara can’t possibly be taken seriously as a political opposition. Although there still are a few exceptions such as B.Choriev who apears to be short-sited enough to use Gulnara as his political banner but the most likely it is just a part of the game he is in.