Uzbek President Islam Karimov says his country will never join any “alliance similar to the U.S.S.R.”
In an apparent reference reference to Russia, Karimov told lawmakers that some countries are trying “to glorify Lenin and Stalin era of the U.S.S.R.” and added that Uzbekistan “will never accept” this.
Karimov was speaking on January 12 at the first session of the lower parliament house elected last month.
His remarks appeared aimed to set Uzbekistan apart from the newly formed Eurasian Economic Union, which comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Armenia. Kyrgyzstan is to become a member in May.
Karimov, in power in Central Asia’s most populous nation since the Soviet era, has been wary of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to increase Moscow’s influence on other former Soviet republics.
He said Uzbekistan will never allow foreign military bases on its territory.
Karimov, 76, also said that Uzbekistan will continue what he called “the correct path of evolutionary and phased development towards democracy.”
His government tolerates little dissent and has been accused of frequent human rights abuses against its citizens.