Karimov’s Family Feud

Uzbekistan is discovering that even in their in-all-but-name royal family, when sisters fight, they fight mean.

The fantastically spoiled (and by some accounts, viciously psychotic) daughters of resident tyrant-for-life Islam Karimov, Gulnara Karimova and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva have been at war for a decade, according to younger sister Lola, who undoubtedly almost shed a tear in her tell-all with the BBC, as reported by The Guardian. The comings and goings of the two spoiled brats and their spoiled brat brother remain a source of endless fascination for British newspapers, who seem much more concerned with the undeniably breathtaking ladies than the routine torture in which their father engages. (More accurately, the father’s experiments in depravity are always offered as background to the titillating gossip about how much the two women spend on their extravagant lifestyle. British reporters have to feel superior somehow as they stare in undisguised awe at so much wealth and beauty.)

It’s therefore not surprising that the famously press-averse Lola would run to the BBC for this interview, nor that British rags would pick up the story and run with it. The interview itself is definitely worth reading.

There are a lot of howlers in the interview for anyone familiar with the region (readers should savor the line about how “During the meetings with my father, we don’t discuss political issues.”), but the open shot across her sister’s bow over the family’s succession plans is interesting. Gulnara, whom the Wikileaks cables and most Uzbeks fortunate enough to permanently escape that hellhole of a country will tell you, has the curious distinction of being the most hated human there. This is a fairly impressive achievement given that her father is credibly reported to boil people alive with some frequency.

She is nevertheless, in the bizarre accounting of the Karimov clan and Uzbek society, widely seen as the most likely candidate to fill her father’s shoes. Lola’s backhanded dismissal of her older sister’s prospects is therefore both a profound familial sin and a sign that Karimov, while very likely suffering from some sort of psychosis, is not completely insane.

Islam Karimov will soon go to his Maker. It will be interesting to see if his daughters claw for the throne as expected, or if the old man has someone different in mind to keep the world’s least famous prison nation under lock and key.

Image Copyright Wikimedia Commons