You have to really try to be the worst post-Soviet dictator of a former Soviet Socialist Republic. It helps to be in one of the Central Asian -stans, where they use democratic elections as a means of identifying who needs to be imprisoned this week. It also helps to run the government as a completely family-owned enterprise; to engage in slave labor of your populace; and to amass a significant fortune which you use to incompetently run your little autocratic fiefdom.
Islam Karimov has been in the running for the actual Worst Person in the World for two decades, and is an annual favorite to win Worst Post-Soviet Dictator. Karimov fears three things: Russia, his daughters having an actual knife fight to resolve their differences, and Russia. It is thus no wonder that his foreign ministry is now announcing its deep concern about the occupation of Crimea.
“The events in Ukraine, which caused serious complications of the situation and confrontation that can lead to an even greater escalation of tension and consequences that are difficult to predict, create real threats to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, can’t but cause deep anxiety and concern in Uzbekistan,” according to the Azerbaijani news portal Trend.az. “Uzbekistan hopes that maximum restraint and prudence will be displayed for reaching an agreement between the parties involved in the conflict process in Ukraine soon.”
Translated into ordinary English, this means Russia shouldn’t take any territory from anyone and especially not from us. Karimov’s semi-hermit kingdom is in enough border disputes that the last thing it needs is to have its ethnic Russian enclaves suddenly make a dash for Mother Russia; and the very last thing it needs is to have Russia step up its already growing pressure on Tashkent.
Russia’s actions of the last week have reminded the region once again that although the giant slumbers often, when it wakes, bad things happen to the good and the bad alike.
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