A dose of absurdity was injected August 30 into the mystery surrounding the fate of Uzbekistan’s president, Islam Karimov, as a state media outlet carried a report about world leaders offering the incapacitated leader congratulations on the country’s upcoming 25th anniversary of independence.
Authorities in Uzbekistan have acknowledged that the 78-year-old Karimov suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on August 27. Beyond that, not much else is known for sure. Several respected analysts of Uzbek affairs insist Karimov is dead, but no official confirmation of the president’s passing has been forthcoming. Neither has the world been shown proof that Karimov is alive.
The BBC’s Uzbek service reported that the September 1 celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of independence have been cancelled, which, if true, would be a sure sign that something serious has happened in Tashkent.
The problem is authorities have not definitively confirmed the cancellation, and a countdown clock on a government website is still ticking down.
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