Uzbek President Islam Karimov's removal of Andijon Governor Saydullo Begaliev on October 13 was not an unusual event. Karimov has frequently swept into Uzbekistan's provinces to sack governors for sins ranging from corruption to nepotism to incompetence.
But this is Andijon, where unrest and bloodshed in May 2005 -- when Begaliev was governor -- shocked the world. More importantly, Karimov's reasons for removing Begaliev pointed to the first significant adjustment in Uzbekistan's official position on Andijon since the events occurred.
In the full text of Karimov's remarks -- which appeared on the UzA official news agency website on October 14 -- the president reiterated the familiar official position that the unrest in Andijon was organized by international extremist groups supported and financed from outside the country with the aim of destabilizing constitutional rule and creating a caliphate.
Moving The Blame
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