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Authoritarian Regime Stability in Uzbekistan under Patronal President Islam Karimov

In: Central Asian Affairs
Author:
Bekzod Zakirov PhD student, Graduate School of Public Policy, The University of Tokyo Tokyo Japan

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Abstract

This paper investigates the nature of Uzbekistan’s political system under President Islam Karimov through the lenses of patronal presidentialism to explain the factors conducive to the durability of the current regime. The paper argues that the longevity of the authoritarian regime in Uzbekistan can be best understood by a methodology that reconciles the propositions of institutional analysis of authoritarian rule with conventional methods of maintaining power such as coercion and patronage. Revealing the limitation of mainstream literature that overemphasizes neopatrimonialism and informality to understand domestic politics, the paper asserts that patronal president Islam Karimov assumed multiple instruments of power at the intersection of state and economy, which ensured regime stability in Uzbekistan until his death in 2016.

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