|Birth Day:||January 30, 1938|
|Death Date:||Sep 2, 2016 (age 78)|
|Birth Place:||Samarkand, Uzbekistan|
As per our current Database, Islam Karimov died on Sep 2, 2016 (age 78).
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He studied Economics and Engineering in school after being placed in an orphanage in Samarkand at birth.
Karimov was born in Samarkand to Uzbek parents who were civil servants. According to official data his father is Abdug'ani Karimov, Uzbek, and mother - Sanobar Karimova, Tajik. But according to unofficial data his biological father was Bukharan Jewish. He was sent to an orphanage in 1941, brought back in 1942, and then returned to the orphanage in 1945. In 1955, he graduated from high school. In 1960, he graduated from the Central Asian Polytechnic Institute (now Tashkent State Technical University) with a degree in mechanical engineering. He began work as an engineer, eventually joining the Ministry of Water Resources of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1967, he earned a master's degree in economics from Tashkent State University of Economics.
Karimov married his first wife, Natalya Petrovna Kuchmi, in 1964 and they had a son together, Petr, before divorcing.
From 1966 to 1986, he worked his way up the ranks in the Uzbek State Planning Committee, from chief specialist, to department head, to Minister of Finance of the Uzbek SSR, chairman of the State Planning Committee and deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Uzbek SSR. In 1986, Karimov assumed the post of first secretary of the Kashkadarya Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan Committee of the Communist Party of the Uzbek SSR. In 1989, he became first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Uzbek SSR, after his predecessor Rafiq Nishonov failed to quell inter-ethnic clashes and instability in the Fergana Region. From 1990 to 1991, he served as a member of the Central Committee and Politburo. On 24 March 1990, he was elected the first President of the Republic by the Uzbek Supreme Soviet.
Karimov's wife, Tatyana Akbarovna Karimova, whom he married in 1967, is of Tajik and Russian origin. She is an economist. They had two daughters and five grandchildren.
On 31 August 1991, 10 days after the attempted coup in Moscow, Karimov declared Uzbekistan to be an independent republic, the second of the Central Asian republics to do so (after neighboring Kyrgyzstan); 1 September was declared Uzbekistan's Independence Day. The Uzbek Communist Party (UCP) changed its name to the People's Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (PDP). In the December 1991 presidential election, 86 percent of the public cast their votes for Karimov and 12.3 percent for his rival Muhammad Salih, chairman of the Erk (Freedom) Party.
In 1995, a few months before Karimov's term was due to expire, his term was extended until 2000 through a referendum. Results showed 99.6 percent of voters favoured extending Karimov's term. The United States criticised the referendum for its "lack of public debate," and noted several instances where one person cast the votes of entire family. At the time, Karimov publicly stated that he considered the referendum to be a re-election to a second term, which under the Constitution would have required him to leave office in 2000. However, the legislature passed a resolution opposing the decision, leading Karimov to announce he would run for reelection in 2000.
Banned publications under the Karimov administration included Mustaqil Haftalik and Erk, the respective publications of the Birilik and Erk opposition parties. The Karimov government charged each publication on the grounds of being "disloyal to the current regime". In December 1995, Karimov was quoted in describing local journalists as "toothless". Karimov had essentially called for more criticism in printed material, but only "approved" criticism.
Karimov had originally cultivated Islamic symbols after independence in order to coopt religious opposition. In May 1999, as a response to the threat of Islamic radicalism, the Oliy Majlis revised the 'Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations' to impose new restrictions on religious groups. The construction of mosques, for example, required permission and specific documentation. An assassination attempt on Karimov in 1999 elicited even more repression of Islamic groups. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Uzbekistan was considered a strategic ally in the United States' "War on Terror" campaign because of a mutual opposition to the Taliban. Uzbekistan hosted an 800-strong U.S. troop presence at the Karshi-Khanabad base, also known as "K2", which supported U.S.-led efforts in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The move was criticized by Human Rights Watch which said the U.S. government subordinated the promotion of human rights to assistance in the War in Afghanistan. U.S.-Uzbek relations deteriorated in May 2005 when Karimov's government strongly encouraged the abandonment of the U.S. base in the face of U.S. government criticism of the government killings of protestors in Andijan. In July 2005 U.S. military forces left Karshi-Khanabad.
His isolationism defined foreign policy. Karimov was courted by the big powers for geopolitical leverage and Uzbekistan's gas supplies, but he kept all at arms' length, suspicious of Russia's post-colonial aims and the US-led "democratization" agenda. In 1999, he criticised the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for paying too much attention to the protection of Human rights in Uzbekistan, rather than concentrating on the security issues facing Central Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). "As long as war continues in Afghanistan, the threat to peace, security and democratic reforms in the neighbouring states of Central Asia will remain, and the source of international terrorism and its expansion well beyond the region's boundaries will be preserved."
He was reelected with 91.9% of the vote in the Uzbek presidential election, on 9 January 2000. The United States said that this election "was neither free nor fair and offered Uzbekistan's voters no true choice". The sole opposition candidate, Abdulhafiz Jalalov, implicitly admitted that he entered the race only to make it seem democratic and publicly stated that he voted for Karimov. Following this election in 1996, restrictions on opposition were further tightened through the Law on Political Parties. This law ensured the right to meetings, publications and elections of opposition parties, but only to those who had registered with the Ministry of Justice. This policy allowed for government blockage of unapproved parties. Political parties based on ethnic, religious, military or subversive ideas were prohibited. According to dissident writer Alisher Ilkhamov from the Open Society Foundations, 99.6% had elected to keep Karimov in office after his term had expired, but ballots had been created such that it was much easier for voters to cast a "yes" vote than a "no" vote. Unmarked ballots, as well as ballots of those who did not vote, were automatically counted as "yes" votes, while a full black mark, under the supervision of authorities, was necessary to count as a "no" vote.
Karimov mobilized against the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb-ut-Tahrir, two Islamist organizations which have been designated as terrorist by his government. The Uzbek government sentenced Tohir Yoʻldosh and Juma Namangani, leaders of the IMU, to death in absentia. Namangani died in Afghanistan in 2001, and Tohir Yoʻldosh was killed in an air strike on 27 August 2009. From 1991 to 2004, the government imprisoned over 7,000 Uzbeks for "Islamist extremism", and silenced Imams like Muhammad Rajab, who advocated for more open democracy in the early 1990s. These fears of extremism arose out of discourse among the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) of a "Jihad against the Karimov regime". The government of Uzbekistan retains fears of "large-scale all-encompassing anti-state conspiracies" and "echoes of Basmachi" Among Karimov's anti-Islamist policies was the purge of Muslim leaders. Karimov led a crackdown on Adolat, a league of Muslim activists. Explicit fears of threats of Islamic extremism also led to a crackdown of displays of Islamic practice in public. The term "Wahhabis" became the umbrella term to refer to all strains of "extremist" Islam; it did not necessarily refer to the Islamic sect that originated in Saudi Arabia. Ordinary practicing Muslims have been targeted and jailed without trial, and frequent use of torture and occasional "disappearances" have been reported. In 2005 Karimov banned the Muslim call to prayer from being broadcast in the country; the ban was lifted in November 2017 by his successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Western states repeatedly criticised the Karimov administration's record on human rights and press freedom. In particular, Craig Murray, the British Ambassador from 2002 to 2004, described widespread torture, kidnapping, murder, rape by the police, financial corruption, religious persecution, censorship and other human rights abuses. This included the case of Karimov's security forces executing prisoners Muzafar Avazov and Khuzniddin Alimov by boiling them alive in 2002. Murray became noted within the British government for memos disagreeing with official UK and US policy, which was at the time to back up Karimov as part of the global war on terror. Uzbekistan was used for extraordinary rendition and for the air base in Karshi-Khanabad. Murray wrote a memoir about his experiences; Murder in Samarkand, retitled Dirty Diplomacy in the United States.
In May 2002, the Karimov administration lifted the pre-publication censorship, and fined the chief censor, Ervin Kamilov. The State Inspectorate for the Protection of State Secrets was disbanded. Two days later, the administration proceeded to reinstate further censorship measures. Among topics prohibited in Uzbekistan's publications are official corruption, opposition political parties and Islamic organizations. Radio Liberty lost its broadcast rights. Uzbekistan has one state-run internet server, UZPAK, that blocks prohibited websites.
According to detailed accounts, on 13 May 2005, some 400 of the 500 protesters staging an anti-government demonstration were killed after being driven deliberately into a trap – authorities had blocked all the exits from Bobur Square with armoured personnel carriers, preventing people from dispersing home. Instead, they drove the crowd into a closed street, Chulpon Avenue, where snipers and police shot to kill. These scenes of deliberate killings prompted eyewitnesses to allege that troops not only shot to disperse the demonstration, but to summarily execute anyone who took part in it. Later, some tortured detainees recounted that police said they had received orders supposedly emanating from the president himself to shoot to kill.
Karimov sought another term in the December 2007 presidential election, despite arguments that he was ineligible because of the two-term limit on the presidency. On 6 November 2007, Karimov accepted the nomination of the Uzbekistan Liberal Democratic Party to run for a third term. On 19 November, the Central Election Commission announced the approval of Karimov's candidacy, a decision that Karimov's opponents condemned as illegal.
Following the election on 23 December 2007, preliminary official results showed Karimov winning with 88.1% of the vote, on a turnout rate that was placed at 90.6%. Observers from groups allied to the Karimov administration such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Commonwealth of Independent States gave the election a positive assessment. However, observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the election as lacking a "genuine choice", while others deemed the election, a "political charade", given that all three of Karimov's rivals began their campaign speeches by singing Karimov's praises.
According to Ikram Yakubov, a major in Uzbekistan's secret service who defected to Britain in 2007, the government had "propped up" the Islamist organization Akramia, which the Uzbek government blamed for fomenting the incident that led to the protests. He believes that the attacks were a pretext to repress dissenters. According to Yakubov, President Karimov personally ordered government troops to fire on the protestors.
In November 2014, Uzbek students published a letter on the opposition party website, Dunyo Uzbeklari (World of Uzbeks) to protest the use of students as unpaid labour to pick the nation’s cotton harvest every year.
Karimov was reelected for a new term in the 2015 presidential election. He won 90.39% of votes from a voter turnout of 91.08%. This was his third term under Uzbekistan's current constitution. The election was widely criticized by the western media and observers as being rigged even though monitoring missions sent by the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which include nations from the former USSR and China, deemed the election open and democratic.
In 2015, Karimov came under widespread criticism when he was elected to a fourth term in office from the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Up until 2016, Karimov's health was never discussed by government officials and any information was closely guarded. There were rumors in March 2013 that he had suffered a heart attack, which were denied.
At approximately 9 a.m. on 27 August 2016, an unconscious Karimov was taken to the Central Clinical Hospital, according to the official medical report by the government of Uzbekistan. He underwent a CT scan that revealed he had suffered a "massive subarachnoid hemorrhage" (stroke). He went into cardiac arrest but cardiac activity was restored after 20 minutes of resuscitation attempts. He was in an "atonic coma with inhibition of the functions of the brain stem" and put on a ventilator. His daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva reported that he was in stable condition at an intensive care ward.
On 29 August 2016, there were unconfirmed reports from the Ferghana News Agency, which represents the opposition, that he had died that day at 15:30 UZT. On 31 August, Karimova-Tillyaeva cited possible "recovery", thus implying that her father was still alive. On 1 September, the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence, Karimov's speech was read on TV by a presenter. Karimova-Tillyaeva stated that public support was helping him recover and pleaded with the public not to speculate on his condition.
On 6 September, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Samarkand to pay tribute to Karimov. Kneeling in front of the grave of the first President of Uzbekistan, the Russian leader laid a bouquet of red roses. In addition, Putin met with the relatives of the deceased and expressed condolences to them. On 12 September, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev also visited Karimov's burial site. He laid a bouqet of red roses, prayed beside his grave and met Karimov's wife. On 6 October, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko paid a working visit to Uzbekistan. He laid roses to Karimov's grave, met his wife and held talks with Interim President Mirziyoyev. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu laid a wreath at Karimov's grave on 20 October. Other high-ranking officials of Azerbaijan, India, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Under Secretary for Political Affairs of the United States Thomas Shannon also paid tribute to Karimov. On 1 November, a square in the Yakimanka district in the center of Moscow was named after Islam Karimov. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid tribute to Karimov in Samarkand on 12 November. President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the grave of Islam Karimov on 18 November, as a part of his official visit to Uzbekistan. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev paid tribute to Karimov on 24 December, during his working visit to Uzbekistan. On 7 March 2017, Presidents of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow opened the first monument of Islam Karimov in the Turkmen city of Türkmenabat. On 10 June, during his official visit to Uzbekistan, UN Secretary General António Guterres visited Karimov's grave.
Currently, Islam Karimov is 84 years, 7 months and 29 days old. Islam Karimov will celebrate 85th birthday on a Monday 30th of January 2023.
Find out about Islam Karimov birthday activities in timeline view here.