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[Washington Babylon]

Uzbek Dictator’s Daughter: Harvard grad’s “wishes are orders”

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Northern Italy’s leading daily, La Stampa of Turin, reports on the “Unavoidable Rise of the Beautiful Gulnara,” on Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan’s autocrat-for-life Islam Karimov. When daddy rules with an iron hand, and you’re the heir apparent, the sky is truly the limit.

Her wishes are orders. Everything she wants, she gets…She graduated from Harvard and took a doctorate in political science from the University of Tashkent, she holds a karate black belt and is a poet, singer, jewelry designer, goes wild over luxury goods, haute couture, and gemstones, she directs the Center for Political Studies of Uzbekistan, and is the founding president of a charitable foundation, founding president of the Forum of Uzbek Culture and Art and Advisor-Minister Plenipotentiary in Uzbekistan’s embassy in Russia, and finally – but most significantly – she is a voracious and ruthless business woman.

Today, according to some analysts, the woman known simply as ‘the daughter’ owns half the country. In 2001, she divorced her first husband, an American of Afghan-Uzbek origin, and set out to build her own empire. Hotels, restaurants, night clubs, a television chain (TV Markaz), a radio station (Earth), a magazine (Bella Terra), a mobile phone company…nothing resists her bulimic impulses…People talk about the “Gulnarization” of Uzbekistani industry. “She owns nothing directly, but everyone knows who is in control.” All this is possible thanks to “daddy” and the disappearance of competitors–the effectiveness of the SNB, the Uzbek secret services, is sadly well known.

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