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Uzbek Officials Say Karimov ''Critical''

Rumours circulate that funeral preparations have already begun.
By IWPR Central Asia

Uzbek officials have reported a sharp decline in the condition of ailing president Islam Karimov, while news sources claim that the authorities are planning an imminent funeral.

The state-owned morning newspapers reported on September 2 that the 78-year-old was now in a critical condition.

(See also With Karimov Ailing, What Next for Uzbekistan?).

“As it has been reported before, head of our state Islam Abduganievich Karimov [full name with patronymic] was hospitalised last Saturday after having suffered a cerebral haemorrhage,” read the statement released by the Uzbek cabinet of ministers, who had previously announced on August 28 that the president was in hospital.

“Dear compatriots, it is with a deep sore heart we inform you that in the past day condition of our President sharply declined, and according to doctors, is considered as critical.”

The Moscow-based news agency Ferghana.ru continued to suggest the Uzbek leader had already died and that the latest official statement was intended to prepare citizens for the upcoming official announcement of his death.

Ferghana.ru also published pictures of scenes of construction and cleaning in the city of Samarkand, Karimov’s birthplace, suggested that these were the preparations for a memorial for the head of state. 

According to the news source, Karimov’s funeral may be as soon as this upcoming Saturday.

Karimov’s younger daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva has been regularly updating her followers on social media in Uzbek, Russian and English.

But she has remained silent for the past two days.

The country’s 25th independence day celebrations were cancelled this week and Karimov’s annual keynote speech replaced by an address from Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoev.

Nonetheless, the official media subsequently published Karimov’s official independence day speech and reported that the state received some 25 messages of congratulations from international heads of state.

This publication was produced under IWPR project Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway.

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