At a mourning ceremony for Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Samarkand, September 2016. 
STRINGER / REUTERS

 

Update (September 8, 2016): On September 8, Uzbekistan’s parliament appointed Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev interim head of state, replacing Nigmatilla Yuldashev, the chair of the parliament’s upper house. Mirziyaev will likely ascend to the presidency in the coming months after a tightly controlled national election. His speedy appointment broke a constitutional requirement that would have kept Yuldashev as interim head of state until a vote could be held. Mirziyaev, however, still is not the most powerful figure in Uzbekistan. That position belongs to Rustam Inoyatov, who heads the country’s main intelligence agency and who will oversee the transition to Mirziyaev’s presidency. It is possible that Inoyatov’s poor health and age—he is in his early seventies—prevented him from taking over as head of state. In any case, Inoyatov and Mirziyaev are political allies, and both men are former Karimov stalwarts: in the coming months, expect a great

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  • ERICA MARAT is assistant professor and director of the Homeland Defense Program at the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University. Follow her on Twitter @Ericamarat.
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