The revolutionary process, which has gripped one republic after another in the CIS, is gradually stealing upon the outposts of reaction. While before “strong” leaders were inclined to explain the problems of their unlucky colleagues in terms of their softness and intellectual complexes, we now see that Uzbek President Karimov finds himself in a crisis, and he is one of the most ruthless leaders in the CIS, who has driven the opposition into the underground and its leaders into prisons or emigration.

On March 28 2004 in Tashkent terrorists blew up an apartment block and shot dead three policemen. The following day a suicide bomber killed herself and 18 other people at a local market. But this wave of terrorist attacks was not widely reported in the Russian press because it did not threaten the hated regime of Islam Karimov. On the contrary, it strengthened his leadership, giving him an excuse to step his persecution of anybody who crossed his path.

The whole world has been rocked by the news of the slaughter in Andijan, where demonstrators were shot down in cold blood by the security forces of Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov. George Bush has a lot to say about regime change in Iraq and democracy in the Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus, but has maintained a deafening silence about the regime of terror of his good friend President Karimov.

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