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Islam Karimov: Ex-Soviet strongman who dominates Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, pictured in 2015, has played Russia, China and the West off against one other to avoid total isolation after steering his strategic state out of the collapse of the Soviet UnionLong lambasted for brutally crushing dissent, Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov has kept a stranglehold on power for over 25 years — even at the expense of his own daughter. The veteran leader, 78, now fighting for his life in intensive care according to his family, has played Russia, China and the West off against one other to avoid total isolation after steering his strategic state out of the collapse of the Soviet Union. In a court drama with echoes of Shakespeare, the former Soviet apparatchik — at the helm since 1989 — reportedly had his eldest daughter put under house arrest in 2014 during a family feud in which she compared him to brutal Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

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