(The New York Times) – It is a measure of how repressive Uzbekistan was under its first post-Soviet president, Islam Karimov, that the first, tentative steps by his successor to curb the secret police are raising high hopes of an Uzbek Spring in the making. Yet with democracy in retreat across much of the former Soviet empire and elsewhere in the world, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s efforts bear watching and deserve support.
Little was expected of Mr. Mirziyoyev when he ascended — unconstitutionally — to the presidency on Mr. Karimov’s death 19 months ago. He had long served the dictator as prime minister and was widely expected to maintain his despotic system. Yet he has unexpectedly taken a very different, and so far positive, path.