Talked regional nepotism with a crew of incredibly smart guys last week: Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL Turkmen Service director and Podcast Host Extraordinaire; Alisher Ilkhamov, a research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London; Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch; and Bruce Pannier, who runs an excellent Central Asia blog for RFE/RL.
Check out Bruce’s write-up of the conversation here and get a good listen in as well.
Though perhaps too simplistic (I’m more comfortable writing than I am speaking, but I’m getting better at it the more I do!), I stand by my statement that seeding the government with your relatives works… up until the point it doesn’t. And when it falls apart, it does so in a grand fashion because while you’ve been making your sons and daughters ministers, the ministries have atrophied under them. Family is reliable (to a degree) in terms of loyalty but not always competence. As succession approaches in the next decade and a half across the region–Uzbekistan’s Karimov is 78, Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev is 75, and Tajikistan’s Rahmon is 63–eyes are on their offspring as potential successors. Uzbekistan is a prime example of how it can all go wrong.
Anyhow, listen to the podcast and read Bruce’s article (well, all his articles but definitely that one).