Uzbekistan’s longtime strongman is laid to rest amid praise from his Cabinet – Los Angeles Times

Islam Karimov, one of the world’s most repressive leaders whose generation-long rule in the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan was marked by Orwellian purges and Shakespearean family squabbles, was laid to rest Saturday in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand.

The heavily guarded funeral capped an odd few days during which Uzbek officials refused to confirm Karimov’s death, even as leaders from Turkey, Iran and Georgia offered condolences. 

The official announcement said that Karimov, one of the last Soviet-era strongmen to retain power, died of a stroke Friday at the age of 78. But rumors of his death had been circulating online since he was hospitalized Aug. 27.

State-run television showed thousands of people lining the streets of the capital, Tashkent, as the funeral cortege carried Karimov’s body to the airport for the short flight to Samarkand, the city of his birth. They stood silently under blue, white and green Uzbek flags, many of them weeping and throwing flowers. 

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