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Tashkent Denies Death of President Karimov, Assumed Successor Reportedly Arrested

Uzbek President Islam Karimov Sergei Karpukhin / AP

The Uzbek government has denied reports that the country’s long serving president, Islam Karimov, has died following a brain hemorrhage, the Interfax news agency reported.

Doctors are currently describing Karimov's condition as “stable,” a source close to the Uzbek government told Interfax.

Uzbekistan's Fergana news agency had reported Karimov's death on Monday night, citing a number of unidentified sources. Arkady Dubnov, Russia's expert on Central Asia, also confirmed Karimov's death, quoting his sources. 

The country's official state newspaper had confirmed the leader's hospitalization on Monday morning. Karimov’s youngest daughter, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, later posted a statement on Instagram saying that her father, 78, was in intensive care.

Russia’s embassy in Tashkent has neither confirmed nor denied reports of Karimov’s death.

The Regnum news agency reported Tuesday that one of the front-runners to succeed Karimov, Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov, has been placed under house arrest.

Government officials have denied the reports, maintaining that Azimov is continuing in his post.

Both Azimov and the current prime minister, Shavkat Mirziyayev, are believed to be the most likely candidates to succeed Karimov. Analysts believe that the Uzbek political elite, fearing instability within the regime, will work to ensure a smooth transition.

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