One of Gulnara Karimova's November 21 Twitter missives.
After spending most of the day airing her family’s dirty laundry on Twitter – shedding light on the murky world of clan politics in Tashkent – Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of long-serving strongman Islam Karimov, has gone quiet.
On November 21, Karimova again took to one of the few public channels she can still access, Twitter, to accuse her mother Tatyana of organizing the spectacular personal implosion that has riveted Central Asia watchers for the past month.
Within hours, the account @GulnaraKarimova, which is widely believed to be authentic, disappeared.
Karimova had earlier sent a series of tweets containing image files, each with a long text in Russian. EurasiaNet.org downloaded the nine image files before the account disappeared. One example can be found to the right.
Karimova tweeted that the "women in our family" resent her and are plotting against her. "I have long wanted to tell my mother about this...She has promised to destroy everything connected to me if I dare 'meddle in her affairs'!"
Karimova said the October arrest of her cousin Akbarali Abdullayev – sometimes described as her “purse” – had been ordered by her mother in a bid to take over Abdullayev’s business interests in the Ferghana Valley.
When Karimova tried to help her cousin by interceding with her father, she said, her mother
"snatched [his assets] and imprisoned him in October 2013 for an unknown period, promising to destroy me for this!"
"Here she is keeping her promise now!" Karimova tweeted, adding, "it is a pity that because of discord between the kindred so many people are suffering."
Karimova, who had long been mooted as possible successor to her 75-year-old father, has been at odds publicly with her mother and younger sister, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, since Karimova-Tillyaeva told the BBC in September about rifts in the family. Karimova-Tillyaeva said Karimova’s chances of succeeding the president were “slim” and revealed that the sisters hadn’t spoken in 12 years.
Karimova has also publicly targeted Rustam Inoyatov, the chief of Uzbekistan's omnipotent secret police, the SNB. Shortly before announcing that someone was trying to kill her, she said he was trying to silence her and take the top job for himself.
In late October, authorities suddenly suspended Karimova’s television and radio network. Rumors have since circulated that prosecutors and taxmen are investigating wrongdoing at her businesses and charity network, a development unthinkable several months ago.
Karimova’s outpourings today followed an apparently sleepless night of trawling through Tashkent police stations looking for workers from her Fund Forum charity network. In the early hours of November 21, Karimova tweeted that medical student "Shokhrukh Ganiyev disappeared from home today." According to Karimova, Ganiyev and another activist were taken by police last night but have since been placed under house arrest.
Her tweets from the police station fueled rumors that Karimova herself had been arrested. "No! I have looked for students... Everywhere...the entire evening and night..." [sic] Karimova responded.
Following the arrests, Karimova also tweeted that she had closed her Fund Forum for "security" reasons. In response to a follower's tweet about her possible arrest, Karimova tweeted: "They are trying to achieve this...in order to convince [me].”
Who “they” are and what they were trying to “convince” her of is unclear. But some observers of the secretive Central Asian state believe these public outbursts, which appear to be hurting her father’s carefully cultivated image of calm, cannot continue for long and expect the embattled first daughter will soon either be silenced or flee.
The closure of her Twitter account, though it has happened before, only adds more intrigue.