Islam Karimov monument installation in Moscow faces another challenge
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Council on November 8, Andrey Morev, the head of the Yakimanka District Council, told Fergana News. According to him, some residents of the district have also decided to hold a local referendum next year to assess their attitude towards the issue (whether it is possible to organise it, the lawyers of the council are now finding out).
Morev noted that no one, among those present at the meeting, unequivocally supports the monument, but there are residents who "have an interest in this issue." In addition, an unnamed representative of the Uzbek diaspora spoke at the meeting, who stated that the monument dedicated to Karimov should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen relations between Russia and Uzbekistan, and asked everyone to take that into account when making a decision.
Earlier, on 1 November, Morev posted on Facebook that the Yakimanka and Zamoskvorechye residents had, “expressed their disagreement with the erection of the monument to Mr. Karimov, who did not do anything useful for our area, and the city. If you do not consider it useful to move thousands of citizens of Uzbekistan in the 90's and 2000's to Moscow.”
The head of the municipal district also noted that the decision to erect the monument in the Yakimanka District Council was taken on 7 November 2016. In September of this year, municipal elections took place in Moscow, as a result of which candidates from the opposition Yabloko party won nine seats in Yakimanka out of 10.
On 27 October, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered the erection of a monument commemorating the first president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, in the Russian capital, the Moscow news agency reported. The mayoral order set 31 December 2019 as the deadline for the erection of the monument.
Later, LDPR member Georgy Gorodetsky started a petition on the Change.org website against the monument. In it, the politician said Karimov is "a symbol of Central Asian Russophobia, lawlessness and usurpation of power." At the time of writing, the petition was signed by over 6,600 people. A former member of Duma, opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov, also spoke against the monument, calling Karimov "the classic Asian despot" and one of the "most disgusting post-Soviet dictators."
According to Interfax, the Republican Charitable Public Foundation named after Karimov will fund all the works, including the design, manufacturing and erection of the monument, as well as the improvement of the territory around it. The Foundation was created by the widow and the youngest daughter of the first Uzbek president—Tatyana Karimova and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva. In the future, the Prefecture of the Central District of Moscow will provide maintenance for the monument.
Earlier, Fergana News had reported that famous British sculptor Paul Day plans to make the monument dedicated to Karimov.
In early November 2016, Mayor Sobyanin had named the square in Yakimanka district, located near the embassy, consular department and guest house of Uzbekistan honouring the name of the first president of Uzbekistan. The Karimov monument will appear in this very square. The Moscow City Duma approved its installation on December 8, 2016.
The former Uzbek President died aged 79 after a stroke, according to official data, on 2 September, 2016. As President, he ruled Uzbekistan for more than 26 years, from March 1990.