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Uzbekistan's First Daughter, Gulnora Karimova, has begun a media campaign to improve her image, possibly as a step to a presidential run.
FROM: TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN
TO: STATE DEPARTMENT
DATE: SEPTEMBER 13, 2005
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¶6. (C) The unusual series of articles promoting the virtue and selflessness of Gulnora Karimova is likely part of a larger strategy to clean up the First Daughter's image. Most Uzbeks see Karimova as a greedy, power hungry individual who uses her father to crush business people or anyone else who stands in her way. Even with the press campaign to improve her image, Gulnora is continuing to do business, pressuring and shutting down competitors. This charm offensive will not likely make her more popular; she remains the single most hated person in the country. (Comment: We have no polling data to support that statement, but we stand by it. End comment.) The chances of a successful 2007 presidential run for Karimova are slim to none, as neither the people, nor, more importantly, the elite, would support her. In addition, it is unlikely that many in this still very conservative culture would accept the idea of a female leader. High-level female officials are still tokens, relegated to traditional female issues. That said, the political climate is changing rapidly here, and these articles could be a trial balloon.
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