Observing the amazing longevity of some personal authoritarian regimes in Central Asia, most notably in Uzbekistan, the author wonders about the reasons for the regimes’ ability to withstand internal and external challenges. He comes to the conclusion that the concept of neo-patrimonialism, though rarely applied to post-Soviet transformations, provides insights that can put in place elements for an explanatory framework for mismanagement, problematic governance and corruption as witnessed by some Central Asian nations. His study of the example of Uzbekistan suggests that the neo-patrimonial regime creates a system of rule where the boundaries between state and society are becoming blurred. In this framework, the state exhibits both elements of autonomy with respect to society, and tendencies to state capture by interest groups. As to the longevity of Uzbekistan’s authoritarian regime, he suggests that what makes it resilient to challenges is a complex of circumstances, amongst which “its capacities to benefit from formal and informal, modern and traditional institutions and practices.” Taking into account this specificity, the author’s diagnosis is that Uzbekistan is unlikely to follow rapid and smooth transition to a modern state characterised by a well-established rule of law. Only a new political leadership in quest for international legitimacy may be brought to make the openings for the accommodation of greater representation of societal interests.

The Redaction
CER: II-7.4.G-677