Uzbekistan, October 23, 2023 – Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan, has emerged as a pivotal figure in the nation’s history. His transformative journey, political career, and foreign policy have left an indelible mark, both nationally and on the global stage.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev: Humble Beginnings
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, born on July 24, 1957, in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan, emerged as the President of Uzbekistan in December 2016. Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s early life was marked by a relentless pursuit of education and dedication to public service. Despite speculations about his birthplace, rigorous investigations confirmed his Uzbek ethnicity. His father, Miromon Mirziyoyevich Mirziyoyev, was a physician, and his mother, Marifat, was a nurse whose life was tragically cut short by tuberculosis. After his wife’s passing, Mirromon Mirziyoyev married a woman from Tatarstan.
Mirziyoyev’s commitment to knowledge led him to graduate from the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration in 1981. His political journey commenced when he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, later becoming a deputy in the Supreme Soviet of the Uzbek SSR.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s Ascent to Political Prominence
Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s ascent in the political landscape gained momentum when he served as the governor (Hakim) of the Jizzakh Region from 1996 to September 2001. This marked the beginning of his journey through the corridors of power. He went on to become the governor of the Samarqand Region, serving from September 2001 until his appointment as prime minister in 2003, a nomination that came from then-President Islam Karimov in December 2003.
While in the role of prime minister, Mirziyoyev oversaw the cotton production system, an era marred by allegations of forced and child labor, and mass involuntary mobilization of workers.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev: Presidency
The turning point in Mirziyoyev’s journey came after the passing of President Karimov in September 2016. He was appointed as the head of the committee organizing the President’s funeral, a clear indication of his potential succession. On September 8, 2016, he was appointed as interim president by a joint session of both houses of parliament.
Mirziyoyev’s presidency was solidified when he won the presidential election held on December 4, 2016, with an overwhelming 88.6% of the vote, though it faced criticism from international observers for a lack of genuine choice. As president, he promised changes in the cabinet, and his deputy, Abdulla Aripov, succeeded him as prime minister.
During his presidency, Mirziyoyev initiated a series of reforms aimed at liberalizing Uzbekistan’s political and economic systems. These reforms included attracting foreign investment, improving relations with neighboring Central Asian countries, and the closure of the notorious Jaslyk Prison in 2019.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s Transformative Foreign Policy
One of the standout aspects of Mirziyoyev’s presidency was his foreign policy. Unlike his predecessor’s isolationist stance, Mirziyoyev’s approach was marked by openness and engagement with other nations. He conducted several state visits, including those to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and more.
A significant achievement of his foreign policy was the gradual improvement of relations with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. His historic visit to Kyrgyzstan in 2017 marked the first visit by an Uzbek president to the neighboring country since 2000. His address to the UN General Assembly in 2017 underscored his commitment to an active foreign policy and greater international cooperation.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev: A Journey of Political Transformation
Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s political journey has been marked by a transition from his early political career within the Communist Party to his current role as the President of Uzbekistan. His presidency has brought about significant political and economic reforms, and he has played a pivotal role in reshaping Uzbekistan’s foreign policy, fostering greater international engagement and cooperation.