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Rustam Sodikovich Azimov

Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, died 02 September 2016. Many observers believed the most likely successor to Karimov was Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev, 58, who had headed the government since 2003. One unknown is how much influence other powerful former allies of Karimov -- such as longtime national security chief Rustam Inoyatov and Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov, who is also finance minister -- wield behind the scenes.

First Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister Rustam Azimov, had been in the national government since 1998, always in a post connected to finance. Rustam Inoyatov, the head of the National Security Committee [SNB - the Uzbek version of the KGB] since the 1990s, is considered to be a possible successor to Karimov. Many suspect Inoyatov was behind the campaign to bring down Karimovs daughter Gulnara. As Minister of Finance, Rustam Azimov very well may have been in a position to take notes on questionable financial transactions of other members of the Government. He is married, and has two daughters.

Born 20 September 1958 in Tashkent city, he graduated from the Faculty of History of the Tashkent State University, Faculty of Economics of the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Mechanization of Agriculture, where he graduated as a Candidate of Economic Sciences, as well as Master's degree at Oxford University.

He was a Serviceman at the "Photon", Komsomol leader, virgin farm economist, Secretary of the Party Committee in the Hungry Steppe, associate professor of Party School. In 1990, he became the chairman of "Ipak Yuli" Bank Board. From 1991 to 1998 he served as Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of foreign economic activity. At the same time, since 1992 - Managing the EBRD - the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan.

In 1998 he became Minister of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The February 11, 2000 session of Oliy Mazhilis reconfirmed him as the Minister of Finance. On August 1, 2000 he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister as well as Minister of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan, heading the general economic complex. Since November 8, 2000 he served as Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Minister of Macroeconomics and Statistics, and was relieved of his duties as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan. On 24 December 2002 the Ministry of Macroeconomics and Statistics of Uzbekistan abolished.

From January 22, 2003 he served as Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Economy of the Republic of Uzbekistan - the head of the general economic complex. From February 4, 2005 he was First Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Economic Affairs, Head of the economic complex and a complex of consumer goods and trade. From July 25, 2005 he was Minister of the Ministry of the reconstituted International Economic Relations, Investments and Trade.

Since 2001, he was Chairman of the National Commission on the implementation of the Programme provide the rural population with drinking water and natural gas, the Chairman of the Government Commission on bankruptcy and reorganization of enterprises, Chairman of the National Coordination Council on promoting the development of small and private entrepreneurship.

Independent website Uzmetronom reported late on 21 February 2008 that Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev had been removed as Prime Minister and would assume duties as Hokim (governor) of Ferghana Province. First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov will assume duties as acting Prime Minister. Mirziyaev has been rumored for the past half year to be on his way out, though in November 2007 he seemed to have recovered his standing. His fall from power by no means entailed disgrace. Former Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov, who was replaced in 2003, then spent three years as a Deputy Prime Minister before moving on to head the TAPOich aircraft manufacturing plant (Karimov's own alma mater).

Mirziyaev's press secretary and others denied reports that First Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Azimov will be named acting Prime Minister. The reports touched a raw nerve and open a window on a palace intrigue whose ultimate stakes may be the succession to the Presidency.

Azimov's star was clearly on the rise. He was out of favor from 2003-2005 or so, following his role as a major booster of the disastrous 2003 EBRD annual meeting held in Tashkent. He had regained favor in the past two years and was named last month as First Deputy Prime Minister. He was arguably among the most powerful cabinet ministers for the past year. Whether he would remain as Prime Minister was unclear. He was widely seen as a promising figure for U.S.-Uzbek relations, and he was thought to be a promoter of sounder economic policies. He is a political survivor, though, who would keep his own message in line with Karimov's.

The prevailing view is that Tashkent-based Azimov declined the dubious honor of becoming Karimov's heir apparent, feeling he does not yet have his political ducks lined up with Samarkand/Bukhara- or Ferghana Valley-centered rivals whose support is required for stability in Uzbekistan's political triad.

In 2009 Uzbekistan established a special group on the prediction of Economic Development, headed by Rustam Azimov. According to the decree of the Government of Uzbekistan established an interdepartmental working group to develop the socio-economic development of Uzbekistan in 2014.

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