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You're reading: Arab spring leads authoritarian leaders in post-Soviet space to look to Moscow for support

Indeed, according to an article by Viktoriya Panfilova in today’s “Nezavisimaya gazeta,” Russian and Uzbek experts say that the possibility of Russian support under such circumstances will be the focus of talks during President Dmitry Medvedev’s meetings with his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov in Tashkent next week.

Aleksey Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center explicitly says that “during the negotiations in Tashkent, Islam Karimov will seek to clarify how and to what extent Russia can support Uzbekistan,” an issue that has become more important to the Uzbek leader since the meeting of the Uzbek opposition in Berlin.

“Karimov does not fear the actions of the opposition,” Malashenko says. “Uzbekistan is not Egypt but nevertheless he understands that life is changing. And in this changed environment,” the US is changing its relations with key allies such as Israel. Consequently, for Karimov, “it is important to understand how Moscow will conduct itself.”

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