Monday, September 01, 2014


Silly Dictator Story #17: Gulnara Karimova Thanks God For Her Face, Blames Media For Everything Else

Uzbek First Daughter Gulnara Karimova, also known as Googoosha, during the recent filming of a video for a new song
Uzbek First Daughter Gulnara Karimova, also known as Googoosha, during the recent filming of a video for a new song
Some people may believe Uzbekistan's first daughter Gulnara Karimova lives in an ivory tower, far above the howls of her detractors.

She would argue that is anything but the case.

At a weekend press conference in Tashkent, flanked by a mosaic of plaques advertising her innumerable charitable causes, Googoosha sought to engage her critics, wag a finger at the press, and praise, in the face of great adversity, her unshakable self-esteem.

"You can say that I've pressured someone," said the 40-year-old pop singer, fashion icon, millionaire, and entrepreneur, who is frequently tapped as the likely successor to her tyrannical father, Islam Karimov.

"You can say that I've said or done something wrong, or wrote something badly. You can say whatever you want. But my face and my image -- the things that I carry with me -- that's given to me by God. I'm grateful to God that he gave me my height, my face, my features."

The slings and arrows of the yellow press may pierce her heart, said Karimova, dressed in a demure white blouse and silver-spangled leggings, "but those people can never take away what's been put on my face by God."

The press conference was attended by a smattering of journalists, including correspondents from unspecified-but-touted "foreign" outlets. Among those notably absent was the opposition news site, which has frequently probed her controversial Fund Forum charity organization, notorious for its recent boondoggle, the "1,000 Weddings and 1,000 Circumcisions" project. "Clearly [Uznews] wasn't ready for such an open dialogue," one loyal organizer sniffed.

Karimova expressed her own frustration with what she saw as the unprofessionalism of the Uzbek media, including RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, which she lambasted for erroneously reporting that she demonstrated the finer points of karate during a recent guest appearance at a media camp for aspiring journalists.

"I want to be happy for you," she said. "But I have just one question. We were talking about yoga exercises. Where did the karate come from? Be human, guys, and look in your soul for an answer: Did anyone see any karate going on there?"

Dropping karate, Karimova moved on to her budding music career as an opportunity to address critics further afield, like Britain's "Independent" newspaper and its August 17 article headlined, "Dad's accused of boiling people alive -- but Googoosha just wants to be a star."

A lesser recording artist would shudder and begin counting the lost sales. Karimova -- whose new album, reportedly released in June but on sale nowhere -- appeared to take it in stride. "When such things appear, I think it speaks to the fact that many people are in fact listening to my album. It speaks to the scope of my popularity. It's not only my inspirational supporters who are among my listeners. It's also those who are learning to sing by modeling themselves to me."

"I never considered myself a singer," Karimova added, a setup line if ever there was one. "The album came out completely unexpectedly."

Her failed fashion launch at last autumn's New York Fashion Week -- scuppered by protests against her father's use of forced child labor in the country's massive cotton industry -- provoked another jab at the press.

"No one bothers to recall that there were American students who came out on my side," she said. "There were 20 of them, all American-born Uzbeks, and they were wearing T-shirts with the slogan 'We support Gulya,' and they collected signatures in support of my show."

Karimova paused before expressing her gratitude for such under-reported shows of global support. "Believe me," she concluded. "We simply didn't manage to, but we would have been happy to send them a box of fruit."

-- Daisy Sindelar
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
August 21, 2012 18:25
Princess could be doing worse things than making pop music videos. Uzbeks should thank God that she's not into grindcore.
In Response

by: Chad from: USA
August 25, 2012 07:18
You must be out of your mind dear Anonymous. Or trying to provoke readers. The only thing people should thank God for is her murderous commie daddy is getting old. Once he is dead Gulixon should probably run from Uzbekistan.

by: Thomas from: Berlin
August 21, 2012 19:49
What do you think Jo and Jane Anywhere America would say if and when they find out they are paying for this sort of tabloid news in addition to the salaries of their globe-trolling writers?!

And why does a country so pround of capitalism and private enterprise fund RFE/RL with its clearly one-sided coverage of the world and oft irrelevant (as here) stories?
In Response

by: Valence from: USA
August 22, 2012 16:48
Thomas, did you not notice the rubric of this feature is "silly dictator stories?" Lighten up!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
August 24, 2012 21:54
Thomas from Berlin, my Anschluss brother, I agree with you. Though I am not an Aryan like you and am actually gay, I still support you, my loyal Germanic friend.

by: Alick from: London
August 24, 2012 16:20
The Uzbek Barbie wants the world to recognize her numerous (existent and non-existent) talents and not associate her with the notorious papa. That would be fine unless her hobbies didn’t cost so much for the ordinary people whose pockets from all her amateurish endeavors
are paid for.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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