Friday, August 26, 2016


Who Does Miss Uzbekistan Think She Is?

Rakhima Ganieva's appearance at the Miss World competition appears to have Uzbek officials baffled.
Rakhima Ganieva's appearance at the Miss World competition appears to have Uzbek officials baffled.
Uzbek media have been abuzz in recent days over Rakhima Ganieva, the 18-year-old Tashkent native who gained minor celebrity this summer when she was named Uzbekistan's first-ever representative in the Miss World competition, which kicked off this week in Indonesia with 131 young hopefuls from around the globe.

At first glance, Ganieva would seem to be everything an attention-seeking Central Asian autocracy could hope for: she plays piano and tennis, speaks polished English, and even bears a passing resemblance to Uzbekistan's presidential daughter and resident glamour-puss Gulnara Karimova.

But with the September 28 Miss World final just weeks away, officials in Tashkent appear to have washed their hands of Ganieva, saying they have no idea who she is or what she's doing in Indonesia.

Both the Uzbek Culture and Sports Ministry and the national committee on women, contacted by RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, said they had no knowledge of Ganieva's participation in the Miss World contest. Nor, they added, does Uzbekistan even have a Miss Uzbekistan contest. Anyone laying claim to the title, they suggested, was clearly an imposter.

Others were more explicit.

"Rakhima Ganieva never passed through any special selection process in Uzbekistan," said Zhavlon Komolov, a representative of the Tashkent-based Pro Models modeling agency, where Ganieva briefly trained as a 15-year-old.

"If there had been a process to choose a young lady for this competition, I can assure you that a much more beautiful model would have been chosen," he added. "I'm sorry that Ganieva is choosing to build a career on lies."

Even Karimova herself chimed in via Twitter, dismissing Ganieva as a "Tajik-looking girl" who "appeared out of nowhere." (She added, in an apparent non sequitur, "How come this contest is being held in a place where the temperature reaches 50 degrees Celsius?")

The Miss World mystery has been a source of heated online discussion among young Uzbeks. Some came to her defense, pointing to Ganieva's relatively benign Facebook page.

Others, scrutinizing a short video of Ganieva placed on the Miss World site on August 15, quibble with her claim that she is starting school in the fall at the Tashkent-based University of World Economy and Diplomacy. (Entrance-exam scores, which inform students at which schools they've been accepted, are posted only after August 15.)

Miss World officials have yet to comment on the brouhaha over the legitimacy of Miss Uzbekistan, who is joining contestants from Kosovo, Cameroon, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau as their countries' first-ever representatives at the 62-year-old competition.

It's possible competition organizers have more pressing concerns than a controversial contestant.

Miss World officials are currently searching for a new site in Indonesia for the lavish final event after hard-line Islamists in the capital, Jakarta, said the city would be disgraced by hosting a "pornographic" contest like Miss World.

-- Daisy Sindelar
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Jorjo from: Florida
September 11, 2013 21:36
"Even Karimova herself chimed in via Twitter, dismissing Ganieva as a "Tajik-looking girl"

The doyenne of Uzbek diplomacy speaks in her distinctive diplomatic language:)
In Response

by: Smitty from: Ohio
September 19, 2013 00:57
She could have picked ANY name but she chose "Tajik" as if Tajik women are ugly and without talent; when in reality Tajik women are the most beautiful in the world and the most talented.

by: uzbek abroad from: NYC
September 12, 2013 01:28
What's so bad about an Uzbek girl taking part in Miss World, and especially about being the first one? Kudos to her. She is beautiful. Uzbeks should be proud of having an Uzbek girl at the contest. As to Gulnara Karimova, she is just jealous. "Tajik looking girl"?? She should know that Uzbeks look very different, there are those looking like Japanese or Koreans, and very Mediterranean type too. We are different. But we all are Uzbeks.
In Response

by: Mamuka
September 12, 2013 15:46
Abroad-jan, here is the problem: if there had been an actual selection process in Tashkent there would have been more opportunities for bribes!!! That's why they are so upset, people missed out on some cash.

by: TK from: Vilnius
September 12, 2013 08:24
More intriguing that the story is the fact that US taxpayers consent to using their money for this sort of tabloid journalism wh/ once would expect to find on a cheap supermarket checkout line. Let's face it, since the end of the Cold War, RFE/RL has lost its "raison d'etre", in incapable of conducting investigative and critical journalism; and given the balooning US national debt and high unemployment, why not do the average American a favour and just disband already? You will not be missed, as "The Sun" , "Globe" and "Weekly World News" do a much better job at what you do!
In Response

by: Demetrius M from: My House
September 12, 2013 21:16
Hey TK, than why are you reading this article? And if you're concerned about U.S taxpayers, send your check to the Obamacare fund, in care of Barrack Hussein Obama.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 13, 2013 07:12
you sound like a really interesting person. troll.

by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
September 13, 2013 03:02
Of course the islamists can't bear the fact that the rest of the world would celebrate female beauty when they are supposed to be such slave dog baby machines.

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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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