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Former PM Appointed To Run Uzbek Aviation Plant

(RFE/RL) November 2, 2006 -- Reports from Uzbekistan say President Islam Karimov has appointed former Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov to run the state-owned Chkalov aviation plant.

The Tashkent-based plant assembles Ilyushin aircraft using some parts manufactured and supplied by Russia. The Soviet-era facility is generally regarded as a strategic enterprise for both Tashkent and Moscow.

Sultanov, currently a government adviser, will take over from Vadim Kucherov, whom Karimov dismissed on November 1.

The reasons for Kucherov's sacking were not immediately clear.

Uzbekistan's nongovernmental UzMetronom website suggests his dismissal was a direct consequence of the plant's failure to deliver aircraft to the Chinese Defense Ministry on behalf of Russia.

Defense officials in Moscow recently suggested transferring the production of the Il-76 to the Russian city of Ulyanovsk. The Chkalov plant assembles Il-76, Il-78, and Il-114 airplanes.

(uzmetronom, ARMS-TASS)

Uzbekistan, Russia, And The West

Uzbekistan, Russia, And The West

President Karimov (left) with Russian President Putin in July 2005 (epa)

BETWEEN EAST AND WEST: One of the ramifications of the May 2005 bloodshed in Andijon has been a souring of relations between Tashkent and the West, accompanied by a raproachment between Uzbekistan and Russia. Following sharp U.S. and European criticism of the Andijon crackdown, Uzbekistan kicked the United States out of the Karshi-Khanabad air base and began actively courting Moscow.
"Today, we are reaching an unprecedented level in our relationship," Uzbek President Islam Karimov said during a November 2005 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at which the leaders signed a strategic-partnership agreement. "I understand and we all understand in Uzbekistan that it is unprecedented that Russia signs such a partnership agreement with Uzbekistan."


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THE COMPLETE STORY: A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.


For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.