In November, authorities in Moscow seized her luxury apartment there in connection with mobile-phone provider MTS's troubles in Uzbekistan, where the company's subsidiary -- at the time the country's largest mobile provider, once partly owned by Karimova -- was shut down abruptly and had its assets seized.
The trials and tribulations have not stopped Karimova from plowing forward with her many high-profile ventures. Her fashion line is pumping out the latest trends. Her new album -- titled "Googoosha" in homage to her alter ego -- is available in the iTunes store. Now, she is in the preproduction phase of a film project about the Silk Road that is set to star Gerard Depardieu.
The French actor was in Uzbekistan for a couple days to check things out, a moment captured by Karimova on her Twitter feed.
Karimova has weathered criticism of her lifestyle, her father's record on rights, and everything in between -- often expressed on social media by activists and journalists. On November 28 and 29, however, Googoosha took off the digital gloves. After a week in which she posted images of herself in yoga poses and a couple of strange postworkout pics, Karimova was graced with a faux Twitter account (a sort of digital merit badge in a way) -- @realbooboosha.
На сессии:) instagr.am/p/SlFT-TDGoZ/— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) November 28, 2012
Here are some samples (with translation) of what happened next. In short, academics Sarah Kendzior and Katy Pearce, activist Jillian York, and a couple others found themselves on the receiving end of an e-tongue-lashing by Karimova and her Twitter legions.
I've only been on Twitter for 1 day and @gulnarakarimova already blocked me. How can you block yourself?— Gulnara (@realbooboosha) November 28, 2012
“@nateschenkkan: Unblocked by @realgoogoosha! Today is complete.”that is smth!we made his day by just unblocking or blocking his BS— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) November 29, 2012
wow,and they all look like from one mom!))))))is it one family or smth??!— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) November 29, 2012
@jilliancyork realbooboosha really feel sorry for losers like you!Nothing to get busy in your own life just to be jealous about smns body)— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) November 29, 2012
@jilliancyork My small advise if I may,sorry,I usually don't do it to people:start to shape up your fat ass..yoga could help!— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) November 29, 2012
Nothing like waking up to a 40-year-old dictator's daughter tweeting that you are the product of incest.— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) November 29, 2012
@gulnarakarimova не понимаю, почему люди лезут в нашу страну не зная ее. Зла на них не хватает.— Ulugbek Muradov (@UlaMuradov) November 29, 2012
TRANSLATION: "I don't understand why some people get inside [eds: interfere] our country without knowing it. I'm more than angry."
@gulnarakarimova вы сильная, не обращайте внимания на дешёвых провокаторов)— Вадим Касьянов (@vadkasoff) November 29, 2012
TRANSLATION: "You are strong, don't pay attention to the cheap provocateurs"
@realbooboosha I'm shocked! How can you attack a woman that helps people!thanks for her, Uzbekistan became known to the world— D.i.K (@Kol_i_D) November 29, 2012
@realbooboosha @katypearce @sarahkendzior This is pathetic, it looks like someone paid for this…and human rights is just a caver for you— Алекс Бегляров (@alebeglyarov) November 29, 2012
I guess they have been paid a lot “@mi_sha_n9: @sarahkendzior @katypearce @gulnarakarimova How much have you been paid for racism?”— Avik (@Avikanvar) November 29, 2012
TRANSLATION: "They are envious of you, our mom, but we are all next to you, we support you. As for them let them go wherever they want to!!!"
@gulnarakarimova они завидуют Вам-нашей маме, но мы все рядом,мы Вас поддерживаем. а они пусть идут на все четыре стороны!!— Komilla Rakhmanova (@KomillaR) November 29, 2012
What does this whole little episode mean? Twitter spats shouldn't always be taken at face value, but it is notable that Karimova struck out at her critics -- supposed and otherwise -- as she is rarely keen to do so. She usually organizes her events, travels, and projects with a veneer of elegance that, until this week, had remained undisturbed by the litany of complaints and criticisms leveled against her.
-- Zach Peterson
UPDATE: Gulnara Karimova's newfound Twitter enagagement did not end with back-and-forth snark with academics. Over the weekend, she locked horns with Andrew Stroehlein, director of communications for the International Crisis Group (ICG), on the numerous reports of torture in Uzbekistan. Karimova has in the past been loath to publically discuss such heavy matters, as she typically keeps her public profile focused on her social, artistic, and otherwise nonpolitical life. There is no shortage of documentation on cases of torture in Uzbekistan. In December 2011, Human Rights Watch released a report titled, "No One Left to Witness," which documented systematic torture by the police and a lack of of any legal recourse for victims. Amnesty International, The Cotton Campaign, and the U.S. government -- among others -- have issued warnings on rights abuses in the country.
The ICG's Stroehlein, and several others, pointed some of these cases out to Karimova. Below are a few selections from the discussion -- note the cordiality at the end. Head to their respective Twitter timelines to see the whole thing.
.@gulnarakarimova What do I know about you? I know you represent one of the most repressive regimes in the world. Thanks for asking.— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) December 1, 2012
@astroehlein @antelava let's start one out of time...you might not like my answers to her anyway)but I promise for honest one))— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) December 1, 2012
.@gulnarakarimova You'd like some objective points? How about the points made in this @hrw report? bit.ly/SwPpK9— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) December 1, 2012
@astroehlein one time: MAY I HAVE a FIRM PRECISE CASSES to look at to get equinted with it and to talk to you than..e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) December 1, 2012
.@gulnarakarimova Need more "objective points"? Take these from Cotton Campaign detailing your regime's abuses: bit.ly/SwQkKp— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) December 1, 2012
@astroehlein Once I see It in your docs I 'll speak about each and every case with you...— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) December 1, 2012
.@gulnarakarimova Thanks. Till next time...— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) December 1, 2012
@astroehlein good night and thanks for DIalog...— Gulnara Karimova (@GulnaraKarimova) December 1, 2012
-- Zach Peterson