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Fayzulla Iskhakov, Prominent Uzbek Historian And Karimov Critic, Dies

TASHKENT -- Fayzulla Iskhakov, a prominent Uzbek historian and critic of President Islam Karimov, has died in Tashkent at the age of 74, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

During the Soviet era, Iskhakov was in charge of censorship and foreign broadcasts in Uzbekistan and held other important positions within the government.

Iskhakov, who once taught communist ideology to several current officials in Uzbekistan, quit the Communist Party just before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Prior his retirement in 1997, Iskhakov was the department head at the Uzbek Academy of Science's History Institute in Tashkent.

After Uzbekistan gained independence, he was a leading member of the opposition movement promoting democratic reforms.

In 1992, Iskhakov rejected an offer from Karimov to become one of the president's political advisers. He became a frequent critic of Karimov's regime, often while speaking to foreign broadcasters such as the BBC and RFE/RL.

Iskhakov was a harsh critic of corruption within Uzbekistan's leadership and accused Karimov of hurting children's education with his imposition of the Latin script at a time when the country was unable to republish much of the country's literature in Cyrillic due to financial reasons.

Iskhakov authored more than 600 academic articles, five monographs, and 30 essays.

His last book, "Central Asia and Russia in the 19th and 20th Centuries," was published in Tashkent in 2009.