The departure of Rustam Inoyatov, the head of the powerful National Security Service, after more than 20 years has been called one of the biggest event in Uzbekistan's recent history, second only to the death of President Islam Karimov in 2016.
Seen as an obstacle to new President Shavkat Mirziyoev's plans for reform, Inoyatov's removal from power should free Mirziyoev to push forward his policies. Opinions vary on Mirziyoev's ability, and perhaps even desire, to make good on all his promises.
Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL's media-relations manager, moderated a discussion on what Inoyatov's exit means for President Mirziyoev, and his plans for Uzbekistan.
Joining the discussion from Bishkek was Steve Swerdlow (@steveswerdlow), the Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch. From Washington D.C., we had Catherine Putz (@LadyPutz ), managing editor at The Diplomat magazine and also the author of many articles about Central Asia, taking part in the conversation. Our own Alisher Sidik, director of RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, known locally as Ozodlik, helped us out. And I'm one of many people who were waiting for Inoyatov to leave, so I wanted to say some things as well.
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