TASHKENT -- President Shavkat Mirziyoev has declined to move into the presidential palaces of his predecessor Islam Karimov, and has instead begun using a newly renovated residence to the east of the capital, Tashkent, RFE/RL has learned.
With reconstruction work continuing during August at his compound in a Tashkent regional district, Mirziyoev has not yet made the estate his full-time home.
The project is the latest in a series of moves by Mirziyoev as he consolidates authority in the Central Asia country, ruled for decades by Karimov.
There has been no official announcement from Mirziyoev's administration about the new presidential residency.
But district officials tell RFE/RL that Mirziyoev has repeatedly visited the residence since celebrating his 60th birthday there on July 24 with a housewarming party -- a gathering that included fireworks and performances by Russian pop stars.
In the meantime, Mirziyoev continues to maintain his private house in Tashkent's Karasuv-2 district.
He also works from the same office he used as prime minister from 2003 to 2016 at the Senate administration building on Tashkent's Independence Square.
Mirziyoev was appointed as acting president by parliament on September 8, just six days after the death of the authoritarian Karimov was announced. In December, he won a presidential election in a vote that was widely criticized by international monitors as a sham.
However, Mirziyoev has refused to move into the official presidential residence -- Karimov's former home and headquarters known as Oqsaroy, or the White Palace, in Tashkent.
Two other large residences used by Karimov -- Durmen and Koksaroy, or the Green Palace -- have also remained unoccupied since Karimov's death.
Renovation work at Mirziyoev's compound in the village of Baitqorgon, in the Qibrai district, began almost immediately after his December 14 inauguration.
The work is being overseen by Mirziyoev's son-in-law, Oibek Tursunov, who is also the deputy chief of the presidential administration.
Google satellite images taken before Karimov's death show two large houses on several hectares of land on the south side of the Chirchik River.
The images also show gardens and a large swimming pool as well as dozens of small cottages nearby. Those cottages have been demolished as part of the site work, and more than 100 people living in them have been evicted.
Some evicted residents told RFE/RL that they have moved in with relatives while others, essentially rendered homeless, are being temporarily housed in a nearby school building.
The residents have been promised new houses. One Qibrai district official told them that they would be able to move in on September 2 -- the anniversary of the official announcement of Karimov's death.
Marble Slabs, Swarovski Crystals
RFE/RL confirmed that construction of those houses is underway. But construction workers at those properties told RFE/RL that it is unlikely the homes will be completed by September 2.
At Mirziyoev's compound and in the immediate vicinity, other work has gone forward.
Roads adjacent to a four-meter-high metal fence that now surrounds the compound have been widened and fir trees have been planted in the neighborhood along the streets.
An interior designer who is working on the project told RFE/RL that the residence itself has been decorated with Argentina blue marble slabs, costing $500 per square meter, and with Swarovski crystals.