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Former Uzbek Security Chief Inoyatov Dismissed From Presidential Advisor Post

Rustam Inoyatov, the former head of Uzbekistan's national security service (file photo)

TASHKENT – The Uzbek president has dismissed his advisor on law enforcement, the once influential former chief of the National Security Service, Rustam Inoyatov.

President Shavkat Mirziyoev’s spokesman made the announcement on November 15, saying that Inoyatov will be replaced by Bakhtiyor Islomov.

The spokesman, Sherzod Asadov, did not give further information.

The 76-year-old Inoyatov, who holds a colonel-general's rank, was once seen as a potential rival to Mirziyoev.

He remained at the helm of the National Security Service for almost 23 years before he was removed from his position in early 2018 and became a presidential advisor.

Inoyatov was one of a relatively small number of senior officials who had retained their posts after the death of longtime President Islam Karimov was announced in September 2016.

Under his leadership, the National Security Service, the main successor of the Soviet-era KGB in Uzbekistan, became one of the most powerful and feared agencies in the tightly controlled Central Asian country.

Mirziyoev renamed the agency the State Security Service shortly after Inoyatov’s dismissal.

Many believed that Inoyatov, one of the most influential officials in Uzbekistan for years, would succeed Karimov or maneuver an ally into the presidency.