BIOGRAPHY OF ISLAM KARIMOV
Islam Karimov was born in 1938 in Samarkand. His childhood coincided with the war years, his early years were full of hardship. In 1960 he received his graduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Tashkent Polytechnic Institute.
It is worth mentioning that many described him as a capable and industrious student. His fellow students and teachers remember that he was the only one to have obtained excellent marks in mathematics. The talented young man had good prospects to go on with his career, but to the astonishment of many, he chose industrial production and a labour collective instead of post-graduate studies. He was engaged first as a foreman assistant, later foreman and technologist. Being involved in a real production process, understanding it from inside that was what really mattered to Islam Karimov.
He joined another plant afterwards – aircraft manufacturing – one of the largest enterprises in the former Soviet Union. Islam Karimov worked there as an engineer and, some years later, as a senior design engineer.
Desire for knowledge motivated Islam Karimov to begin his studies by correspondence with the Tashkent Institute of National Economy, from which he received his degree in economics. In 1966 Islam Karimov transferred to the State Planning Committee where he advanced from a senior scientific specialist to first deputy, gaining a reputation as a principled and exceptional economist. A man of strong character, anxious for learning and always trying to get to the heart of the things, that was Islam Karimov of that time and so has remained to this very day. By 1983 he was Finance Minister of Uzbekistan and in 1986 Chairman of the State Planning Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Republic.
Soon afterwards Islam Karimov's career spiraled. He was a high-ranking Communist Party official for five years – First Secretary of the Kashkadaria Regional Committee and First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Republic. His rise within the Party and elevated rank in the then political hierarchy was mainly due to his professional competence and his working capacity.
Islam Karimov became head of the Uzbek state in the dramatic years when Uzbekistan was being made the target within the so-called family of friendly Soviet nations of massive accusations of corruption. It was Islam Karimov's merit that he resolutely defended his nation, rejected all criminal myths and defamations from outside by those who for the sake of their career aspirations tried to set up interrogation rooms in the ancient land of the Uzbeks.
In March 1990, to many Kremlin ruler's astonishment and discontent, the Supreme Soviet of Uzbekistan set up the presidency and elected Islam Karimov as President. The Republic in the person of its President unequivocally declared that it would not follow blindly a floundering and sinking vessel, that the country's millions of inhabitants were eager to live in an independent state free of the pressure of communist ideology.
On August 31, 1991 Islam Karimov declared the Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Under the leadership of President Karimov an ancient dream of the Uzbeks had become reality: their country had achieved actual statehood in a democratic and peaceful way. At Islam Karimov's initiative, the Communist party was transformed into the Peoples' Democratic party which adopted a completely new ideology and policy and became a parliamentary party. Islam Karimov received 86% of the votes in the first alternative elections held on December 29, 1991. With his victory in the elections, President Karimov, supported by his people, had his political line legitimised.
The strategy of rebuilding a new country with a great and ancient history was expounded by Islam Karimov in his book "Uzbekistan: Its Own Road of Renovation and Progress". The strategy of renovation, which has been fully supported and approved by the Uzbek people, was developed in his other works. From the first days of Uzbekistan's Independence President Karimov has been the initiator and leader of historic transformations in the Republic.
The people's confidence and belief in President Karimov was clearly demonstrated in a national referendum held on March 26, 1995, which extended his term in office to the year 2000.
Islam Karimov became the first reelected President of Uzbekistan in the last presidential elections conducted on January 8, 2000.
President Karimov is married, with two daughters and three grandchildren.
For his outstanding contribution to creation of a sovereign state based on democratic laws, ensuring peace and national accord, development of the sphere of education in Uzbekistan Islam Karimov has been awarded the title of the Hero of Uzbekistan and the orders Mustakillik (Independence) and Amir Temur. He has also received awards from a number of foreign states and international organisations.
Islam Karimov holds honorary doctorates from a number of foreign institutions.
Dr . Islam Karimov
Engineer and President of Uzbekistan