This study analyzes the Uzbek government's emphasis on youth mobilization as an alternative to now failing policies of post-communist patronage rule.
Patronage politics is an ever less viable strategy of political survival for Uzbek President Islam Karimov. The Andijan uprising of May 2005 is an indicator of the current regime's inability to ensure regional elite loyalty through traditional patronage networks. Motivated by this policy failure, the Karimov leadership now seeks to mobilize Uzbek youth as an alternative base for political support.
Although the Karimov leadership faces growing regional unrest, the regime's attempts to mobilize broad youth support have met with some success:
- New, independent and society-based sources of economic wealth will continue to erode the Uzbek government's efforts to rule through political patronage
- The future stability of the Karimov regime will be defined by its ability to mobilize youth as a counterbalance to increasingly powerful regionally-based patronage networks.