President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan officially fired long-time Security Chief Rustam Inoyatov on January 31, according to EurasiaNet.
After the death of the previous president, Islam Karimov, in 2016, Inoyatov ran for president against Mirziyoyev. As a close member of Karimov’s inner circle, he had been the chief of the National Security Services (SNB), the successor to the Soviet KGB, for 23 years.
In December 2017, Mirziyoyev indicated in a meeting that changes would be implemented regarding the SNB. Before the formal resignation of Inoyatov, the SNB had already been losing authority under the government of Mirziyoyev, even though Inoyatov remained very powerful during the immediate aftermath of Karimov’s death. As Mirziyoyev consolidated his power, Inoyatov was gradually isolated.
In addition, the jurisdiction of the SNB has diminished: it is now unable to take actions like seizing or searching private property without the presence of a court order. Prosecutor General Ikhtiyor Abdullayev will be the new SNB chief, succeeding Inoyatov.
According to BBC, the dismissal of Inoyatov signals a major step in the development of Mirziyoyev’s reforms on the dictatorial legacy of Karimov, as Inoyatov was reported to be openly opposed to Mirziyoyev’s reforms. These reforms include a move towards liberating the monetary policy of Uzbekistan and improving relations with neighbors. However, regional experts and human rights groups have expressed doubt over the ability and desire of Mirziyoyev to execute these reforms.