Convicted Uzbek Princess Gulnara Karimova: From Love to Hatred

Daughter of the first president of Uzbekistan Gulnara Karimova in Vogue Café in Moscow, 2006


Scheherazade of Moscow zero Gulnara Karimova met forty-five years in prison. On the curve of the secular path, which brought the Uzbek princess to her, once again Gregory Tumanov walked.

Uzbek writer and opposition leader Safar Bekzhon, who lives in Geneva, no-no, and goes to the commune of Cologne at chemin de la Prévôté, 7. From the center of Geneva, on foot – an hour fifteen along the embankment with a picturesque view of the lake. Sometimes a writer wanders here just like that, sometimes – along with visiting journalists: they are so intrusive, they are always asked to take them to the cherished address.

Another couple of minutes along the quiet passage of the Commandant’s Office, where behind the green hedges and high gate the roofs of the local villas can be seen, and here it is. Two thousand four hundred and seventy-three square meters, two houses, three utility rooms. “The elevator is going to the third floor, the fourth access is closed, but there are the most valuable paintings that are the property of the Uzbek people,” says Beckzhon. The villa is empty. If you know the context, its types are like pictures of Prokudin-Gorsky, pictures of a long-lost civilization. The walls are witnesses of the times when everything was better when everything was sparkling and sparkling.

According to the documents published in 2013 by journalists opposed to the regime of Islam Karimov Ferghana, the villa belongs to a woman named Goulnara Karimova born in 1972. Under the same name, the same year the eldest daughter of the President of Uzbekistan was born. She is in the past – the singer Googoosha, she is a friend of the secular Moscow, she is also a poetess and woman, who was always glad to see the best friend of the girls in diamonds Fawaz Gruosi. She is in the present – as it became known in July this year from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Uzbekistan – convicted of extortion and embezzlement, forgery of documents, possession of another’s property, money laundering and violation of customs legislation. Only the main skill of secular Moscow remained unchanged: to forget immediately those whom it had previously praised.

In the diplomatic service

Banalen the thesis of the relationship between the birth of celestial bodies with someone’s needs. But he is best suited to a situation in which a protuberance named Gulnara Karimova appeared on the secular horizon of Moscow’s fatty zeroes. It was a time of conspicuous consumption, undisguised sexuality and people whose occupation is simultaneously outlined by an impressive (and eclectic) list and still can not be defined. When a talented diplomat, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Fashion at the State University of New York, a bachelor in telecommunications from the Tashkent University of Information Technology, a singer, political scientist and poet, appeared on secular parties, she knew only one thing: she was the daughter of the president of Uzbekistan. This, perhaps, was the determining factor for all who flocked to the light of Gulnara Karimova. And this light, as confirmed by the capital’s entrepreneur, previously part of the Uzbek princess’s inner circle, was really bright. “Young, sexy, lived an open life, sometimes even too much,” he recalls in an interview with “Tatler”.

To take out a crowd of forbs in Tashkent? As easy as pie! To book Sting in Uzbekistan? Easily!

Gulnara broke into Moscow secular life in an oriental, grand fashion – no one seemed to have time to understand how this happened. But almost immediately the organized by her events began to gather class A officials. So it was, for example, in May 2006, when on the initiative of Karimova in Moscow the evening of culture of Uzbekistan was held. A banquet, which in any other scenario could attract only ethnographers-amateurs, was a holiday of both product and secular-business abundance. An unusual interest in Uzbek culture was demonstrated not only by Alisher Usmanov, to whom this is generally the case, but also by the president of the Urals mining and metallurgical company Iskander Makhmudov, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, head of Alfa Group Mikhail Fridman and even not yet in time tragically say goodbye to AFK Sistema Vladimir Yevtushenkov.

It seems impossible and incomprehensible how men like Senator Alexander Torshin, journalist Nikolai Uskov or the same Mikhail Fridman could be in the same banquet room of the National to get a collection of poems and a CD with songs by Karimova “Differently about different”. They twisted a small book in their hands, waiting for Gulnara, leafing through and reading in it: “Up – down, life – infinity. Let only an instant, but so that the eternity. ” Then it turned out that the culprit of the celebration on its own presentation was not planned.

With Domenico Dolce and Eva Herzigova at amfAR in Antibes, 2009

But not only Karimova’s creative ambitions allowed her to be in the same room with tops of secular chronicles. They themselves readily invited her to come. Although, as the source of “Tutler”, who passed the furnace of the Zero party, the daughter of the Uzbek president was extremely selective in attending other people’s events. For example, she could drop by the charity auction to Irina Kudrina, where Alisher Usmanov and Dr. Leonid Roshal sat at the same table with her, and Vahe Yengibaryan, then Karimova’s colleague at the diplomatic corps, but Russian, was entertained by the neighboring designer Ulyana Zeitlin. “The principle of choice of events is understandable: the daughter of the Uzbek president needed to integrate into the Russian and international establishment,” our interlocutor argues. “But in general she appeared more often at those evenings that she sponsored herself.”

A separate genre was the visits of the Russian elite to Uzbekistan, where Karimova felt even more relaxed than in Moscow. 2006, Tashkent, National Clothes Gallery. Plates of thick glass cover the fountain of the atrium, forming a podium. It is followed by models that demonstrate also the design impulses of the daughter of Uzbekistan. In the glass at their feet beat streams. Next come the girls in the things of Valentin Yudashkin – he himself immediately, in the hall. One of the models is in a fur coat made from multicolored shreds of mink that merge into a national Uzbek pattern. The head of the Russian Silhouette Foundation Tatiana Mikhalkova smiles. On the podium from the first row, the chairman of the scientific council of the Institute of the CIS countries Andranik Migranyan closely watches and at that time the frequenter of the events of Karimova Iskander Makhmudov. TV host Andrey Malakhov is still amazed by that trip: “I was visiting her, waited for her, and she was two hours late. It turned out that she was on some procedure and came literally with silk skin. ” Once Malakhov showed gallantry, dismissing the compliment to the results of the beauty-ritual, he received a generous compensation for his expectation: Karimova ordered to immediately send him to the same salon where he was “massaged and licked.” “That’s how it all was: you can wait for it for three hours, and then you get a royal reception and you can leave,” the TV presenter tells.

At the Guli brand show in Moscow, 2011

The permanent author of “Tatler”, at that time the head of culture department of the newspaper “Kommersant” Aleksey Tarkhanov, also happened to visit Uzbekistan at the invitation of Karimova. She called him to conduct a master class for local journalists. According to Tarkhanov, the daughter of the president as a result shocked him almost more than the views of Khiva and Samarkand, to which he dreamed to look at a young man. “With Gulnara, we saw each other in Khiva during the festival organized by its foundation,” the journalist recalls. “We had dinner at a governmental, former obkomov, former khan’s dacha, and there I first met with the real haute cuisine of the Uzbeks and with the present, also for the three Michelin stars, with oriental veneration.” Karimov was exactly the same as Tarkhanov herself imagined: a head taller and five times more beautiful than all the women around. “She spoke easily, freely, with the authority that is not peculiar to the oriental princess, but always to the famous beauty, in that Moscow language, which was then used by the regulars somewhere in “Simache.” And it was evident that she could communicate with strangers more easily than with her entourage. ”

With Hillary Clinton and Mom Tatyana in Tashkent, 1997

To take out a crowd of forbs in Tashkent? As easy as pie! To book Sting in Uzbekistan? Easily! Gulnara Karimova, as the entrepreneur who was part of her inner circle says, thought of herself as a real queen of endless talents. Therefore, navigational instruments were tuned to the same coordinates, according to which, say, one of the brightest monarchs – the jetsetters, the Queen of Jordan Rania. Abdullah II’s wife rarely appears at social events, but if it does, then immediately on the same orbits, which, for example, Uma Thurman revolves. Gulnara Karimova also tried to keep up. Regular trips to Cannes for parties de Grisogono, profitable (for them – as much as possible) friendship with Fawaz Gruosi and Carolina Scheufele.

With Fawaz Gruosi, Eva Cavalli and Gogo Ashkenazi in Sardinia, 2010

With Sharon Stone, Elton John and Carolina Scheufele at a party in California, 2009

The daughter of the president of Uzbekistan could be easily met at the AmfAR party or at the VIP Room restaurant together with Harvey Weinstein, Paris Hilton, Eva Herzigova, Naomi Watts. Lionel Ritchie sings, Karolina Scheufele lies on the piano, Cannes melts from the heat – it seemed that it was and will be: a protuberance named Gulnara Karimova continued to race ahead of the speed of Moscow light. “She really generously paid for all this,” says the source of “Tatler”. – If you became a VIP customer of Gruosi, then the Cannes stars are available to you. Especially when you have the budget of a small country in your hands. ”

“That’s how it all was: you can wait for three hours, and then you get a royal reception and leave, massaged and licked.”

The status of Gulnara and the generosity with which she invested in the location of others could not but overshadow the consciousness even for those who are not so weak in spirit. Someone, making friends with her, counted on generous gifts. Someone like the interlocutor of “Tatler” who received a slight burn from a collision with the Uzbek star, looked further: “People went to her presentation, because they hoped that the country is rich and there something will be built.” Karimova always made it clear that without her help, it is almost impossible to do this, our interlocutor adds. “It appeared everywhere: it does not matter, we are talking about telecom, cotton, the tissue market. She was very greedy, but she did not provide anything, she did not understand anything and worked very unprofessional. ”

With Sati Spivakova at the presentation of Evelina Khromchenko's book in Paris, 2009

The indignation of her behavior was felt not only by Russian entrepreneurs, whose hopes for fruitful cooperation with Karimova in Uzbekistan were not justified. At home, as one of the most common versions of her fall says, Gulnara was also unhappy. First of all, the siloviki, who began to gradually put the thought of the elderly father in the head that the daughter had thoughts about the presidential chair. She, however, did not particularly try to persuade anyone – she did not even directly state the absence of political ambitions. The irritation was accumulated, Islam Karimov grew old, his daughter’s competitors got stronger, she continued to live as she was used to. So the end was approaching.

In 2013, the Russian service of the BBC reported that Karimov was deprived of diplomatic status (from the mid-1990s she served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, was deputy minister for international cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian sphere, the post of the Republic at the UN in Geneva, the ambassador of Uzbekistan to Spain). Her apartment in France was searched in the case of money laundering and bribery of officials in Sweden. At the same time, the police also detained Karimova’s assistant Alisher Ergashev, who worked in the Gibraltar offshore Takilant – he was connected with the daughter of the president of Uzbekistan. According to the investigators, numerous bribes from the mobile operator TeliaSonera, operating on the Uzbek market, were listed on the company’s accounts. Problems grew like a snowball, and secular activity of Karimova logically decreased.

At the Balmain show in Tashkent, 2010

Then, in 2013, the police carried out searches and at the very Swiss villa Gulnara. Following the sealed mansion came the dissident Safar Bekzhon and all four representatives of the organization registered in Geneva, the “Uzbek Democratic Society”. Beckjon confusedly explains how he managed to get into the house: he allegedly persuaded one of the villa guards to give the key for a good purpose – to squat the building erected on national money to show the whole world where Karimov kept the stolen from Uzbek citizens. Beckhon wandered along the corridors of the villa, which recently went to the heroine of secular chronicles, and with a camera scrupulously cataloged what he saw. Here is one picture, here is another dozen, here is expensive furniture, but a self-made poster, which he made with like-minded people: “In this house lives the daughter of dictator Karimov.” “Then, of course,

At some point, Karimova finally disappeared from the radar. It’s like she never was. Remained only memories of generous gifts from those who managed to get them, and even the most grateful. “In fact, she was an ordinary secular lady, nothing more,” recalls the source of “Tutler.” “Not even a card in the deck.” Those who tried to use the connections with Karimova to build a business in Uzbekistan, or prefer not to talk about it at all, or curses all the nomenclature children and children of dictators: “They do not know how to generate anything, only to squeeze, and then everything ends up running “.

“If you become a VIP customer of Gruosi, then the Cannes stars are available to you. Especially when you have the budget of a small country in your hands. “

Those who did not get out of her shows in Tashkent, remember her now only in connection with the news: there is a search, there is a text about the possible location of the former secular lioness. Here is a report that since February 2014 Gulnara is under house arrest, together with her eighteen-year-old daughter Iman, but the girl was then released, and she lives in the Turkestan hotel in Tashkent. But the lightning about the fact that the president’s daughter was poisoned with fish fugu, specially ordered in Japan, was secretly buried in Tashkent, and the grave was razed to the ground. And now her son Islam tells the BBC that Gulnara’s doubles are allowed to walk along the streets of the republic’s capital in order to create the appearance that she is alive, and his grandmother Tatyana Akbarovna and Aunt Lola are to blame for everything. They were also at the funeral of the grandfather without Gulnara and did not say a word about her.

Gulnara's father Islam Karimov with her children - the son of Islam and daughter Iman

Gulnara with her son Islam at the party de Grisogono at Cap d'Antibes, 2012

In August of this year, Islam Karimov Jr. (he is now twenty-five, he studied business and jurisprudence at the University of Oxford Brooks) suddenly again contacted the world from London and said that the villa in Geneva really belonged to his mother: her Gulnara was presented by the pope and Mom, when my daughter went to work as a diplomat in Switzerland. Gulnara’s son also said that she did not have any fortune of two billion dollars and that he received a judicial document from Tashkent on July 3: his mother was transferred to prison. July 8, the eldest daughter of the President of Uzbekistan turned forty-five.

President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov with his wife Tatyana, 1995

Even taking into account all financial injections, Gulnara Karimova never managed to integrate into the establishment. “Personally, I never went to her parties, the Uzbek stage and fashion somehow never interested me,” one of the interlocutors of the “Tutler” curses. Secular Moscow, part of which was so generously endowed by the Uzbek princess, turned out to be idealistic in its ideas about sincere love: for money it is seriously and for a long time not ready. And where there is no sincere feelings, there is no possibility of becoming one’s own.

No one has driven into the vacant Midovo mansion in the Komendatura thoroughfare. The media continue to speculate what will happen to Gulnara Karimova next. Moscow is completing its secular season in 2017, discussing very different ambitious newcomers.

At the Guli brand show in Tashkent, 2013

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