LONDON, Aug. 20 (The Conway Bulletin) – Coca-Cola has re-started drinks production in Uzbekistan a year after manufacturing stopped, media reported (Aug. 18).
This is significant in the internal Uzbek power struggle and may show that after a turbulent 12 months Uzbekistan’s politics are calming.
Coca-Cola production in Uzbekistan had been closely associated with Gulnara Karimova, daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, through her company Zeromax which also owned several other major Uzbek companies.
Over the past year or so, though, the influence of Ms Karimova has waned. She is now under house arrest in Tashkent and her closest associates have been jailed for various economic crimes.
Information coming out of Uzbekistan is scant but analysts have said that Ms Karimova’s rivals moved to weaken her before she could set herself up as the heir apparent to her father.
In any case, Coca-Cola products had virtually disappeared from supermarket shelves in Uzbekistan this year. It appears now that control of Coca-Cola has been handed over to Ms Karimova’s rivals, marking their ascendency as well as the return of Coca-Cola’s soft drinks.
This story was first published in issue 196 of the weekly Conway Bulletin newssheet, a weekly publication covering Central Asia and the South Caucasus