Samarkand clan

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The Samarkand clan (alternatively Samarqand) is an Uzbek clan led by Ismoil Jurabekov.[1] The clan is one of two major clans in Uzbekistan;[1] the other, its main rival, is the Tashkent clan.[2] To a lesser extent, the Ferghana clan is also a rival.[3] Former Uzbek President Islam Karimov comes from the Samarkand clan.[4]


In contemporary Uzbekistan, tribes no longer exist. Modern Uzbek clans either operate at the family level or at the national level. The term "clan" today usually refers to patronage networks created by marriage or friendship.[5] Some prefer to call the groups "factions".[6]

The government of Uzbekistan, since the fall of the Soviet Union, has attempted to deny existence of clan politics.[7]


The Samarkand clan came to power in Uzbekistan in 1983 after it replaced the Ferghana Clan.[8]

Ismoil Jurabekov, the head of the Samarkand clan, is known as "the Gray Cardinal" because of his role in bringing Islam Karimov to power.[1] However, by 1993, Karimov began to restrict the power of the Samarkand clan. Karimov's patronage of the Samarkand clan had been causing discontent among the other clans, and he wished to stop this resentment to prevent revolt.[9]

In the following years, he continued to weaken the power of all clans in the country. Jurabekov became an adviser to Karimov, but was ousted in 2004 after criminal allegations were made against him, in a move thought to strengthen the rival Tashkent clan. Jurabekov had previously been one of the most powerful men in the country.[10]

Interior Minister Zokir Almatov, from the Samarkand clan, also resigned in late 2005, citing poor health.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Collins, p. 255
  2. ^ Blagov, Sergei. Uzbek strongman under Russian attack. Asia Times. 13 March 2003. Accessed 24 June 2009.
  3. ^ Sengupta, p. 286
  4. ^ a b Uzbekistan: Karimov Appears To Have Political Clans Firmly In Hand . RFE/RL. 31 August 2006. Accessed 24 June 2009.
  5. ^ Collins, p. 254
  6. ^ Roy, p. 13
  7. ^ Sengupta, p. 285
  8. ^ Roy, p. 128
  9. ^ Collins, p. 263
  10. ^ Kimmage, Daniel (23 February 2005). "Uzbek Eminence Falls from Grace". Central Asia Report. RFE / RL. 5 (7). Retrieved 24 June 2009.