From the Document: "Following years of economic and foreign policy isolationism, Uzbekistan's government is currently engaged in a wide-ranging reform effort that is transforming regional dynamics in Central Asia and creating new opportunities for U.S. engagement across a range of sectors. From 1991 to 2016, Uzbekistan was led by President Islam Karimov, a former high-level Soviet official. International observers considered his rule authoritarian and highly repressive. Karimov's economic policies emphasized self-sufficiency, and his government pursued a largely isolationist foreign policy. Following Karimov's September 2016 death, he was succeeded as president by then-Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Mirziyoyev had a long career as a government official under Karimov and was widely expected to continue his predecessor's policies. Yet he embarked on an ambitious reform program that aims to transform Uzbekistan by modernizing and liberalizing the economy, streamlining the bureaucracy, easing political repression, addressing human rights concerns, reengaging with the international community, and attracting increased foreign investment. Uzbekistan was once considered one of the world's most isolated and repressive countries, but U.S. officials and other international observers have noted significant improvement since reforms began. Nevertheless, some concerns persist, particularly with regard to human rights and political freedoms."
CRS In Focus, IF11408
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/