Keeping Up With the Karimovs

I have a new article about Gulnara Karimova, the 40-year-old daughter of the dictator of Uzbekistan. Gulnara is a businesswoman known for her ties to organized crime and usurping of Uzbek enterprise, but she also likes to record breathy dance pop music under the alias Googoosha. I examine this vital foreign policy issue for Registan:

When YouTube gives you  Kim Kardashistan, it is hard to turn away. But the emergence of Googosha raises a number of strange questions. Why is a middle-aged, Harvard-educated woman, one of the richest women in the world, courting the approval of Americans – not only Americans, but ridiculous, Snooki-esque Americans, like the ones dancing to “Round Run (DUB Mix)” in Tampa? Why is Billboard magazine, that pre-iTunes icon of relevance, so meaningful to Gulnora that she risked humiliating herself by first claiming to be on the cover (an advertisement) and then proclaiming to have earned a place on the charts (a lie)? When you rule the court of political propaganda, why crash and burn on the real-world stage?

Five minutes after this was published, Gulnara blocked me on Twitter. Ponder the possible reasons for that in “Why Dictator’s Daughters Still Can’t Have It All“.

Update: The Atlantic has republished this article under the title Kim Kardashistan: A Violent Dictator’s Daughter on a Quest for Pop Stardom.

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