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Uzbek President Changes Name Of Feared Security Service

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev (file photo)
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev (file photo)

President Shavkat Mirziyoev has changed the name of Uzbekistan's national security service, a move seen as another step aimed at shaking up the long-feared main successor of the KGB in the Central Asian country.

Mirziyoev signed a decree on March 14 changing the name from the National Security Service, or Milliy Xavfsizlik Xizmati (MXX), to the State Security Service, or Davlat Xavfsizlik Xizmati (DXX), Uzbek media reported.

The decree said the security service's duties include "protecting human rights and freedoms of Uzbek citizens, providing national security, [and] protecting Uzbekistan's national interests inside and outside the country."

It is also charged with fighting "organized crime, corruption, and terrorism" and supervising the border guard service in Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan.

Mirziyoev, a longtime former prime minister, has been shaking up government structures -- in particular the powerful security service and Interior Ministry -- since he succeeded long-ruling President Islamov Karimov after his death in 2016.

Mirziyoev has publicly criticized the security service, comparing its practices with those of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's NKVD during the Great Terror in 1937-38.

In late January, Mirziyoev dismissed General Rustam Inoyatov, who led the security service for almost 23 years.

Several high ranking security officials have been arrested or dismissed since then.