Authoritarian Approval Plans
From Josef Stalin to Saddam Hussein, dictators turned aspiring authors have long given the phrase "captive audience" a whole new meaning. Sadly, the practice of authoritarian rulers foisting their barely readable books on a defenseless populace continues to this day, as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports from Uzbekistan:
As graduation-exam season approaches in Uzbek universities, books authored by President Islam Karimov are in high demand in libraries and bookstores. That's because Uzbek graduates are required to past tests on the president's books before receiving their diplomas.
A Tashkent librarian, who did not want to give his name, tells RFE/RL's Uzbek Service that at this time of the year, Karimov's books -- including their new CD versions -- are popular with Uzbek students.
"We have electronic versions of the books in 11 volumes," he says. "Mostly students use them. Older customers who ask for those books are usually people who want to do research for their work."
"Less than 6 million copies of Lenin's works were published in Uzbekistan. We have 31 million copies of [Karimov's] books."
Uzbek high-school graduates who want to attend university also have to pass exams about President Karimov's books.
Karimov, who has ruled Uzbekistan since 1989, has authored dozens of books on Uzbekistan's domestic and foreign policies, history, economy, and culture.
In one of his books, "The Uzbek People Will Never Depend On Anyone," Karimov gives his own detailed account of the bloody Andijon events in May 2005.
As is usually the case, Karimov's literary megalomania is just a symptom of the despotic nature of his rule. More objective accounts of the Andijon massacre reveal the true face of his regime.