What do you get when you put together a U.S. diplomat, a septuagenarian Central Asian dictator, and a giant public celebration of the New Year?
The answer, at least in the eyes of state broadcasters in Uzbekistan, is great television. (Watch the video above.)
Uzbek state television was on hand to capture video footage of President Karimov — who turned 74 in January — rising from his chair in the viewing stand to clap his hands, raise his arms and cut a rug.
His rule as Uzbekistan’s strongman president turns 22 years old on March 24. Upholding his reputation as a wily operator, Karimov rang in the New Year by announcing that a presidential election scheduled for December 2014 would be delayed until the middle of 2015.