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8. Islam Abdug‘aniyevich Karimov

Country: Uzbekistan
In power since: 1990
Population: 28.2 million

1992 GDP per capita: $1,286*
2010 GDP per capita: $3,022
GDP per capita change since 1992: +135%

Human Development Index 2010
Rank: 102nd
Score: 0.617

Transparency International CPI 2010
Rank: 172nd
Score: 1.6

Islam Karimov was originally the First Secretary in Uzbekistan of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, becoming the President of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic in 1990.

After declaring Uzbekistan's independence in August 1991, he won the country's first presidential election in December 1991, becoming the Republic of Uzbekistan's first president.

While Uzbekistan is officially a democracy, the elections processes fall short of standards set by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Non-government agencies such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International describe Uzbekistan as an "authoritarian state with limited civil rights" while expressing concern about "wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights."

*Pre-1992 data unavailable

Photo: Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images