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Rahmatillo Zoyirov: Tajikistan is on its way to confrontation

Rahmatillo Zoyirov. Photo: catoday.org

Adoption of a new constitution that paves the way for immortal rule of current Tajikistan’s president Emomali Rahmon has marked a new stage in the development of this Central Asian country. Most analysts forecast hard times for Tajikistan. Truly speaking, these times are already here. Economic problems are not settled within years: local resources are not enough; foreign investors are hesitant to stretch out a helping hand. The economic crisis in Russia and Kazakhstan has made Tajik migrant workers “think of the homeland,” where they will be still without work and money, but at least at home. Legalized opposition represented by the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRP) is completely destroyed and the possibility has drastically increased that radical opposition will be formed, while youth will become more involved in radical religious groups. Besides, the country is facing threats from neighbors and has no clear foreign policy. What is going on in Tajikistan, what should we expect? Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan, Doctor of Laws Rahmatillo Zoyirov has answered questions of EADaily’s correspondent.

Tajik economic analysts are concerned with return of labor migrants to the country. Russia reportedly has prepared to deport several dozen thousands of people. They will add to those who have already came back because of the economic crisis. How acute is the social situation in Tajikistan?

The deportation issue has deep social roots for the people of Tajikistan. For the government it has political roots, and for researchers, including economists is a question for study. That is why the issue of soon return of labor migrants to Tajikistan (to be more precise, deliberate rumor of it, which is ideologically mature, absolutely real in terms of politics and organizational process, if the Russian leadership wants it) bothers mostly the people than economists. Especially concerned are families of labor migrants, who will be left without earns for a living, if their relatives are deported from Russia. And they constitute at least half of the population.

The government does not worry about that. To be more precise, they are afraid of an only thing: one of them are afraid of losing their cushy jobs, others their revenues or stability.

Judging by the social nature if the problem, the deportation of labor migrants from the Russian Federation (dozen thousands of them) in the current situation which is unacceptable for a democratic and socially oriented country will pose not only social threat, but can become a trigger of a social explosion with unpredictable criminal outcomes.

When analyzing the true situation of migrants in the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, it is worth mentioning that in Russia their position in Moscow, St. Petersburg and so on is much worse than in Russian provinces. First of all, it is related to their treatment. So, in large cities migrants are more inclined to leave than in provinces. In Kazakhstan, the situation with labor migrants is more positive than in Russia.

After the IRP was practically liquidated, many young people were left without an “ideologist.” Under some assessments, they are joining the ranks of extremist groups. At the same time, Tajik authorities are talking much about the terror threat, strengthening the border with Afghanistan being afraid that the military action will sweep to the country’s territory. Are these concerned justified? Is there a driver for further crackdown?

I am sure that it is impossible to win over a different ideology by closing down the IRP or other organizations or by using oppressive methods. No doubt, for some time, an ideology may become discreet and latent. The matter is not that the youth may be joining terror groups, but that society in Tajikistan is still divided into opposition parts, it is really dangerous.

The fact that the Tajik government has been loudly speaking of the extremism threat, strengthen the border with Afghanistan is a local reverberation of the framework ideological struggle and prove of weakness and sometimes lack of a sensible policy. This is always a reason for further crackdown.

Truly speaking, amendments to the Tajik constitution were made for this. President Emomali Rahmon promoting his children for top posts and deliberately pushing aside his companions. What can be the outcomes?

The amendments to the Tajik constitution means the unreasonable ideological approach is dominating over the law, which cannot but cause irritation among the people. It has already caused, however, the discontent was discreet. It will grow till President Emomali Rahmon will be promoting his children for top posts and ignoring the democratic principles of governance. All this in a situation of a social explosion that is inevitable if things keep going the same way will result in a harsh social confrontation based on protest against the way of governance.

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