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Tajikistan

Geography

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Map of ​Tajikistan

Tajikistan, by territory’s size, is the smallest country in the Central Asia region, and has no access to the sea. The Republic is a hilly country that is located in a seismically active region. The roads in the Pamir mountains for the majority of the year are impassable due to the avalanches. In the fertile river valleys, where the majority of the country’s population resides, the climate is hot, and summers are comparatively long.
Tajiks are the descendants of Aryans and put emphasis on their historic connection with Persians. Alongside the distinguished Tajikistan SSR writers, Mirzo Tursunzoda and Sadriddin Ayni, the modern Tajikistan considers the ancient geniuses as representatives of their culture, such as Omar Khayyam, Rudaki, Saadi, Ferdowsi and many more.
The modern Tajikistan’s territory has been repeatedly conquered by various nations, the Arabs that invaded the territory in the VIII century converted the local citizens to Islam. Although, despite the historic familiarity with Iran, most of the Tajiks are Sunnites. The majority of the country’s population are Tajiks, as well as Uzbeks. Approximately two thirds of Tajikistan’s population live in the rural regions, nearby river valleys and oasis. The rural population cultivate cotton, cereal crops, vegetables, olives, figs and citrus. Domestic animals are breaded in the pastureland. More and more of the rural population wish to move to a life in the cities or to other countries, in order to work in industrial companies and be able to provide for their family.
In 1929, Tajikistan was included in the Soviet Union. In 1991, Tajikistan became a sovereign and independent country and later joined the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Tajikistan is located in the south east of the Central Asia; the capital is Dushanbe. Tajikistan territory’s east to west extent is 680 km long and north to south – 100 km wide. The whole area is 143 100 km² (in comparison to Latvia, it is twice its size). The time zone is +4 after Greenwich time. The length of the Tajikistan’s border is around 3 650 km. In west and north it shares a border with Uzbekistan (1160 km) and Kirgizstan (870 km); in south it shares a border with Afghanistan (1206 km) and in east – with China (415 km).
Despite the large amount of natural resources (for example, the Big Konimansur –  one of the largest silver deposits in the world), their mining is difficult because 93% of the country’s territory is made of mountains (300 – 7495 me above the sea level, half of the territory is located more than 3000 m above the sea level); furthermore, there is a lack of transport infrastructure. The ridges in the Republic are the highest in Central Asia, for example, mountain ranges of Pamir and Tian Shan. The highest mountain is the Ismoil Somoni Peak – 7 495 m.
The largest rivers are Syr Darya (2212 km), Amu Darya, (1415 km), as well as Panj (921 km), Zeravshan (877 km), Oksu (528 km) and Vakhsh (524 km). The largest lakes are Karakul (with depth between 22 and 236 m), Sarez (depth to 500 m) and Iskanderkul (depth of 75 m). In total, about 1% of the country’s territory is covered by rivers, lakes and other water reservoirs.
Tajikistan has many glaciers, the largest of them are Fedchenko (93.6 km²), Vitkovsky (50.2 km²) and Nalivkin (45.2 km²). Tajikistan’s nature stands out with diversity, sharp contrast and unique nature scenery. Subtropical climate is in the mountain valleys while artic coldness can be found in ridge highlands. The placement of ridges and Tajikistan’s location between the temperate and subtropical climate zones creates diversity in the local climate conditions. The local plant resources, which can be found in either the hot valleys and cold ridges, are dependent from these diverse conditions. The wide valleys, with elevation under 1000 m, stands out with their long and hot summers, with the average temperature in July being +30˚C and maximum temperature – +48˚C. The warm weather lasts about 210-251 days. There is almost no precipitation in July, August and September. The average temperature in January is -2˚C. In the highlands (from 1000 to 2300 m) the climate is more moderate with less hot summers and with colder winters. In those regions, the average temperature in July reaches +9,7˚C, on the Fedchenko glacier it is +3,6˚C; in January the average temperatures are -12,1˚C and -17,1˚C respectively. The fluctuation in the precipitation is very drastic during the year – in the Anzob’s mountain pass, in average 379 mm and in Fedchenko glacier, 1187 mm annually.
A particularly harsh climate is in the east part of the Pamir mountains. The average temperature in July reaches +13,5˚ C, but in January it drops to -17,6˚C. The lowest temperature recorded was in Bulunkul lake -63˚C.

Population

      Picture: angelfire
The location of largest ethnic groups in the country

​At the moment, the number of Tajikistan’s population is approximately 8.7 million (according to data from 2016). Contrary to other CIS countries, where, during the period between 1989 and 1999, the number of population was decreasing, in Tajikistan it continued to grow even despite the large amount of people leaving during the civil war (437 000 people in 11 years). The main factor for the increase in the number of the population is the high natural growth.
Approximately half of Tajikistan’s population (62.7%) are in a working-age (age between 15 and 64), children under 15 are slightly less (33.9%), the number of people aged above 65 is very small (3.4%). The average life expectancy for men is 63 years and for women – 69 years.
At the same time, Tajikistan has the highest number of suicides in the Central Asia region. However, the forensic medical expertise is being performed only in 7% of the incidents as the state institutions do not wish to lose their good image and thus tries to hide the suicide cases. According the Tajikistan’s Military Prosecutor’s office’s data, the number of suicides between soldiers increases as well. Family issues, relations outside regulations and poor preparedness for the service in the Armed forces are named as causes for the suicides between soldiers.
Mass unemployment, which aggravates poverty, should be acknowledged as the most essential threat in the future as it increases crime, suicides and other negative facts. Now, the ratio between employed and unemployed citizens is 1:9. In such situations, citizens are forced to look for ways to survive and to work hard (including in foreign countries) in order to ensure simple existence. But the social and domestic disarray may lead Tajikistan to a dead end. High level of psychological tension exists in the society and many people cannot handle such existence.
In a report published by the World Bank, it is indicated that almost 13% of Tajikistan’s population live below the poverty level. Furthermore, this indicator almost has not changed since 2009. It is recognized in the report that in the period between 2003 and 2015, the poverty level in Tajikistan decreased from 73% to 31%, yet it still is high. According the Bank’s data, the number of the poor citizens reaches 81% in the rural regions, in the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region (eastern part of the country) it is 39%, in Dushanbe and Sughd region (northern part of the country) – 20%. Abduvali Kulov, Head of the Tajikistan Statistics Agency, pointed out that the number of poor citizens decreases by about 1% each year, in 2016, it decreased by 0.7%.
According to the World Bank data, the main source of income for many Tajik families were money transfers from relatives that worked abroad, however, due to the economic crisis in Russia, part of foreign workers from Tajikistan lost their jobs and were forced to return home; due to that fact, the income of households decreased.
During the past two years, the number of Tajikistan citizens, who ask for a political asylum in Poland, has considerably increased. At the moment, approximately 8% (830 people) of political asylum seekers in Poland are Tajikistan citizens. As far as 2014, approximately 105 Tajikistan citizens per year have asked for a political asylum, but their number sharply increased two years ago, when the Tajikistan Islam Renaissance party’s activity was banned in the Republic.
Representatives of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights operating in Warsaw, noted that majority of the Tajikistani political asylum seekers were denied by Poland and many of them have moved to Germany, but very frequently they are rejected in obtaining the refugee status.
Many Tajiks seek asylum in European countries due to the economic and social reasons, not due the persecution. Lately, migration to Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus has become more difficult as the financial crisis has decreased the possibilities of finding a job. In the 2015 report by the European Migration Network in Poland, it is indicated that in 2015, the political refugee status in Poland was granted to 12 211 foreigners, including 539 Tajiks. It is mentioned in the document that, in comparison to 2014, the number of asylum recipients from Tajikistan in 2015 grew five times and it was twice as much as the total number during the past 12 years. It is also indicated in the report that in 2015, Tajikistan citizens mostly searched for asylum in Ukraine and Russia.
During the past two years, the number of Tajikistan citizens that wish to move permanently to Russia, accordingly to the national moving programme, increased by 40%. In 2016, the desire to move to Russia was expressed by approximately 14 000 Tajikistan citizens, in 2015 it was 13 000 and in 2014 – 10 000. In the 2016 moving programme, 1850 families from Tajikistan were included (in 2015, it was 1200 families).
A rather high homogeneity degree of the population is characteristic Tajikistan. According to different sources, it is the second most nationally homogenic country in Central Asia (following Turkmenistan). Tajiks make almost 80% of the population, Uzbeks – 15%, Kyrgyzs – 1% and Russians – 1%. During the last 15 years, the population of Tajikistan has considerably changed, the number of Russians and Uzbeks has decreased.
The country’s official religion is Islam and the majority of Tajikistan’s citizens are Muslim (Sunnites). There are 3000 mosques in the country and 18 official Muslim religion’s educational establishments. In Gorno-Badakhshan (in the eastern part of the Republic) is a small Ismaili community (a branch of Shiism).

Image: worldnomads
Population of Tajikistan

There are 85 other faith societies registered in the Republic. Mostly they are Christians (majority of them being Orthodox), two Roman Catholic and Lutheran parishes, five Baptist, Seven-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses community, as well as four Baha’is, one Zoroastrian and one Jewish community. Majority of non-Muslim community representatives live in Dushanbe.
Citizens of Tajikistan are rather tolerant in accepting other ethnic groups. In summer of 2009, a new synagogue and Hebrew centre were opened, the latter was located in a building, which was given by Hasan Asadullzoda (he is Emomali Rahmon’s brother-in-law), chairman of the Republic’s largest bank OrienBank, to the Dushanbe Hebrew community with 150 members. The new synagogue was opened in the same location, where the old was demolished in 2008.
In the beginning of 2014, all mosques in Dushanbe (in total 416) were equipped with surveillance in order to control the worshippers during prayer, including, to prevent unknown people from advocating untraditional Islam and observe how the President’s order is being implemented. The aforementioned order forbids under age citizens visit mosques (according to Tajikistan’s law, persons under 18 are forbidden to visit mosques, although the canon of Islam foresee to implement prayers since the age of 12). At the same time, approximately 300 Friday and central mosque imams (in total they are 3000) started to receive salaries and benefits from the state budget. The respective order was justified by the President saying that:” The imams need to receive an official salary, so they would not be dependent from the 100 dollars they receive or try to receive from abroad. The 100 dollars givers will also ask for 100 favours”. The imam salaries are different; the head of the Ulem Council salary is 2000 TJS (300 EUR), city and district mosque imams – 1500 TJS (230 EUR), other imams – 800 TJS (120 EUR).

Administrative Division

Photo: lahistoriaconmapas
Territory’s administrative division

Tajikistan consists of two regions – Sughd (capital – Khujand) and Khatlon (capital – Qurghonteppa); one autonomous region – Gorno-Badakhshan (capital – Khorugh); as well as 13 districts in the central part of the country that are governed from Dushanbe.

Number in the phot, name of the region

Administrative centre

Number of districts

Area, km²

Number of population

Population density per km²

  1. Sughd

Khujand

14

26 100

2 508 500

87.1

  1. Region under the control of the Republic

Dushanbe

13

28 600

1 971 600

(Dushanbe 802 200)

53.5

  1. Khatlon

Qurghonteppa   

21

24 600

3 048 200

90.5

  1. Gorno-Badakhshan’s autonomous region

Khorugh

7

62 200

216 900

3.4

Economic Structure

Tajikistan is an agrarian industrial country and, despite the rather good economic potential, is one of the world’s poorest countries. The long civil war (1992 – 1997) and the industrial damages connected to it, led to a rapid economic downfall. Even though, starting from 1997, improvement in Tajikistan economic situation can be seen, almost 80% of the population still live in poverty.
The country has a high level of unemployment, especially in the east, thus almost half of Tajikistan’s working-age citizens become foreign workers, mainly in Russia and Kazakhstan, and providing to their families back home with money transfers. Tajikistan’ economic activity has considerably suffered from the negative economic situation in Russia, which developed due to the low oil prices and implemented sanctions against Tajikistan. The lack of jobs in Russia, promoted Tajikistan foreign workers to return home, the amount of money transfers has decreased. According the World Bank data, the level of unemployment in the Republic is between 21% and 32% (the Republic does not publish official data), that is the highest indicator between CIS member states. The UN experts note that all social services in Tajikistan are close to failure and almost 60% of the necessary medicine are supplied by humanitarian organizations. They also indicate that despite the large water resources in the country, access to clean drinking water is only to one third of the population. Tajikistan authorities do not reveal the actual economic situation, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade foresees an economic growth between 6.5% and 7%. But international experts show doubt about the possibility to considerably improve the Republic’s economy in the following decade. They indicate that the investment flow is very small as entrepreneurs are afraid to invest assets due to the unstable social political situation in the country. In the 2016 World Bank’s ranking Doing Business, Tajikistan is placed 143rd from 189 countries. Observers also note that there are increasing social explosion threats in the Republic as the level of unemployment constantly grows and more and more Tajikistan’s foreign workers return home from abroad. Although, few years ago there were considerable improvements in Tajikistan’s economy, now the situation is considered as complicated – there is lack of food resources and the inimical weather conditions (drought) negatively influenced cotton cultivation in the last three years, which is one of the most important export goods (60% of the country’s agricultural industry) and ensures means of subsistence for 75% of rural population.
Various international organizations (including UN, International Monetary Fund and World Bank) and other countries (China, Russia, USA) are helping Tajikistan to overcome the difficult economic situation by giving credits for infrastructure development, combat drug traffic from Afghanistan, border security and strengthen legal procedures.
Tajikistan’s strategic natural reserves are hydro energy resources and natural resources, but access to them is complicated by having the location in a hilly terrain and the lack of transport infrastructure.
Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Nematullo Hikmatullozoda, admitted that the Republic’s economy has become dependent from external factors, which were promoted by money transfers from Tajikistan’s foreign workers from abroad and the state’s capital investments that became the main sources for economic growth. 

Image: stanradar
External debt of Tajikistan

The country has a large external debt – more than 2 billion USD, which make 36% of the GDP. The Republic’s debt to Russia (300 million USD) was almost completely written off.
Hydropower is one of the main economic fields, which has a considerable potential in Tajikistan. Nevertheless, Tajikistan still has problems with electricity. 50% of all Central Asia’s glaciers are located in Tajikistan³. Approximately 80% of Central Asia’s water resources are located in Tajikistan and Kirgizstan territories, but water is being used in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. If the potential of Tajikistan’s river flow was calculated in kilowatt hours, then it would reach 435 billion kilowatt hours per year. Furthermore, in these calculations, not all of the river potentials are added. It is attempted to calculate the potential of Tajikistan’s water resources in conventional oil units that reach approximately 150 million tons per year. If one third of this oil would be used in Tajikistan, it would be more than enough to ensure the economic growth in the country. Even though, the country has considerable energy sources, Tajikistan suffers from shortage of energy (up to 600 million kilowatt hours per year), it especially can be seen in the winter period. This shortage must be completed by buying energy from neighbouring countries – Kirgizstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In 2008, Tajikistan both exported (one billion kilowatt hours) and imported (three kilowatt hours) energy. If the energy resources would be fully used, then Tajikistan could become the largest energy exporting country in the region.
The energy issue in the country could be solved, if the Sangtuda Hydroelectric Power Plant (built in 1989) would start operating and that would allow to eliminate the shortage of energy in the country, as well as begin its export. The construction work is being delayed by the lack of finances, as well as Uzbekistan’s negative stance in relation to the building of the large hydroelectric power plant in the neighbouring country.
The main industrial object in the country is the unitary company Talco (Tajikistan aluminium plant) in Tursunzoda (in the south-west part of the republic), which was built during the Soviet Union period. Talco production was mainly exported to the Netherlands and Turkey and makes approximately half of the joint state export. In collaboration with China, synthesis gas was adopted in the factory (in order to decrease the dependence from Uzbekistan’s natural gas supplies) – two synthesis gas installations ensure up to 70% of the necessary gas for the ignition shop (they consume majority of the supplied natural gas). The launch of the first installation began in April 2012, when Uzbekistan stopped supplying Tajikistan with natural gas (almost 150 Republic’s industrial companies began to use coal instead of gas; the export of coal was forbidden). Aluminium factory consumes 45 to 50 million m³ per year; that is one fourth of the natural gas imported by Uzbekistan.
In 2018, Talco will begin the modernization of the sector and will introduce new technology. According to Igor Satarov, Head of Talco’s Information Department, in the territory of the existing aluminium factory, a new company will be build, and it is necessary as now Talco uses large means to repair the used and old equipment. “Modernization will allow to replace the equipment to energy efficient one and thus increase the production of aluminium. By analysing aluminium production newest technology market in detail, a decision was made to choose China’s technology, which is very efficient” said I.Satarov. In August 2016, a collaboration memorandum was signed between Talco and Chinese company Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group, which determines the construction of the new aluminium factory in Tajikistan. It will ensure 1100 new work places and its capacity will be 502 000 tons of aluminium per year. The construction work lasted approximately 18 months, and the total expenses were about 1.6 billion USD.
Large significance in the state economy is also to the mining industry as gold is mined in Tajikistan. Also, coal mining has an important role in the state economy. Textile industry is also one that is important for the economy, a significant part of the the state economy is food, engineering, chemical and building material industries. In small amounts, also oil and natural gas is mined in Tajikistan.
Arable land makes 7% of the state’s territory. Thanks to irrigation systems, 70% of the land, suitable for agriculture, is being cultivated. The leading sector of the national economy, is cotton cultivation (more than 33% of the cultivated land) and cereal cultivation. Up to 90% of the cotton is being exported. Also, tobacco, rice, peas, beans, as well as corn is being cultivated. Live-stock breeding is considered as an important auxiliary sector to the agriculture.
Telephone communication system was developed poorly – approximately 340 000 fixed telephone lines, the number of mobile telephone users sharply growing. The country has 16 radio stations (given licences, but in reality, operate approximately 10) and 24 television stations (given licences, but in reality, operate approximately 15).
Although, Tajikistan receives means from various international finance organizations, including International Monetary Fund and World Bank, it is not sufficient to ensure economic functioning in the necessary level. In the International Crisis Group (ICG) report, it is stated that the situation in Central Asia, including Tajikistan, is slightly better than in Pakistan, where the region’s state economy is in a bad condition, majority of population live in poverty, which creates considerable fights for power, as well as threats of the state infrastructure’s collapse and the strengthening of the Islam extremist position. In the ICG report, a possibility is conceded that Tajikistan could go bankrupt and there could be rebellion in the country. The authors of the document remind that foreign donors, including USA and EU, offer Tajikistan an outstanding financial support, but majority of these means end up in the hands of corrupt officials.
In order to promote the development of the region, modernization project for the Sughd district (northern part of the country) is drafted. The district infrastructure’s modernization and development plan foresee the expansion of free economic zones, the construction of railway and new cities.
The governance of Sughd district is trying to position the region as the country’s northern trade gate, but the implementation of the big infrastructure projects demands great investments that are planned to be received from Asian Development Bank, Islam Bank, Chinese and Russian trade organizations. It is essential to note that Russia is not only an important market for the products, produced in the Sughd district, but also a hedger for the investments and provider of industrial products that are necessary for the district. Thus, it is anticipated that the successful modernization on the Sughd district not only will not decrease Russia’s economic presence in the region, but will also strengthen it.
Sughd district is an important centre for the interregional collaboration and innovative agriculture, and will attract investments by expanding the free economic zones (now, the district has four free economic zones, where are operating not only Tajikistan’s companies, but also Russia, Turkey and China’s companies).
In the Sughd district, the development of four new cities is taking place – the necessary infrastructure is being constructed: roads, water supply and electro transmission lines. It is foreseen that approximately 250 000 – 300 000 people will live in the new cities and it will decrease the rural population’s migration to the big cities, as well as will prevent them from overpopulation.
The decision about the development of the new cities was made in 2009, but the construction work started only five years later. Saihun will be the largest of the new cities and its territory is planned to be approximately 3900 hectares. University, theatre, banks, hotels, 24 high schools, as well as other building will be built in the city. It is foreseen that the majority of the population will reside in the 700 apartment buildings, but more than 7500 people have already been given lands for the construction of their private houses. Most likely the development of the new cities will take between 15 and 25 years, it depends from the speed of the construction work and the possibilities of ensuring work places for the citizens. Even though, the new cities will be located in the valley areas (construction works in mountain terrain are more difficult and expensive), the construction work may be delayed by the shortage of experts.
 

Persons
Photo: milieumag
Emomali Rahmon

President Emomali Rahmon was born in 5 October 1952, in Danghara village (Kulob district). Between 1971 and 1974, he served in the Soviet Union’s Pacific Fleet; from 1974, was an electrician in the Qurghonteppa’s factory, after that he was the chairman of the labour union committee, secretary of the party committee. In 1982, he graduated the Tajik State National University, Economy faculty, obtaining a specialist’s degree in Economics. In the period between 1988 and 1992, E.Rahmon was the director of the V. N. Lenin’s Soviet Union’s Economy in the Danghara district; in 1990, he became the parliamentarian of Tajikistan SSR Supreme Council and un 1992 – its chairman. From 1998, he was the chairman of the People Democratic party, and from 1997, chairman of the Movement for National Unity and Revival in Tajikistan, as well as the chairman for Tajik and Persian language speaker people forum. From February 2009, he is the President of Tajikistan’s Olympic Committee.
E.Rahmon has nine children (seven daughters and two sons). The eldest daughter, Firuza, is an entrepreneur and is married to Amonullo Hukumatullo, son of the Head of Tajik Railway Company. His eldest son, Rustam Emomali (the mayor of Dushanbe) is more known to the public. As well as his daughters Ozoda (she is the Head of the Presidential Administration and is married to Jamoliddin Nuraliyev, Deputy to the Head of the National Bank) and Rukhshona, from November 2016, became Deputy Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Organization Department. Previously, she worked in the Embassy of Tajikistan in Great Britain. In May 2017, her book Fundamentals of Diplomatic Service was presented. Husbands of all Rahmon’s daughters have been appointed in various positions in the government, economic and finance sectors.
Tahmina is also an entrepreneur, but Ozoda is married to a diplomat (Jamoliddin Nuraliyev is Deputy Minister of Finance) and is Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Rahmon’s wife, Azizmo, manages company that sells gold products (supposedly, they are being delivered from Arab countries with reduced custom duty).

Photo: milieumag
Rustam Emomali

According to unofficial information, E.Rahmon consumes a great deal of alcoholic beverages, also during work hours. He organises large feasts during Republic’s region visits, and in 9 September 2011, during Independence Day celebration, he made all the guests dance to the Indian music and kiss his right hand as he has envisioned himself as the almighty eastern ruler. In order to show generosity and to strengthen his image, Rahmon periodically organises compassion events, meaning, law enforcement structures, in the charity events organized by the President, attract entrepreneurs and criminal authorities, who donate to orphanages, needy families, etc. Rahmon has had many long-lasting affairs with various women, including, with Munira Rahimova, broadcaster for national television, which lasted for 4 years, singers Nigina Amonkulova and Manizha Davlatova, Minister of Emergency Situations, Mirzo Ziyoev (he was declared a terrorist and killed in 2009), also had an affair with the latter. The President also had romantic relationship with the daughter of the Minister of Defence, Diana Khayrulloyev. He ensured that her father, Sherali, kept the position of Minister of Defence after the events that took place in the Rasht valley, where 19 soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack.
According to observer data, 70% of Tajikistan’s export operations with Russia and other countries are controlled by President’s relatives. Orienbank’s (it is managed by President’s brother-in-law, Hasan Asadullozoda) mission is located in Moscow, as well as several real estate objects that belong to the President’s family.
Hasan Asadullozoda (Hasan Saduloyev) is one of Azizmo’s (wife of the President) brothers. Asadullozoda is considered as the money manager for the President’s family. After the declaration of Independence, he became the Head of the Product and Raw Material Exchange. The husband of Rahmon’s daughter, Zoir Hukumov, also worked in the organization. Asadullozoda and Hukumov managed to become prominent entrepreneurs in the country by monopolising cotton sale, meaning, all private companies had to gain permission from the Product and Raw Material Exchange in order to export cotton.
In the beginning of the century, Asadullozoda illegally obtained the largest bank in the country, Orienbank, and at the same time, Asadullozoda’s family created a finance industrial group Ismoli Somoni – XXI century in Qurghonteppa that is managed by Asadullozoda’s brother and that bought largest assets of Khatlon’s district, mainly cotton and butter processing, as well as other large industrial objects.
In the period of 10 years, Ismoli Somoni – XXI century and Orienbank gained control over approximately one third of the state’s economy (more than 100 companies), by creating branches in regions, including, Somon-Sugd (which unites the largest companies in the district), Orien-Media (radio stations and the only daily newspaper in the country), Orien-Insurance, Orien-Trans, Orien-Ark, Orien-International, etc. As the main President’s assets, that are under Asadullozoda’s control, are considered the aluminum factory Talco (it is managed by Sherali Kabirov), state energy company Barki tocik, the first private airline Somon Air.
In the beginning of 2017, one of the seven President’s daughters, Zarina Rahmon, was appointed as the Deputy Head of OrienBank. In 2013, she married Ramz Zuhurov (he is the eldest son to Begga Sabura, the Head of Communications Office).
 

Home Policy

Historically, in the organization of the Tajik society existed division in communities (clans); the mutual fights between regional elite was and still is important factor in the country’s home policy. The republic has several ethnically and culturally different regions, their peculiarities are defined by the nature’s or geographical conditions, social structures and the level of economic development. Such regions are Sughd district (northern part of the country), Hisor and Gharm regions (central part of the country), Kulob and Qurghonteppa regions (southern part of the country), as well as Gorno-Badakhshan’s autonomous region (eastern part of the country). The most developed regions are located in the republic’s northern and central parts, where the majority of republic’s industrial companies are located. The economic base of the southern region consists of agriculture, the less developed mountain regions are located in the east.
During the Soviet Union period, the Republic’s governance consisted of northern region representatives, but in 1992, for the first time in history, southern (Kulob) representative, Emomali Rahmon (back then Rahmonov) was appointed as the parliament’s chairman. One of the battle aspects during the civil war was resistance between eastern regions and southern, central and northern region bloc. In 1997, after the Peace Treaty was signed, Rahmon eliminated the potential opponents and concentrated the power in his own hands.  

Photo: islamsng
Muhiddin Kabiri

Now, the opposition (the former field commanders or democrats) is being oppressed, it is confirmed by the fact than in Autumn 2015, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan was declared as a terroristic organization and its activity was banned (the part was the only officially registered religious party in Central Asia, that, until Spring of 2015, was represented in the Parliament).
In July 2015, Tajikistan’s Prosecutor General Office announced that, during the last five years, 45 members of the party have committed various crimes and rulings of the court have been made about 34 of them. According to the Prosecutor General Office data, the party’s leader from 2006, Muhiddin Kabiri, has illegally privatized the hospital building, which was under construction, and land in Dushanbe, as well as sold it to a third party. In the Prosecutor General Office’s report, it is mentioned that members leaving the party practically confirms that it has lost the political party status.
Kabiri (since March 2015, resides in Turkey) announced that, despite the pressure, the party will organize its meetings in order to discuss the implementation of preventive events between members of the party, especially the youth, to prevent them joining terrorist and extremist groupings.
Dodojon Atovulloyev supported the democratic opposition until the beginning of the people resistance in Tajikistan; in 1991, he founded the first independent newspaper Carogi ruz (Daylight), in 1992, the newspaper was stopped after Emomali Rahmon, the representative of the Popular Front, came into power; Atovulloyev emigrated to Kazakhstan, later to Russia, where collaborated with Novaja gazeta and the radio station Freedom.

Photo: lenta
Dodojon Atovulloyev

In Tajikistan, against Atovulloyev are instituted several criminal cases for the attempt to overthrow the constitutional system as well as the infringement of the President’s honour and dignity. Atovulloyev has a political refugee status in Germany, where had been given a special passport – document for travel that, according to the UN convention, forbids to extradite the journalist to any country.
Since 2007, Atovulloyev is the leader of the movement Vatandor (Patriot), which in not registered in Tajikistan. Its goal is to unite the opponents of the current power in order to overthrow the President, Emomali Rahmon, in the most peaceful way possible and succeed in making Tajikistan a free, secular, fair and democratic country. In 2012, in Moscow, Atovulloyev was attacked and was caused serious bodily injuries. For two weeks he was in intensive care in a Moscow hospital, but later travelled to Germany to undergo treatment.
Atovulloyev states that in the majority of Tajikistan’s cities and districts are Vatandor headquarters, which are autonomous and working with people by explaining them the stance of the movement. These headquarters make the base level, but in the medium level are people, who have authority in either the region or in a separate population group. These people (entrepreneurs, clergymen, teachers) maintain contact with one another and manage the headquarters. Whereas, in the first level or elite, are former ministers, parliamentarians, generals and successful entrepreneurs, as well as several current parliamentarians and representatives of special services. According to the Atovulloyev, many supporters of the movement are in prisons, live in exile or are most wanted.
In 2012, Izzat Amon, the Head of the Youth Party’s Foundation Committee, said that documents are prepared in order to register the party and its goal is to become the bound between the country’s youth and representatives of power; the foundation of the party was supported by many youths that live in Tajikistan or outside it. Up to Autumn of 2011, Amon lived in Moscow and still is the chairman for the Tajikistan’s Youth Union in Russia; in Tajikistan, the scheduled party was not founded.
Even before this, in 2010, it was announced about a foundation of Democratic Forces movement. Then, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, Rahmatullo Zoirov, informed that a Democratic Forces Movement is being formed in the Republic, and initiative group (of 7 people) is already elected that will prepare the foundation assembly. It was foreseen that in the movement’s governance will be between 4 to 5 people that will represent all of Tajikistan’s regions, but the foundation assembly was not called. Zoirov is known as a harsh critic of President Emomali Rahmon by pointing out on his unconstitutional place in powers, as well as the family and clan methods in the state administration.
Now, the Tajikistan’s opposition is not united, its leaders and principal members mainly resides abroad and thus it cannot use the dissatisfaction of the Republic’s population and the potential readiness to support the changes in the country. Furthermore, the President has enough support from power and other structures that will allow him to maintain his position. The President has a lot of relatives and people close to him that are interested in keeping or increasing their revenue and influence, and friction grows between them.
Two assassination attempts were made on Rahmon. The first took place in 1997, in Khujand, when an individual threw a grenade in the President’s cortege; the second happened in 2001, when a terrorist detonated a bomb by the stand, where the President was located. In both attempts he was not injured.
In 1998, one of the former leaders of the Popular front, Mahmud Khudayberdiev, organized an uprising in Qurghonteppa, but the rioters were pushed to the north, where they were defeated. Some of them were hiding in Uzbekistan. After the suppression of these uprisings, Rahmon started to get rid of the former supporters and influential members of the opposition. In 2003, the former Head of the Tajikistan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Jakub Salimov, was detained in Moscow, then extradited to Tajikistan, where he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2004, the Head of Democratic Party, Mahmadruzi Iskandarov, was detained in Moscow and also extradited to Dushanbe, where he was later sentenced to 23 years in prison. In 2003, the former Minister of Trade, Habibullo Nasrullayev, was also detained in Moscow, who is accused by Tajikistan in cooperation with illegal armed formations the goal of which are to overthrow the government of the Republic. Nasrullayev actively participated in the activity of the Popular Front, but in the 1994 Presidential election, did not support Rahmon. Nasrullayev has not been extradited to Tajikistan.
The social situation in the country is unstable – low living standards (unemployment, social vulnerability, population’s mass departure to abroad in order to find jobs), money extortion from citizens take place for the construction of the Rogun’s hydroelectric power plant, but the forced secularisation policy is promoting the strengthening of the Islam opposition.
The resistance from the former United Tajikistan’s opposition field commanders and power continued since the end of the civil war – regularly, the members of opposition are pursued, despite the immunity, promised in the Presidential level.
Even though, in many international reports, Tajikistan is considered as an authoritarian country, where exists corruption and violations against human rights, representatives of the local institutions disagree with it. Tajikistan’s Ombudsman, Zarif Alizoda (appointed in the position in the end of May 2009), said that the situation concerning human rights in Tajikistan improves every year, people show bigger initiative that was promoted by the 2009 programme for improving the level of population’s legal education. He noted that the Republic has a different level of development that affects the situation regarding human rights – the country has issues concerning the protection of children and women rights, as well as compliance of labour relations laws. As one of the main issues, he named the compliance of Tajik foreign worker, who work abroad, rights. In the Ombudsman office, work approximately 20 people in the framework of it, an expert council was founded, which has representatives of the civil society. The office’s financing is ensured from budget means and international organizations.
In the annual notifications to the Parliament, Rahmon regularly turns the attention towards the home policy situation in the country and points out that the economic development is defined by the strategic goals – guarantee of food and energy security, as well as the development of communications and transport infrastructure.
Due to the long-lasting adverse social conditions, more and more Tajiks decide to go abroad, where they join various terrorist organizations. In order to fight against the radicalization of the society, various events are implemented in Tajikistan, including, set several restrictions for the Muslim appearance. In 2009, length limit was defined for beards for men, who works as teachers – three-centimetre-long beards are allowed to teachers, aged 50 and up. In 2015, a campaign was started against long beard owners – thousands of men were detained, and they were explained the requests for appearances and threatened with a fine in case if they refuse to shave off their beards. It is reported that in the Khatlon district, approximately 13 000 men were forced to shave off their beards. Now, a campaign has started against women in hijabs – a fine of 114 USD is set to those, who wears it.
In the beginning of 2017, several independent mass media were shut down. The director of Tajikistan’s Strategic Studies Centre, Hudoberdi Holiknazar, explained the decision with an opinion that the journalists in the Republic are given enough freedom of the speech, but the closure of few mass media is connected to the economic issues. Holiknazar explained that during the last 10-15 years, numerous mass media did not bear the competition that is characteristic to the market economy. “The closure of these newspapers is due to the bankruptcy, not the issue regarding freedom of speech. In many Central Asia’s countries there is not such freedom of speech than the one given to the Tajikistani journalists” said Holiknazar, inviting the journalists to prepare their materials more accurately and pointing out that the Democratic games during the unsettled conditions may destabilize the situation in the country. “The diversity of the forced opinion from the World’s power in the Middle East led to unfortunate consequences. We have a bad experience from the civil war and we need to protect peace and uniformity at any cost, not divide the society” Holiknazar pointed out. Whereas his Deputy, Saifulo Safarov, added that the unstable freedom of speech in the society can do harm for the country. “In the developed countries, it is better, when there is more freedom of speech. There is it the factor for stability, peace and citizen activity. Whereas in the countries, who are in the transitional period, a high level of freedom of speech is harmful” said Safarov.
Four newspapers have been closed in Tajikistan, and more than 10 journalists have left the Republic. In December 2016, media organizations published report in which they indicated that during the last two years, the situation regarding freedom of speech has drastically worsened in the Republic. Reports of international organizations give evidence to that, but authorized structures ignore their conclusions and recommendations. It is reminded in the report that in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index, Tajikistan was placed in the 150th place out of 180 (In 2015, Tajikistan was in 116th place).
 

Foreign Policy

During the first decade of the sovereign Tajikistan, the development of the foreign policy was delayed by complicated home policy situation and during this time a special importance was in the relations with Iran and Russia. Tajikistan has diplomatic relations with majority of countries and the Republic participates in the activities of more than 50 international organizations. The strengthening of sovereignty and territorial uniformity, as well as foundation of conditions for the country’s social and economic growth, overcoming of consequences following the civil war are the main foreign policy goals. The priority in the foreign policy is given to the collaboration with Russia and CIS member states, including, the Central Asia region. An important direction of the foreign policy is the economic and political communication development with India, Iran, China, Pakistan and Turkey.
The West, including, NATO and USA, have a large interest in a cooperation development with Tajikistan. Tajikistan’s power structures participate in the NATO programme Partnership for Peace, as well as are planning to join the programme “Analysis: Planning and Course”.
Tajikistan is the poorest country in the Central Asia, but their water resources are rather large, and they are necessary for the richest countries in the region – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In order to increase the usage of these resources, Tajikistan is planning to build hydroelectric power plants, Uzbekistan is blankly against it, so is Kazakhstan that is worried about the influence on the region’s ecological and economic situation.
One of the planned hydroelectric power plants is the Rogun hydroelectric plant that will be the largest one in Central Asia (six units) and will become one of the main energy suppliers in the region. Its construction began in 1987, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the construction works stopped. In order to ensure means for the construction of this hydroelectric power plant, officials not only tried to attract foreign investors for the project, but also invited (forcefully) the citizens to donate money for the construction of the object. Tajikistan’s officials note that the construction of the hydroelectric plant and the accumulation of water resources in the water-reservoirs will allow to solve the water security in long term for Central Asia, thereby providing the increase of agriculture products and strengthening the food security for the region. The representatives of the international structures and foreign officials do not support Tajikistan’s stance and point out that the construction of such large hydroelectric plant may affect the region’s ecology and thus the construction need to be coordinated with other countries.     
Leaders of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan expressed opinion that there should not be large hydroelectric power plants on the river across borders without the consent of neighbouring countries and without the international investigation performed under UN supervision. Despite the countless meetings and the long-lasting assessment of the question, the issue has not been solved.
Relations with Uzbekistan are complicated not only by the water issue, but also the historical aspects – during the civil war (1992 – 1997), Uzbekistan gave political and military support to the Popular Front. In October 1998, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan signed an agreement that forbids the parties to use their state territory in performing activities against the existing governments. But already in November, uprising happened in Mahmud Khudoiberdiyev’s government, the members of which were outcast from south to the north, and a part of which entered Uzbekistan. Relations worsened in 1999 and 2000, when Uzbekistan accused Tajikistan in letting supporters of Uzbekistan’s Islam Movement to stay in the republic. It is believed that Tajikistan refusing to implement events against Uzbekistan’s Islam Movement fighters partly is a response on the incident that happened with Khudoiberdiyev.

Image: tjk
Valentina Matviyenko and Emomali Rahmon

One of the current Tajikistan’s problems are the elimination of land mines that were left after the civil war and the territory’s demining, including, in the borderland with Uzbekistan. The section of the border has not been delimited and completely demarked, in addition, Tashkent has not signed the Ottawa convention and that is delaying the demining process. In 2004, the demining process started and already 2.5 million m² have been demined, eliminating 12 000 mines and charges. Now, 17 million m² of the state territory has not been demined and dozens of people are injured in mine explosions every year. Since 1992, in the mine explosions, 351 people have died and 443 were injured.
In the first half of the 2017, the amount of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan’s mutual trade exceeded 46 million USD, which is twice as it was in the first six months of 2016. In 2017, Uzbekistan’s entrepreneurs participated in various events in Tajikistan, including the Uzbekistan’s product exhibition that happened in April, where approximately 20 cooperation contracts were signed for 35 million USD in total; in June, in the annual fair Sugd-2017, where 74 cooperation agreements were signed. But in September 2017, a Tajikistan’s product fair is planned in Tashkent.
The complications in the relations with Kirgizstan are created by the unfinished border delimitation, Tajik enclave Voruh and conflicts of Kirgizstan’s citizens in the borderland.
A current issue is the possible extremist entry in the country from Afghanistan; Tajikistan with them has a 1206 km long border. Every year, it is reported that dozen extremists are detained, part of them are members of the Uzbekistan’s Islam Movement, they are suspected in terrorism and the attempt to overthrow the constitutional system. The regular drug smuggling from Afghanistan is also problematic as well as invasions of the smugglers, who frequently kidnap the local citizens and demand payment for the delivered drugs.
Despite the complications, Tajikistan has good relations with Afghanistan – energy, excess of which appears in the summer months, is being exported to the neighbouring country, in Tajikistan’s universities are studying more than 200 students from Afghanistan, approximately 200 Tajik doctors provide medical services for citizens of Afghanistan.
In August 2017, discussion between E.Rahmon, the Head of Afghanistan’s Armed Forces General Headquarters, Muhammad Sharif Jaftali, the Head of Pakistan’s Army Headquarters, Kamar Jovid Bajvu and the Head of Chinese People’s Liberation Army Joint Staff, Li Zuocheng took place in Dushanbe. They discussed questions about security and terrorism control, opportunities to expand cooperation in order to strengthen borders, as well as the situation in Afghanistan. The participants of the discussions pointed out that the four-way cooperation system between Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and Tajikistan will be very important for the strengthening of peace and stability in Afghanistan. Although, all of the discussions took place in one day, there is no information confirming that they were joint consultations. It can be assumed that the meetings were not planned in advance and are connected with the recent announcements of the President of USA, Donald Trump, about USA’s presence in Afghanistan and the expansion of their actions, as well as accusations towards Pakistan for offering safe haven to the terrorist organizations. It is possible that Kabul and Islambad are ready to cooperation in order to decrease the USA and NATO influence in the region, despite the armed collisions (in Afghanistan’s parliamentarian opinion, they were provoked by the USA special services) in the borderland. Observers point out that most likely the discussions were initiated by Tajikistan in order to make them less noticeable in the international arena, as it would be if the consultations would have taken place in Beijing or Islambad, with Russia and Iran also participating that are also interested in decreasing USA and NATO’s presence in the region. It is not possible that Tajikistan welcomed representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan’s and China’s military managements without previously coordinating its activities with Russia that is the country’s ally regarding the Collective Security Agreement Organization. The consultation was prepared in a hurry as is proved by the imprecise information provided to the mass media – it was reported on 26 and 27 August, 2017, President is planning a meeting with Pakistan’s General, Rahil Sharif, and the Head of Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Fan Fenhuey, in Dushanbe. It is also pointed out that the main topics of these discussions would be cooperation in fighting of terrorism and issued about military drills.
Traditionally, relations with Russia have been very good. In 2004, Tajikistan and Russia signed an agreement to allocate the status of a military base to the Russian 201st division and its deployment in the Republic until 2042. In order to write off the debt to Russia, Tajikistan gave Russia the cosmic space surveillance station Okno, and Russia promised to invest means in the development of Tajikistan’s hydroelectric system. It was planned that Russia would build the Sangtuda and Rogun hydroelectric power plants, but the construction of these objects was delayed by the disagreement regarding the height of the dam and Uzbekistan’s negative stance. Republic’s government points out that Russia is a strategic partner, but the citizens remind that some hundreds Tajik foreign workers die in Russia every year (many of them are killed) and also note that now there are approximately 5 500 Tajiks in Russian prisons. Russia has given Tajikistan considerable economic aid, but the trade and economic cooperation between both countries is developing rather slowly. The Russian part in the Tajikistan’s foreign trade structure is constantly decreasing.
Russian officials regularly visit Dushanbe in order to discuss the current cooperation issues in energy, military, military technical and migration fields. Several agreements between countries were confirmed that are connected with distributing the Russian 201st division in the Republic, Tajiks being in Russia and oil product supply to the Republic from Russia without duty taxes.
In March 2014 and October 2016, Russian Parliament Upper House chairperson, Valentina Matviyenko, arrived in Dushanbe in order to discuss the country cooperation questions regarding military, security, economy, trade and humanitarian with Rahmon. She admitted that both countries have certain concern regarding the situation in Afghanistan. According to Matviyenko, Tajikistan requested Russia to send 400 Russian language teachers to the Republic. She noted that there are the necessary conditions created in Tajikistan to learn Russian language and more attention should be paid to the rules for the teacher lives, work and salaries in the Republic. During the visit, Tajikistan was given 2.5 tonnes of text-books and teaching aids to learn Russian language. In the discussion, it was pointed out that Russian language is being taught in all of Tajikistan’s schools, and in 166 schools, it is the language of tuition. Representatives of Tajikistan also noted that Dushanbe is ready to teach the future foreign workers in specialised centres, so they would know Russian language, when arrived in Russia, and they would have some professional skills.
In the 2017-2018 academic year, Tajikistan’s high schools, with Russian being their language of tuition, received 20 tonnes of teaching-aids (approximately 70 000 books). About 30 teachers from Russia have arrived at Tajikistan and they teach not only Russian, but also Chemistry, Biology and Information Science. Tajikistan provides the teachers with living arrangements and the average salary in the Republic (approximately 200 EUR). The suggestion to send Russian teachers to Tajikistan was discussed in May 2016, when leader of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov, visited Dushanbe and met with Rahmon, who showed interest in Russian learning opportunities in Tajikistan. It was reminded by Abdulatipov that Russia supports there being high schools with Russian as the language of tuition in Tajikistan, and it is planned to build 26 schools. Not long after Abdulatipov’s visit, Dagestan’s Ministry of Education and Science released an appeal to the teachers to negotiate a contract for work in Tajikistan (the term of the contract – one year). Biology, Physics, Information Science, Russian, Chemistry and Mathematics teachers with at least five year working experience are wanted for the job positions. The Russian Ministry of Education has taken on themselves to provide additional payment (approximately 870 EUR) and the chance to prolong the contract.
The Russian language is important to the Tajikistan’s citizens as many of them will become foreign workers in Russia and Kazakhstan.
Russia, without reward, has supplied Tajikistan with various technology for the power structures, communication means and specific equipment, as well as provided regular military trainings for the Tajik soldiers.
The cooperation with China is very wide – Beijing is the largest investor in Tajikistan’s economy by creating various joint ventures in different fields and providing consumer goods. 
In 2008, Tajikistan’s aluminium company Talco Management and Chinese Heavy Machinery Corporation agreed on building two factories in Tajikistan that would recycle aluminium products. The raw materials, necessary for producing aluminium, are imported from the Baltic States, Russia and China, but the transportation costs constantly increase, thus the construction of the factories would be economically profitable. Chinese company Sinohidro showed readiness to build hydroelectric power plant in Tajikistan, which is a pressing matter as water is the main natural resource in the Republic.
In Spring of 2014, Tajikistan’s joint stock company Tajiktransgaz and Chinese corporation China National Petroleum Corporation agreed on building the fourth phase (D) of the pipeline (to transport from Turkmenistan) for the natural gas. The phase D (400 km) connects Turkmenistan and China with in the route Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Kirgizstan. The construction works are financed by China..
The Tajikistan and China’s cooperation has become more intense regarding defence; in 2015-2016, both countries signed several agreements for joint events in combatting terrorism and exchange of confidential information between the power structures. China was supplied with equipment to install short-wave and ultra-short-wave systems in the country borderland’s cordons, it is planned to close the foundation of information exchange channels between the country military resources and foundation of communication systems that link the border security cordons with command centres. China provides aid, in form of technical guarantee, to the Tajikistan Armed Forces, as well as supply various equipment and technology for the Armed Forces units (Beijing appointed 75 million USD for this goal, in the time period between 1994 and 2015). Beijing’s support for the training of Tajikistan’s Armed Forces personnel is increasing (in the period between 1994 and 2015, Chinese military universities were graduated by more than 400 Tajik soldiers), as well as the bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism – Beijing confirmed that is prepared to financially support the foundation of a joint anti-terrorism centre in Dushanbe.
Experts believe that by expanding the cooperation with Tajikistan, China is creating its own regional defence strategy that will originally contain Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, but later on – also other countries in Central Asia. A question about foundation of special mechanism for the cooperation of Armed Forces General headquarters of the aforementioned four countries is already being discussed and Beijing has suggested to establish an information and coordination centre in Urumchi (the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) in order to manage the military training of soldiers from anti-terrorism subordinate units. Experts foresee that there will be an increase in threats from Afghanistan and Pakistan and thus it is understandable that China is trying to prevent them getting closer to its borders.
China is Tajikistan’s main partner in trade and economy, providing considerable aid in the improvement of the Tajikistan’s infrastructure. It is anticipated that the turnover of the bilateral trade will reach three billion USD. 
Tajikistan’s debt to China makes 1.8 billion USD and Dushanbe does not have experience in efficiently administrating debts. Thus, experts suggest Tajikistan not to take more credits in China, but to diversify economic relations with other countries. It should be pointed out that China does not like to give direct investment and rather prefer the cheap credits that are long term (20 and more years). Such cooperation creates situation, when Tajikistan, who does not have any means to return the debt, becomes dependent from China and is forced to pay out the credits by providing Beijing with access to its natural resources, strategic enterprises or to give control to Beijing over its transport roads or even territories (in 2011, Tajikistan confirmed a protocol for delimiting borders with China and giving Beijing approximately 100 km² of the dispute territory in east part of Pamir). Thus, the country can have issues in guaranteeing not only economic, but also national security as creditor demands can endanger the state territorial unity. China is still interested in gaining territories in Tajikistan. Such opportunity was indirectly confirmed by the request of Chinese scientists sent to Tajikistan’s government in 2016 to research the question of some of the Tajikistan’s territory historically belonging to China. Chinese scientists have suggested to perform a scientific research about few territories in Central Asia (including Tajikistan) and them possibly belonging to China. Beijing showed readiness to pay for the research, including the archaeological digs in Beshkent (Qashqadarya region in the south-east part of Uzbekistan) and Dangara (Khatlon region, in the south-west part of Tajikistan) regions, where many objects have already been found that are connected to the late reigning phase of Yue ji (Yue ji are Indo-European nation that lived in the Central Asia’s territories before our era and in the first centuries of our era, according to Chinese scientists, they were part of the Chinese ethnical group). It could be assumed that China is not interested in the historical truth, but rather in the dispute territories that are rich with precious metal and minerals. Tajik experts are concerned that China might get those territories as both economically and politically, Beijing is considerably more influential than Dushanbe.
USA has given Tajikistan a considerable support. Between the six bridges that join the Republic with Afghanistan, the construction of the largest was financially supported by USA. USA organizes training courses for soldiers of Tajikistan’s Armed Forces and Border Security service, but experts from USA are building a new training base for the Tajikistan’s Armed Forces in Tursunzode (western part of the republic). Due to the Pentagon’s programme Tajikistan Stability Enhancement Program, the republic received financial support for building infrastructure objects and develop agriculture, as well as for business. This programme was developed in order to promote the development of the far regions of the republic and prevent the country of becoming the second Afghanistan. USA’s central command send equipment for the Tajikistan’s Drug Control Agency for the programme that combats drugs. The equipment is for the chemical tests and it is possible to discover a wide range of forbidden substances with it. The equipment can be used for expertise of various levels of complexity in both stationary and trip conditions. USA military universities showed readiness to accept several Tajiks in ages between 18 and 23, with a condition that after graduation, they will return to Tajikistan and will work in the republic’s law enforcement structures.
Defence Department of the Embassy of USA organizes training courses for the employees of Tajikistan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Nacional Defence Committee and General Prosecutor’s Office in order to expand the possibilities of the experts to organize, move and control the investigation in the complexes to combat terrorism by uniting various subordinate unit forces and means.
In 2014, in the Export Control and Border Security programme that was implemented by the Embassy of USA in Dushanbe, a training centre was given to the Tajikistan’s Customs Service for practical classes to quickly recognize and remove mass destruction weapons, devices connected to them, as well as other type of armament. The centre is located in the in the customs post Aini in Dushanbe, its costs being approximately 2 million USD. The implementation of USA International Development Agency’s project in the Republic for land reform and farmer household restructuration. In the framework on the project, in the 12 districts of the Khatlon region (southern part of the Republic) centres are established that provide farmers with legal help and information about economy aspects. USA supports the land reform in Tajikistan since 2003. Despite the good relations with the official Dushanbe, USA also shows support to the representatives of the opposition. For example, in 2014, Oinikhol Bobonazarova, Head of the human rights organization, Perspektiva plus, became one of the winners of the USA Department of State’s award International Women of Courage. In 2013, she was chosen as the opposition’s joint candidate for the Tajikistan’s Presidential election (she did not participate in the elections as was not able to gain the necessary 210 000 signatures).
The award International Women od Courage was established in 2007, after initiative of the USA former State Secretary, Condoleezza Rice. Its goal was to support women that are fighting for the social justice and human rights. In the previous years, the award was won also by the advocate for Human rights from Uzbekistan, Mutabara Tajibeyeva, and former President of Kyrgyzstan, Roza Otunbayeva.
During the last years, the cooperation between Tajikistan and EU has activated. In 2009, E.Rahmon visited the Baltic States, and in Brussels discussed the strengthening of defence in Central Asia, as well as the freight transit to Afghanistan that is meant for the forces of the alliance. During the meeting, an agreement was made concerning the foundation of the NATO centre in Dushanbe and the support from the alliance regarding the Tajik border guard training in combating the drug contraband from Afghanistan.
With Switzerland’s cooperation office in Dushanbe, as well as support from European Reconstruction and Development bank in the amounts of 13.5 million USD and 9.5 million USD, in several living locations in the Sughd district (the north part of the Republic) two projects were implemented in the development of ensuring water supply.
Tajikistan has also received a grant in the amount of 14 million EUR from Germany for the development of health care in the Republic. In 2018, Tajikistan received 33.5 million EUR from Germany for the implementation of social projects. The money was used to equip the institutions of tuberculosis treatment, construction of schools, to promote the renewal of communal infrastructure and economic development, as well as implementation of health care programmes in the mountain regions. Germany has also showed readiness to participate in the project regarding the construction of hydroelectric power plant Sebzor in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region (eastern part of the Republic). Berlin points out that the priority in the cooperation with Dushanbe is to offer support in the stable development of Tajikistan’s economy.
In the period between 2002 and 2013, France Air Force contingent (170 – 230 soldiers) were located in the territory of Dushanbe airport and they provided support to the NATO forces in Afghanistan. France did not pay for the usage of the airport, but took part in its reconstruction and expansion, including in the construction of the new terminal that was finished in Autumn of 2011. France gave additional 3 million EUR for this cause and thus the costs for the project implementation were increased up to 27 million EUR (20 million EUR were from France and seven million EUR were from Tajikistan, Dushanbe has to write off this credit in the next 39 years (0.15% per year, relief exists for 20 years)).
Cooperation with Iran began in the 90s and Teheran is the second largest investor in Tajikistan’s economy (after China). Iran is building the electro transmission line and a stage of the Sangtuda’s hydroelectric power plant, finishes the construction of the auto tunnel and is preparing for implementation of the Shuroabada hydroelectric power plant project, as well as shows interest to participate in the construction of small power plants. Teheran has showed readiness to cooperate with Dushanbe regarding regional safety and combating extremism and terrorism.
Tajikistan’s relations with Iran traditionally have been good – in 1992, Teheran was the first to acknowledge Tajikistan’s Independence and opened its Embassy in Dushanbe. Iran is one of the largest investors in Tajikistan’s economy (with the support from Teheran, the Sangtuda’s hydroelectric power plant and tunnel Istiklol have been built). In 2010, Tajikistan showed support to the Iran’s nuclear programme, and Iran condemned Uzbekistan for delaying freight transit to Tajikistan. But during the past few years, relations between both countries became colder that was promoted by the fact that Iran was in contact with Muhidin Kabiri, the leader of Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, which is forbidden in Tajikistan. He was invited to a conference in Teheran, Islam Unity, that took place in the end of 2015. In reaction on Kabiri’s invitation, Dushanbe implemented sanctions against Iran’s entrepreneurs, and forbidding the import of few foodstuff, as well as closed the Iran’s committee Imdod (Help) mission that operated in the Republic since 1996, by offering various aid to needy, children, invalids and senior citizens.
The worsening of relations with Iran were partly promoted by Tajikistan’s attempts to attract investors from Saudi Arabia, with whom Iran has complicated relations. Despite the coldness, Dushanbe and Teheran’s relations might return to normal, especially now, when Saudi Arabia denied the information, published in mass media, about the large investments in the construction of Islam centre in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region and the opening of University of Medicine’s faculty in Dushanbe.

Photo: fergananews
(from the right) Oinihol Bobonazarova, receiving the prize

In August 2017, Tajikistan’s television demonstrated a documentary prepared by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in which assumption was made that in the end of the 20th century, Iran financed several murders of Tajikistan’s political employees as well as the terrorists during the civil war (1991 – 1997). The authors of the movie, were basing on statements from three supporters of the former Deputy Minister of Defence, Abduhalim Nazarzod. They asserted that have went through a special training in Iran and after returning in Tajikistan, and receiving order from Nazarzod, have killed the scientists Muhamad Osismi and Jusuf Ishani, politicians Karim Juldoshev and Otahon Latifi, the chairman of Supreme Council, Safarali Kenjayev and approximately 20 Russian soldiers. It is mentioned in the movie that Tajiks received payment for the murders (approximately 2000 USD). Tajik have also showed remorse that they joined the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan as it is a terrorist organization and it was financed by Iran.
Iran is interested in opening a railway corridor Tajikistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-Iran, so it would be possible to increase freight transport to 2 million tonnes per year. Teheran also wants to start the delivery of crude oil and aluminium to Tajikistan.
Indian mass media constantly publishes information about the foundation of Indian aviation base in Tajikistan, but Dushanbe has not officially confirmed this information. Nevertheless, the aerodrome in Aini was reconstructed and modernised using money from India.
Relations between Tajikistan and Israel now are in the beginning phase, but they have history in business. In the beginning of the 90s, Israeli entrepreneur, Shaul Aizenber, was one of the largest foreign investors in the Republic. He implemented cotton projects, but due to the civil war, was forced to give up few of them. In the beginning of this century, Israel repeatedly tried to get in the Tajikistan’s market. In 2003, Israel participated in the projects supported by the World Bank and USA International cooperation Agency for land reclamation and preparing of agricultural experts. Israel does not have an Embassy in Tajikistan, but the countries cooperate in agriculture and culture.