Child-rights advocates are questioning Tajikistan’s decision to identify orphans of Tajik migrants in Russia and arrange for their return to Tajik state institutions. Though the level of institutional care in both Russia and Tajikistan is low, these advocates say, the children would still most likely be better off remaining in Russia.
What led Tajikistan’s security services to suspect a respected researcher of treason and arrest him last month? The answer can be found in recent developments in Tajikistan, and indeed across the former Soviet Union. Alexander Sodiqov’s June 16 arrest comes amid a spike in growing anti-Western rhetoric from Tajik officials.
Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry is cracking down on prostitution, detaining over 500 sex workers during the campaign’s first few days. Activists say detainees are being subjected to blackmailing threats and beatings while in custody.
There are three ways Central Asian guest workers travel to Russia, the magnet that draws millions of Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks each year. The most expensive is by plane. Train is less pricey. Bus is cheaper still, but it’s also the slowest and most prone to scams from beginning to end.
Summer is supposed to be the one season when people in Kyrgyzstan can forget about electricity shortages. But this year, it seems, summer will bring no respite, as the government has announced it will import electricity from Tajikistan.
Shahbol Mirzoev voluntarily answered the call in Tajikistan, appearing for his military service last fall shortly after graduating university. By spring, the 22-year-old was paralyzed from the neck down, a victim of a brutal tradition in the Tajik military that officials seem unable to stop or even admit – hazing.
Early this year, Tajikistan’s largest industrial enterprise sent home about a fifth of its workforce and cut wages by 30 percent for the rest. According to its own figures, the state-owned aluminum plant, Talco, lost over $40 million last year and hasn’t turned a profit since 2010.
The Soviet Union built Nurek, the tallest hydropower dam in the world, and Talco, the largest factory in what is now Tajikistan, as part of a single system in the 1970s. Aluminum smelting requires vast amounts of power. The dam and the plant were to help industrialize the distant, subsidy-dependent Soviet republic.
Tajikistan, the poorest country to emerge from the Soviet Union, has one economic asset of note – Talco, an aluminum smelter that, in a good year, pulls in hundreds of millions of dollars. For years, the state-owned company has been notoriously non-transparent.
Mehrinisso loves teaching, but finds the closed-circuit surveillance cameras in her classroom unsettling. “It is annoying and disturbing to be watched by somebody all day long,” said the elementary-school teacher in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe.