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.
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.
Tajik authorities say they are probing gunfights that killed at least four people and sparked antigovernment protests in the remote Gorno-Badakhshan Province. The government in Dushanbe blames the violence on local drug dealers. Protest leaders, however, say the latest crisis has much deeper roots in the autonomous region that was the scene of deadly clashes in 2012.
It’s not unusual for politics and business to be family affairs in the former Soviet Union, especially in Central Asia. But President Emomali Rakhmon of Tajikistan – who has seven daughters and two sons – is taking nepotism to new heights. Rakhmon’s preference for placing relatives in positions of power is hurting the Tajik government’s capabilities, observers assert.
With an eye, no doubt, on upcoming parliamentary elections in Tajikistan, authorities are trying to choke off revenue streams that can benefit Muhiddin Kabiri, the leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party, the leading opposition force in the impoverished Central Asian state.
Compared with all his other problems, Dmytro Firtash is probably not spending a lot of time worrying about his Tajik fertilizer factory. After all, the Ukrainian gas, chemicals and media magnate is now out on $172-million-bail in Vienna as he awaits a ruling on his potential extradition to the United States to face graft and organized-crime charges.
Twenty-seven-year-old Manucher has spent every day for the past six years cleaning out manure and, in winter, snow from his cattle barn. In his impoverished village not far from Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital, he counts himself lucky to have the work.