Tajikistan, the forgotten Soviet republic

In Central Asia, the Union of Socialist Soviets Republics had many of their republics located. Tajikistan is unknown to many people, this is because it remains one of the forgotten Central Asian republics of the former USSR. Founded in 1929, the Tajik Socialist Soviet Republic used to be a autonomous republic of the Uzbek Socialist Soviet Republic from 1924 until 1929. Its capital is Dushanbe a city with over 700.000 people in 2014. The total population of today’s Republic of Tajikistan is 8,2 million. After living under Russian stalinism for 70 years, the Communist Party of Tajikistan dissolved in 1991 and was replaced by the People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan as ruling party!

Leader of the nation is Emomalii Rahmon, a man who became president in November 1992, after Rahmon Nabiyev left office in the midst of a civil war. From 1992 until 1997, the former Soviet republic was thrown into chaos as an alliance of nationalists, islamists and liberal democrats fought the government. 100.000 people were killed and the infrastructure lay in ruins after 1997. Because of this, Tajikistan is the most poorest of all former Soviet republics. But the ruling caste around Emomalii Rahmon does not care, they enjoy the fruits of corruption as they own most means of production!

Although the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan ( PDPT ) claims the nation is a liberal democracy, this is not true. Opposition parties are allowed, but have little to say. Elections are rigged and the media is censored by the state bureaucracy, to include only government approved news. Emomalii Rahmon uses Islamic fundamentalism, as a excuse to silence all opposition to his regime. During the civil war in the 1990’s, Islamic fighters joined a coalition with nationalists and democrats to overthrow president Rahmo. The United Tajik Opposition was the name of the nationalist, Islamic and democratic opposition to his government!

Dictator Rahmo is not much different then the other Central Asian dictators. The only difference maybe is that he was quite young for a former Soviet leader, in 1992 Rahmo was only 40 years old. The dictators of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan ( Saparmurat Niyazov, up to 2006 ) are also much older then Tajikistan’s current leader. Emomalii Rahmon’s original power base was as chairman of the collective state farm of his native Dangara. In 1982, he graduated from the Tajik State National University with a Degree in Economics. 8 years later, the chairman of  the collective state farms was made speaker of the Supreme Soviet, the official parliament of the Tajik Socialist Soviet Republic. A position that used to be weak, but in 1990 was strengthen with the collapse of the Communist Party of the Soviet-Union!

It can be said that the Republic of Tajikistan is the creation of Emomalii Rahmon. When he founded the PDPT in 1994, the former Stalinist nation was in chaos. The civil war was brutal and it was only thanks to Russian support, that he was able to survive. Russia under Boris Yeltsin wanted to keep Tajikistan close to Moscow. But the Soviet Army had left Tajikistan in 1991, leaving the nation with no army of its own to fight in the civil war. Rahmon was forced to build an army out of nothing as the departing Russians took all materials with them. When the civil war erupted, Russian president Boris Yeltsin ordered his special commando’s to intervene, since Tajikistan lacked an army in 1992. President Rahmon was also aided by the Uzbek dictator; Islam Karimov. Both Yeltsin, Rahmon and Karimov were part of the Stalinist bureaucracy and although the Soviet-Union had collapsed, the three leaders kept supporting each other against nationalist, Islamic and democratic forces!

In 1995, the National Army of Tajikistan listed only 3.000 active soldiers. The majority of the officer corps were Russian, mostly veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. They lacked modern tanks, having only seven T-55 and thirty T-72 in service. There was no Tajik Air Force as all Soviet planes returned to Russia in 1991. So the Russian Air Force was needed to fly sorties against the United Tajik Opposition forces. In 1997, a peace treaty was concluded between the Rahmon government and the opposition, ending the brutal five years of civil war. However no freedom came out of this peace treaty. Emomalii Rahmon and his corrupt PDPT remain in power and have been able to win every election, thanks to voting manipulation and massive corruption!

After the year 2000, the Republic of Tajikistan moved away from international attention. Few people know of this poor former Soviet republic, this is how Emomalii Rahmon likes it. The fewer people know of his massive human-rights abuses, the longer he can stay in power. Beside he is supported by the Kremlin, who guaranty his absolute rule. Like most Central Asian dictators, nepotism plays a large role. The dictator has over seven daughters and two sons, who are giving good jobs. This is normal practise in these nations, were a single family has more power then the capitalist class itself.

The 2008 global financial crisis has hit Tajikistan hard, both domestically and internationally. Tajikistan has been hit harder than many countries because it already has a high poverty rate and because many of its citizens depend on remittances from expatriate workers. Poverty has hit about 72% of the people after 1997, but this has been reduced to 47% by 2009. Still many people do not have access to basic human needs. Emomalii Rahmon does not care about this fact, like Kim Jong Un of North Korea, the president of Tajikistan is living the good life while millions of his people live in poverty!

As American imperialism took control of Afghanistan after September 2001, the Americans started to train the National Army of Tajikistan. Washington never cared about the personal fiefdom of Emomalii Rahmon, until it became clear that Tajikistan bordered Afghanistan to the north. Also the nation was quit weak and still recovering from its civil war. The USA feared that the Taliban would travel to Tajikistan to regroup and rearm. Islamic fundamentalism was strong there as Islamic fighters had fought with the opposition against the government. Afghan reactionary forces had supported the United Tajik Opposition in the 1990’s. An Islamic takeover of Tajikistan would strengthen the enemies of the USA, therefore president George W Bush started a broad-based relationship, cooperating in such areas as counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, regional growth and stability. In other words: The USA supports just another Central Asian dictatorship, that exploits and oppresses its people in the name of anti-terrorism!

Revolutionary socialists support the removal of Emomalii Rahmon and call for the rebuild of the Tajik Socialist Soviet Republic on genuine socialist principals. Class struggle is needed of workers and peasants to overthrow the corrupt; People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan. The ruling caste around the president is not so strong as they may look. Their army is weak, they lack jet fighters and have only 30 tanks to defend their nepotist dictatorship. Workers and peasants only need to unite in a Red Army to establish their rule. Unfortunate tribal sectarianism is very strong in Tajikistan, they share this problem with Afghanistan were tribes govern the lives of people. It is up to revolutionary socialists to brake the sectarian nature and unite the people. A workers party must then be build to lead the masses to victory in a socialist revolution!


Afghanistan, Tajikistan dedicate ‘Bridge to Friendship’

Emomalii Rahmon ( in blue ) with Afghan president; Hamid Karzai.