Slavomír Horák

Russia in Contemporary Central Asia - comeback or continuity? The case of Tajikistan.

In: Mezinárodní vztahy, Vol. 40 (2005), No. 3, s. 93-111, ISSN 0323-1844.



Dissolution of USSR and creation of New Independent States was accompanied with rapid fall of relationships among those republics. With disputable exception of Baltic States tough dependency of Russia rested on of their foreign policy feature. This link was expressed on political level as well as on economical and especially social level. Central Asia became typical region of that type. Tajikistan is special case, because for local regime reliance on Moscow turned out to be the question of surviving. During civil war in 1992-1997 Russian Military Forces presence in the country was at least some guarantee of stability for president Rahmonov’s government.

The conflict determined military and military-political sphere as key area of mutual relationships between the countries. In practice, the formation of consistent military base of Russia in Tajikistan is expression of this level of partnership. Ratification of corresponding was, however, one of few pressure tools on Russia from Dushanbe, particularly in the context of US military presence in the region. But this problem was solved in 2004.

Military sphere is closely linked up with economical co-operation. There are vast planes of companies owned by Russian state or close to president Putin. Loyal oligarchs such as Oleg Deripaska were engaged here – his Russian aluminium company RusAl bought major shares in aluminium factory in Tursunzode, which produce considerable part of Tajik GDP. Director of state company United Energy System Anatoliy Chubays expressed the interest in completion of gigantic dams on Vanch river. The question is, whether those projects could be realized.

Nevertheless, those economical projects does not touch majority of Tajik population. On the micro level people are firstly keen on social relations, analyzed in the third part of this article. Apart from ethnical and language linkage between Russians and Tajiks (on both internal, and external level) key role is devoted to the significance of labour migration. Huge part of Tajiks leave the country in search of the work in Russia. This aspect has its implications in internal policy of both countries as well as in their relationships.

Above mentioned three levels of Russian-Tajik interactions clearly prove, that at least in case of Tajikistan, one cannot speak about Russian come-back to Central Asia, but about consolidation of older position.