By Kirgizbek Kanunov (06/18/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Recent weeks have seen a number of kneejerk reactions on the part of the Tajik authorities that indicate a mounting suspicion against Western engagement with local civil society. The fear is especially palpable in the aftermath of the events of July 2012 and May 2014 in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) in eastern Tajikistan that have seen mass protest rallies prompted by unprecedented heavy-handedness on part of the authorities.

After the events in Ukraine and especially the annexation of the Crimea, the authorities see an existential threat in independent contacts between the West and civil society in Tajikistan.

A recent example is the detention of Alexander Sodiqov on June 16 in Khorog. He was allegedly conducting a reconnaissance mission for a foreign government. Sodiqov is a doctoral student at the University of Toronto (and a frequent contributor to the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst –ed.). But Tajikistan's National Security Committee (KNB) maintains that he was deployed by a foreign government to negotiate with Alim Sherzamonov, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan (SDPT), along with civil society actors in GBAO. The KNB report states that Sodiqov was arrested while transferring "biased" materials to Sherzamonov. Sherzamonov, however, claims that Sodiqov’s only fault was to speak with him.

Even prior to the May 2014 events in Khorog, the authorities reacted extremely negatively to an EU delegation’s visit to Khorog in early May and its dialogue with local civil society.

After the incident in Khorog on May 21, several high-ranking Tajik officials were quick to accuse Western countries of destabilizing the situation in the region, and in June, the government introduced travel restrictions to GBAO for representatives of international organizations and diplomatic missions.

During the same period, the Head of the Russia’s Federal Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov, released a statement to the media in Minsk at a meeting of the Council of heads of security agencies and special services. The FSB chief claimed that there are illegal forces in the CIS countries, which are funded by certain western non-governmental organizations and recommended that actions against them should be tough.

On June 10, the British Ambassador to Tajikistan, Robin Ord-Smith, travelled to Khorog as a tourist due to the imposed restrictions on diplomatic travel, demonstrated that blocking contacts between Western diplomats and representatives of civil society is becoming a routine. The obstructionist behavior toward the British Ambassador by members of the National Security staff effectively cut off his access to local civil society groups.  According to representatives of civil society scheduled to meet the UK diplomat, the local Serena Inn hotel where Ord-Smith sojourned had been surrounded by law enforcement personnel and access to it had been completely blocked.

According to SDPT leader Sherzamonov, despite the fact that this was not the ambassador’s first visit to Khorog, the security measures introduced this time were unprecedented. At the same time, in spite of perceived security threats, Ord-Smith was allowed to meet with representatives of law enforcement agencies and local authorities.

During Ord-Smith’s stay in Khorog, in the afternoon of June 10, a few residents of Dushanbe rioted and threw rocks at the British Embassy in Dushanbe. The Protesters offered no reason for their dissatisfaction and made no mention whatsoever as to their demands. But according to local media, they constantly chanted “Pamir,” thus making clear their disagreement with the British Ambassador’s visit to Khorog.

Since President Rakhmon’s rise to power, he has never tolerated rallies in Tajikistan, and the authorities have reacted harshly to protests in Dushanbe. For example, on August 29, the District Court of Dushanbe imposed heavy fines and ordered administrative arrests of participants of a mob in support of Zayd Saidov, the leader and founder of the political party New Tajikistan. However, over the past two years, the authorities have decided to employ paid mobs to deal with the opposition.

The rent-a-mob tactic was tested for the first time in April 2013. Then, around a hundred people gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe. The protest action was held in connection with the release of Tajikistan’s former Prime Minister, Abdumalik Abdullodzhonov, now a U.S. citizen, from detention in Ukraine. Protesters demanded his extradition to Tajikistan. The authorities then spoke about prosecuting the protesters, but nothing has happened to date. Subsequently, several participants of this rally were seen on December 10, 2013, when a group of 20 people attempted to disrupt a press conference in Dushanbe of the SDPT.

The June 10 attack on the Chairman of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (PIVT), Kabiri in Kulob, indicates that this kind of premeditated actions are systematic. During a debate on the incident in Parliament, Kabiri and a representative of the Communist Party of Tajikistan stated that all these events are interrelated and their patrons are the same people.

One of the government’s ideologists, the lower chamber MP Suhrob Sharifov, deems it necessary to create a special order for trips of ambassadors and other foreign diplomats to Tajikistan’s border areas. Also, the Assistant to the President for Defense Issues, Sherali Khayrulloyev, said that the authors and masterminds of events that occurred in Khorog on and following May 21 are located outside the region.

Moreover, only during the first half of June, Internet providers in Tajikistan blocked access to YouTube, Google, and Gmail services.

Rakhmon’s regime has periodically resorted to pressure tactics and even repression. However, according to observers, pressure of this magnitude on the media, the Internet, and the opposition has not been seen since the run-up to the parliamentary elections in 2005, which took place against the backdrop of the color revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia, and the overthrow of President Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. Then, the crackdown included closing a number of non-governmental newspapers and the office of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Authorities then seriously believed that NDI was preparing a color revolution in Tajikistan.

Observers also note that with the exception of the statements of OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, Western countries still prefer to ignore unfriendly accusations and actions.

It seems that the pressure on civil society in Tajikistan will increase and that all these actions constitute test balloons in anticipation of a large-scale offensive against the opposition on the eve of parliamentary elections. 

Published in Field Reports

By Kirgizbek Kanunov (06/04/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

On May 21, 2014, a shooting incident occurred in Khorog, the capital of Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), involving local residents and law enforcement personnel. As a result of the shooting, three people were killed, including a law enforcement officer, and several were wounded.

According to witnesses, the incident began when three residents of Khorog were shot at in their vehicle, presumably by officers of the Special Police Force (OMON). However, the official statement of the Tajik Interior Ministry claims that the police officers wanted to detain suspected criminals whom they believed were in the vehicle, and that the police officers had to use force because the driver and passengers resisted arrest. Concurrently, it was reported on May 20 that Taliban insurgents took over the county of Yamgan in the Afghan province of northern Badakhshan across the river from Khorog. 

The developments in Khorog beg the question of whether they were the result of a localized confrontation between law enforcement and the public or part of a larger destabilization of GBAO, and perhaps of Tajikistan more broadly. It is important to note that even before the details of the incident were confirmed, the Russian media, including one influential Internet source presumably associated with the Kremlin, hinted of Western involvement in the Khorog unrest.

Prior to the incident in Khorog, a message from an anonymous source, claiming to be a resident of Khorog by the name Shakarmamadov, was disseminated in social networks and media collaborating with the Tajik special services. The message mentioned a meeting between Muhammadbokir Muhammadbokirov, a local leader and former opposition warlord, and representatives of the Delegation of the EU, accusing them of destabilizing the situation in GBAO, in a fashion similar to what recently took place in the Ukraine. Simultaneously, the influential MP and former State Advisor of the President of Tajikistan Amirkul Azimov openly accused the EU and NATO of attempting to destabilize the situation in Khorog.

Yet despite open accusations of the EU and the U.S. being involved in the Khorog unrest, Tajik authorities officially demonstrate support for their policies in the region. For example, on June 3, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and daughter of Tajikistan’s President, Emomali Rahmon Ozoda, who leads the annual review of political consultations between the Tajikistan and the U.S., emphasized the U.S.’s role in the international coalition against terrorism in Afghanistan and its impact on security in Central Asia as a whole. She also praised the work of USAID in Tajikistan. It is notable that USAID, along with the Soros Foundation, is a frequent subject of criticism in Tajikistan’s state media.

According to observers, individuals directly connected with the secret services created social media accounts, particularly on Facebook, prior to the incident in Khorog and initiated discussions aiming to discredit Tajik opposition leaders and former warlords in GBAO.

A full-scale military operation involving all Tajikistan’s law enforcement agencies took place in Khorog on July 24, 2012, which resulted in numerous victims among the civilian population. Until now, according to Tajik human rights activists and local residents, the authorities have failed to carry out an objective investigation into the 2012 incident. Locals believe that the officials responsible for the deaths of civilians have not been punished. On the contrary, many civil society activists taking part in peaceful demonstrations during the 2012 incident have since faced continuous harassment and prosecution in spite of an agreement between security forces and civil society representatives in 2012 promising all protestors amnesty.

Observers argue that no major social issues have been resolved in GBAO in the last two decades. Since independence, the state has not created a single company in the region and the small number of industries established there during Soviet times have declined. In the context of the general unemployment rate, young people are forced to leave GBAO to work in Russia, where they face arbitrary law enforcement and violence from nationalist groups such as skinheads.

In light of this bleak socio-economic situation in the region, the potential for public protest is growing. The same sentiment exists in other regions of Tajikistan and analysts claim that some radical forces in Tajikistan are even considering the possibility of cooperating with the Taliban.

Some analysts are pessimistic about the prospect for dialogue between the government and protesters in Khorog. According to Tajik journalist Marat Mamadshoev, Tajik authorities are not ready for dialogue with civil society as they consider any concessions as a sign of weakness. “Other regions of Tajikistan face similar problems. Tajik authorities are unwilling to set a precedent, by agreeing to the wishes of residents of Khorog, in fear of the so-called domino effect” says Mamadshoev.

Nevertheless, following talks between the government and protesters a joint commission was set up, including government and civil society representatives, to investigate the recent events, and an agreement between the government and protesters in Khorog was signed on May 31. The authorities recognized 7 out of 9 of the protesters’ demands. However, the key points demanding the resignation of security officials and an amnesty for rioters still hovers in the air, and the possibility of a new escalation cannot be ruled out.

The decision of the Tajik authorities to make partial concessions to the protesters could either mean that they are seriously concerned over stability in the country, or as another tactical maneuver in order to gain time and gradually neutralize the protest and opposition sentiment in the area.

The most recent incident in Khorog took place shortly ahead of the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan and Tajikistan’s 2015 parliamentary elections, both of which heighten the risk of destabilization in Tajikistan. 

Published in Field Reports

By Oleg Salimov (06/04/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

This year, Tajikistan presides over the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The center of strategic research under the president of Tajikistan held a conference titled “SCO and the provision of regional security: problems and perspectives” in mid-May, 2014. The conference was devoted to expanding the SCO’s ability to provide regional security, and the merger of SCO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was a primary topic of discussion.

Aside from issues pertaining to trade and infrastructure, the conference focused on new threats and challenges to regional security and the implications of the U.S./NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan. The SCO’s members presented a declaration containing provisions on increasing the organizations’ security potential, including integrated security measures for all states based on a common interpretation of current realities; a strategy for the SCO’s development and influence in the international arena; the development of regional infrastructure, industry, transportation, and trade; and the expansion of SCO; all aimed to increase the SCO’s political weight in the world. 

The most notable statement at the conference was made by the host country’s representative, Khudoberdy Kholiknazarov, who called for a consolidation and merger of SCO and the CSTO, which he presented as being of key importance to regional security and stability.

The statement was a preceded by a meeting of the executive deputies of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the CSTO, and the SCO on April 24, 2014 in the CSTO Moscow headquarter. For the most part, the four organizations unify former Soviet republics and are commonly seen as alternatives to Western international organizations. The attendees of this meeting discussed means for improving coordination and interaction in conditions of growing international confrontation, with reference to the current Ukrainian crisis and regional and global security threats. The CSTO’s Secretary General, Nikolai Borduzha, announced that the CSTO has halted its contacts with NATO as a result of NATO’s position on the crisis in Ukraine, and will instead search for partners in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, the CSTO will seek closer ties with the SCO and its partners, particularly China and Iran. Hence, the recent SCO conference in Dushanbe became a platform for further probing into the possibility of merging the SCO and CSTO. 

The calls for such a merger highlight the growing rift between the West and Russia. The members of these organizations have either expressed their support of Russia’s position on the crisis in Ukraine, like Kazakhstan and Armenia; made ambiguous statements, like China; or refrained from defining their position at all, like Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Some long-term Central Asian leaders, who observed the toppling of Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych, will welcome the extra security measures that can be employed in case of democratic upheavals after the proposed SCO – CSTO merger. Although the CSTO’s main provision guarantees an embattled member military support from other members in case of external aggression, the 2010 additions to the agreement allow military assistance in cases of militant attacks, illegal armed forces, and other internal conflicts which can include democratic protests.

The expansion and improvement of transportation and communication infrastructure and logistic hubs discussed during the SCO conference are consistent with the needs of the CSTO, which focuses on creating effective military forces that can rapidly be deployed and moved around the region. One of the CSTO’s main declared tasks is the creation of an integrated military system in Central Asia, which will include air defense, intelligence information gathering, railroad protection and supply.

The merger discussions follows on the statement by NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow on May 1, 2014, that Russia is now considered less as a partner and more as an adversary, which in turn came after the CSTO decided to stop its contacts with NATO.

Russia holds leading positions in the SCO and CSTO and could extract substantial economic and political benefits from the merger. Russian influence would be multiplied by the inclusion of China, as a member of SCO, into the CSTO with the imposition of certain obligations which extend beyond political or diplomatic support and require direct military assistance. The widely discussed natural gas deal recently concluded between Russia and China bear the characteristics of leverage in Russia’s attempt to convince China on a SCO–CSTO merger. In part, it explains the rapid conclusion of a gas deal that took 10 years to negotiate.

Russian officials, particularly Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller, are unwilling to reveal the conditions or pricing policy of the 30-year gas deal. Even if the effect of the U.S. and EU economic sanctions urged Russia to conclude the agreement, the actual reasoning behind the move was to secure China’s support on the international arena. China has previously expressed support for Russia on Syria, and sought a middle ground between Russia and the West on Ukraine. An SCO-CSTO merger could form the next step in this relationship.

The obvious losers in this development are the people of the Central Asian SCO and CSTO members, whose interests will hardly be considered in the bargaining between Russia and China, and who will become even more dependent on their powerful neighbors. The exit of the U.S. from the regional political arena after the withdrawal from Afghanistan leaves Central Asian countries no other option than to conform to the powers filling up the political vacuum. The SCO conference in Dushanbe potentially marks the start of this process.

While an SCO–CSTO merger could potentially give rise to an extremely powerful international organization and an outright rival of NATO and the EU in the Eastern hemisphere, Russia and China still have a number of conflicting interests that they need to work through, including territorial disputes, rivaling claims to dominance in Central Asia, and Russia’s effort to balance between China and Japan. The intensified appeals for an organizational merger would also require Russia to increase its dependence on China in an attempt to exclude the U.S. and EU from its historical zone of influence. Hence, it remains to be seen whether the SCO–CSTO will move beyond political rhetoric.

Published in Field Reports

By Oleg Salimov (05/21/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov visited Tajikistan on May 5-6 2014. During his visit, Berdimuhammedov met with Tajikistan’s president Emomali Rakhmon and the speaker of the lower chamber of Tajikistan’s parliament Shukurjon Shukurov. The transportation and energy sectors, and cooperation in the socioeconomic sphere dominated the bilateral dialogue.

The visit of Turkmenistan’s president to Tajikistan was preceded by a meeting of the Turkmen-Tajik intergovernmental committee on trade-economic and scientific-technological cooperation in Ashgabat and Tajikistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sirojiddin Aslov’s visit to Turkmenistan’s capital in April 2014. Both events were used to formulate and coordinate the points of interest to be discussed during the upcoming presidential visit.

The visit resulted in nine signed agreements out of a prospective ten, as reported by Tajikistan’s presidential administration. They included intergovernmental acts on cooperation in transportation, economics, tourism, culture, education, legislature, and foreign affairs. In a joint statement, both presidents emphasized the importance of expanding partnership in transportation, energy, industry, trade, and agriculture. As a separate item, the presidents mentioned socioeconomic development in Afghanistan as a prerequisite for mitigating regional threats including terrorism and trafficking in drugs and human beings.

In a separate statement, Rakhmon accentuated the closeness of both countries’ interests in a number of undertakings. At the same time, the evolving collaboration between Tajikistan and Turkmenistan is best described as intermediate cooperation with the final objective of reaching their principal economic partners – Russia for Tajikistan and China for Turkmenistan. Although the countries indicate their regional dependency and increased trade turnover, which reached US$ 119 million in 2013, they present insignificant political and economic value for each other.

The divergence of the countries’ interests can be seen in their distinct interpretations of the visit’s purpose. According to the official press release of Tajikistan’s presidential administration, the central theme and objective of the visit revolved around the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railroad. At the same time, Turkmenistan identified the expansion of its energy export capabilities as a substantial part of the dialogue. For Tajikistan, the railroad through Turkmenistan is a means for reaching Caspian seaways and reduced-tariff Russian oil reserves as a preference in return for stationing a Russian military base in the country. For Turkmenistan, Tajikistan’s territory is a shortcut for delivering its natural gas to China via a fourth pipeline and for diversifying its exports.

In September 2013, Turkmenistan and China reached agreement on a fourth natural gas pipeline which can potentially go through Tajikistan’s territory. According to China Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Turkmenistan consented in a contract signed in 2007 to a yearly export of 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas to China in the next 30 years. In about 5 years, from 2009 to 2013, Turkmenistan delivered only 69 bcm, and thus lags behind in delivering another 81 bcm to China. The pipeline though Tajikistan can increase the amount of exported natural gas while reducing the price of delivery. Consequently, for Turkmenistan, which has already started the construction of its part of the railroad, questions regarding its energy export prevailed over other subjects in the agenda of the presidential visit.

For Tajikistan, the prospect of finalizing the three-country railroad is still murky. The project, which must be completed in 2015, was the object of a recent diplomatic mishap between Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. In a statement on January 2014, Amonullo Khukumatullo, the head of Tajik Railroad, announced that an agreement had been reached between Tajikistan and Afghanistan on the final version of the Tajik part of the railroad. Khukumatullo’s announcement provoked immediate protests from Turkmenistan, and was seen as excluding Turkmenistan from the decision-making process and as damaging to the three-sided project. Besides the absence of a compromise version of the Tajik part of the railroad, the lack of funding further reduces the chances of accomplishing the project as planned.

Regardless of whether the railroad objective is achieved, Tajikistan’s cooperation with Turkmenistan presents viable means for resolving its energy crisis. The transit of Turkmen natural gas to China can result in a bargain or preferences for Tajikistan. The discussion between the two presidents also included the possibility of extending a Turkmen electric energy line from Afghanistan to Tajikistan. In 2013, Turkmenistan produced over 18 billion kilowatts of electric energy, 2.6 billion of which were exported. Currently, Turkmenistan exports around 50 megawatt of electricity to Afghanistan and plans to increase it by up to 250 megawatt by the end of 2014, according to official Turkmen media. However, the possible financial constrains after the U.S. and NATO withdrawal can limit Afghanistan’s purchasing capacity. In such case, Tajikistan’s market will appear highly attractive for Turkmen electric energy export. 

Published in Field Reports

By Oleg Salimov (05/07/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

On April 23, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon gave his annual address to parliament, summarizing the 2013 year and outlining priorities in Tajikistan’s development for 2014.

Tajikistan’s economy was the primary and most detailed part of the speech. Rakhmon called for higher participation in world trade processes, stressing the need for export increases. He outlined his vision of improving export through government assistance and fees reassignment. Rakhmon announced the state support to private production enterprises in 2014-2020, establishment of new free economic zones, and introduction of export fees on raw cotton, silk, and other raw materials to stimulate production manufacturing inside the country. Rakhmon is concerned with the lack of interest to production enterprises from Tajik entrepreneurs which are the engine for export increase in any country. In spite of similar statements in his previous address, the actual environment for entrepreneurship in Tajikistan worsened in 2013. The hopes of private sector for self-regulation and open dialog with the government were lost with the dismissal of its Coordination Council and arrest of its leader Zaid Saidov in May 2013.

The perspectives of export in Tajikistan depend greatly on the country’s ability to deliver its products to prospective consumers. The development of Tajikistan’s transporting infrastructure is the foremost task in expanding its export potential. Still, the address lacked detailed overview and particular means for resolving Tajikistan’s transporting isolation. Rakhmon referred to the Dushanbe – Kulma, China highway and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railroad as critical for the country’s economic development. At the same time, the president failed to mention that the highway to China, in fact a reconstruction of a Soviet-era motorway, evolves slowly and depends on financial assistance from China’s Export-Import Bank. Also, while Turkmenistan has entered active stages of railroad construction process, the Tajik part is still in its technical-economic substantiation phase of development. The railroad Dushanbe – Kurgan-Tube has stalled due to financial difficulties with Tajikistan once again placing its hopes on China’s investors. Moreover, the 2011 report on transportation and communication in Tajikistan prepared by the Asian Development Bank indicates the loss of 80 percent of Tajik transporting infrastructure system after independence. Among other shortcomings the report points out the low quality of existing roads and bureaucratic obstacles which force transit transport to seek alternative routes bypassing Tajikistan.

Rakhmon called for a shift of attention from agrarian to industrial sectors, whereas he has previously praised the progress in the country’s agrarian segment of economy. The improvement of socioeconomic conditions for farmers is seen as the primary objective for the Tajik government in 2014. Yet, Rakhmon avoided reporting on the progress of two key government acts, from 2007 and 2009, which define agrarian reform in Tajikistan. In 2013, Rakhmon spoke about required improvements in land rehabilitation, melioration system renovation, and seeds selection, the results of which were not mentioned in the current address. The proposition on higher export fees on raw cotton, which should stimulate manufacturing and industrialization, terminates the provision on simplifying raw cotton export as outlined in the 2007 act.

Another new step is the preparation for state enterprises involved in the exploration of natural resources to enter world financial markets in 2014. Rakhmon ties these hopes to the country’s potential in coal, gas, and oil extraction. However, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in the period 1992-2013 Tajikistan’s consumption of petroleum, gas, and coal was continuously exceeding the country’s production capabilities. Also, according to a 2011 investment outlook report prepared for Tethys Petroleum, the largest investor in Tajikistan’s gas and oil industry, by Halyk Finance, an affiliate of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the exploration of major oil and gas deposits in Tajikistan is still in its early stages of development and presumably outweighs risks over profit. Rakhmon’s expectations towards state enterprises stock trade potential hence seem unsubstantiated and premature.

Regarding Tajikistan’s foreign policy, the turmoil in Ukraine produced an ambiguous situation for a number of post-Soviet republics. The Tajik regime is still contemplating the appropriate reaction to the intensified West-Russia confrontation. The continuous silence on the crisis in Ukraine was present also in Rakhmon’s address to parliament. Rakhmon noted the difficulty of defining the course of the foreign policy for Tajikistan due to the increased complexity of international relations among world leaders. However, the calibrated advances towards Russia are visible in Rakhmon’s call to consider Tajikistan’s geopolitical location and the country’s reliance on its closest long-term partners. Rakhmon noted valuable spiritual-cultural and economic connections with Russia. Russia holds a leading position among foreign investors in the Tajik economy. The past year also saw the finalization of Russia’s military base extension in Tajikistan in exchange for privileges for labor migrants and tariff-free fuel supply to Tajikistan.

The relationships with Iran and Afghanistan were singled out into a separate group due to common ethnical heritage. The Tajik president also pointed out China as its main economic partner in Asia and the role of the U.S. and the EU as partners in fighting terrorism and drug trafficking in Tajikistan.

The general notion of the president’s address is the continuous growth of the country’s economy, ongoing socioeconomic improvements, improving business conditions, the progressive reduction of poverty, and overall prosperity in the conditions of a persistent world economic crisis. In a number of ways, the 2014 address is a paraphrased version from the year before. Both speeches are a compilation of the same general ideas, recurrent prospects, and motivational calls for action. Rakhmon’s address lacks a review of failures of the previous year and a sense of accountability. Accountability needs to be established through a system of control over the implementation of directives delivered in the annual address, while the results, whether negative or positive, should be presented and explained and relevant conclusions formulated. Otherwise, the address will remain the routine out-of-touch speech having little to no effect on the country’s developmental processes. 

Published in Field Reports

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The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.


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