In terms of internal and external security, Tajikistan has been among the most problematic countries in Central Asia. It is the only state in the region to have gone through a protracted civil war (1992-1997), which, according to various estimates, killed between 23,500 and 100,000 people (perhaps even more) and left the economy in ruins. The causes of this war were rooted not only in political confrontation, but also in confrontation between different regions, clans, and personalities, as well as confrontation within Islam between those who sought to build a secular state and those who wanted an Islamic state.

In his new Briefing, Alexey Malashenko writes about the current situation in Tajikistan and the country’s possible developments.

Key Conclusions:

  • After signing the Agreement on Peace and National Accord with the opposition in 1997, President Rakhmon set about building an authoritarian regime in Tajikistan.
     
  • Today, the authorities face several internal challenges: an economic crisis, regionalism, domestic political confrontation, and radical Islam.
     
  • It will be difficult, if not impossible, to organize “Maidan Tahrir”-type mass protests of the kind that took place on Cairo’s main square and toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt in the spring of 2011.
     
  • None of the external players today has an interest in radically escalating the situation in the country, much less in provoking Tajikistan’s collapse. Russia hopes to keep the country within its sphere of influence by participating in key projects there and providing military aid.