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TAJIKISTAN


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 1,303 1,208 1,100 148
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 190 180 180 197
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
143,100 

Population 
7,011,556

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Tajiks 62.3%
Uzbeks 23.5%
Russians 17.6%

Capital 
Dushanbe

Currency 
Tajik Somoni

President 
Emomali Rakhmonov


 

Update No: 298 - (27/10/05)

Condi comes to town
The situation in central Asia is very tense what with parliamentary elections in Afghanistan coming after events in Uzbekistan in May of a horrific nature. Tajikistan lies right next to them both.
The US responded to the massacre of hundreds of people on May 13th in Adijon by helping refugees who had fled to Kyrgyzstan to be flown to Romania and asylum. Tashkent promptly requested Washington to remove its forces from the base in Karsi-Khanabad it had been leasing since the Afghan War, vital to its prosecution just across the border.
Tajikistan becomes even more valuable as an ally, allowing the Americans military landing rights at Dushanbe Airport. Condi Rice came to Dushanbe in mid-October to confirm this, with the Tajiks readily acquiescing. She went along with the idea that recent and coming elections are for real. But what after all can the US Secretary of State do otherwise. US leverage was never great in this remote part of the world.

Opposition under pressure in Tajikistan
The reality is that government pressure on opposition leaders and independent media outlets is continuing as Tajikistan prepares for presidential elections in 2006. 
President Imomali Rakhmonov has tightened his grip on power in recent months - a fact underscored by the landslide victory by the president's People's Democratic Party in parliamentary elections in February. When opposition leaders cried foul over the vote, Rakhmonov simply brushed their complaints aside. 
Critics of the president say Rakhmonov is intent on securing another seven-year presidential term, and is thus acting to eliminate potential presidential rivals, and ensure that major mass media outlets stay largely under administration control. Administration officials dismiss such complaints. 
Human rights activists and many political experts in Dushanbe believe the ongoing trial of Mahmadruzi Iskandarov -- the head of the Tajik Democratic Party and the former head of the state gas company, Tojikgaz -- is politically motivated. Iskandarov, whose trial began August 2, faces eight criminal charges, including abuse of power, embezzlement and forgery. He also alleged to have acted as a warlord, amassing arms and a small private security force that supposedly engaged in criminal activity. 
On September 12, Tajikistan's Supreme Court granted a motion by Iskandarov, to call additional witnesses. Among those Iskandarov's defence team now intends to call are Gen. Saidamir Zukhurov, MP Khojiakbar Turajonzoda and Chairman of the Tourism Committee, Salamsho Mukhabbatov. 
In presenting the motion, Iskandarov claimed that prosecutors were trying to suppress the presentation of evidence that could help him secure an acquittal. "The witnesses who could help the defence are not taking part in the trial," Iskandarov told the court, according to a September 12 report distributed by the Avesta News Agency. Iskandarov maintains that Tajik authorities kidnapped him in Russia and brought him back to Dushanbe to stand trial. Iskandarov was originally taken into custody by Russian officials on an international arrest warrant, but he was later released on April 3. About a week later he disappeared, only to resurface in Tajik official custody. Supporters have demanded an official explanation as to how the Democratic Party leader ended up in a Dushanbe jail. Authorities have not provided a detailed account of the circumstances surrounding his arrest. 
Meanwhile, the late August conviction of Mukhtar Bokizoda, editor of the opposition newspaper Nerui Sukhan, has had a chilling effect on independent journalists in Tajikistan, rights activists suggest. Bokizoda received a two-year sentence for supposedly illegally diverting electricity to keep the newspaper operating. Nerui Sukhan has not been published since early 2005, when authorities closed down the independently-operated Kaiho Publishing House for alleged tax evasion. Bokizoda insists that the charge against him was fabricated with the intention of putting the newspaper out of business. 
The crackdown on independent media outlets in Tajikistan has caught the international community's attention. In early September, Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE's representative on media freedom, called on the Tajik government to "urgently reverse the [current media] situation." He noted that in addition to Nerui Sukhan, three other independent newspapers had been forced to cease operations, along with two publishing houses. Haraszti also voiced a desire for Rakhmonov's administration to issue new broadcast licenses. 

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ENERGY

RusAl starts Rogun hydro project in Tajikistan 

Russia's biggest aluminium company, Russian Aluminium (RusAl), started completing the Rogun hydroelectric dam in Tajikistan the Tajik president's press office said, Interfax News Agency reported. 
RusAl representative Leosh Tomichev told a press conference that this will be Central Asia's second biggest hydro-plant after the Nurek dam. The dam will be 330 metres high.
Construction began in March 1981 and was suspended in 1993 because of a lack of funds and social and political problems in Tajikistan. About US$802 million had been invested in the project by that time and the total cost of the project was estimated at US$2 billion. Tajikistan signed a deal with RusAl a year ago to finance the completion of the 3,600-megawatt Rogun dam. 
The dam will have six 600-megawatt generators. RusAl estimates the costs at US$1 billion. The Rogun plant, on the Vakhsh River, will generate 23.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Investments will take 5.5 years to recoup and the first stage, will consist of a 180-metre dam and capacity for 4.5-5 billion kWh per year. It will be complete by 2010.

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FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Russia to invest 2.3bn Euro in Tajikistan 

Russia will invest some 2.3 billion Euro in Tajikistan, over the next few years, primarily in its power industry, Russian ambassador, Ramazan Abdulatipov, said, Interfax News Agency reported.
"The Russian government and UES, the Russian electricity monopoly Unified Energy System are investing over 500 million Euro in the construction of the Sangtuda and reconstruction of the Rogun hydropower plants. Major Russian companies such as RusAl and Basic Element are also planning to invest some one billion Euro here," Abdulatipov said. Russia is also planning to invest in the reconstruction of the Tajik aluminium plant and build a similar facility, he said. "I am sure that all these projects will be implemented. Russian businesses might also engage in housing construction, the development of major gold and silver mines, and projects in the agricultural sector in Tajikistan," Abdulatipov said.

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

Russia eyes military, energy cooperation with Tajikistan 

Russia wants to improve its bilateral relations with Tajikistan by developing military and energy cooperation, Interfax News Agency reported recently. 
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mikhail Kamynin, said, "The development of military cooperation is one of the priorities for Russia in Tajikistan in connection with the resumed work of the former Russian 201st motor rifle division base in Tajikistan and bilateral cooperation in protecting the Tajik-Afghan border." 
He also stressed the importance of developing cooperation in the energy sphere. Kamyin told Interfax that great attention was paid to issues concerning Russia's participation in the expansion of Tajik energy potential under the projects of joint construction of the Sangtudin and Rogun hydroelectric power plants. Russian-Tajik trade turnover growth in 2004 totalled 30.3 per cent and in the first seven months of the year, trade turnover grew 13.6 per cent year-on-year to 151 million Euro.

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