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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Central Asian regimes are much more stable than they seem

A referendum in Tajikistan, which resulted in “eternal reign” of President Rahmon and the possibility of transfer of power to his eldest son, was perceived by certain forces as the harbinger of a new civil war, which inevitably will involve Russia. But whether so it actually and whether or not the regimes in Central Asia could collapse at any moment?

In a referendum held in Tajikistan over the weekend, the question was asked about changing some articles of the Constitution. The amendments remove the term limit of the head of state in office, reduce the age limit for presidential candidates and prohibit the creation of political parties on national or ethnic basis. According to official data, up to 94% of the voting citizens of Tajikistan said all this resounding “Yes.

“He doesn’t know about the real problems of the country, we receive many requests, people asking for help”

Thus, in the next presidential election, which will take place already in 2020, the incumbent President Emomali Rahmon once again can put up a candidate. On the other hand, lowering the age qualification for candidates for the top post from 35 to 23 years will allow to run and his eldest son Rustam. Still Rahmon is a senior is not getting younger, although by the standards of Central Asian leaders he is almost a young man born in 1952.

The results of the referendum were clear long before the meeting, as is obvious and the results of the upcoming presidential elections, Rakhmonov who would they put forward. Nothing specifically Tajik in this story is that all Central Asian States except Kyrgyzstan, have passed this way. And the fact that in Kyrgyzstan, dynastic rule did not work, the result of the intervention of third forces and weaknesses of the then government in Bishkek. And if, for example, in Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev with his potential heirs have a hard time and some of them consistently ruins his blood, in Tajikistan, the succession went much better. Have Emomali Rahmon’s nine children (two sons and seven daughters), of whom, in addition to Rustam, in politics and public life actively involved daughter Ozoda, who is now working as head of the Executive office of his father, and previously was the first Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs.

The opposition, which in Tajikistan is represented mainly by a small group of the human rights and Pro-American orientation, pre-criticized the very idea of changing the country’s Constitution, stressing the “undemocratic” of new measures. A once-powerful Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan was banned in the last year, and no protests or unrest is not caused (private excesses around a pair of three former leaders of the IRPT does not count). So on the background of a 94% “for” in the short term it is unlikely to expect any major shocks.

Another thing is that the negative potential may be accumulated. Furthest in their forecasts that go into the threats, went to the head of the public movement “Tajik labor migrants” Karomat Sharipov, who know better in Moscow. Namely, said at a press conference that is now in Tajikistan is almost inevitable coup and civil war. “He doesn’t know about the real problems of the country, we receive many requests, people asking for help,” said Sharipov, speaking of Rahmon. “War is yet to come”, he added.

Indeed, Tajikistan is now wholly depends on what do the labor migrants, mostly in Russia (according to some, the amount of remittances sent home has already exceeded half of the GDP of the country). In this regard, Sharipova can be considered as a political figure, that does not stop to consider his statement a bluff.

The system of state power, which is created in the Central Asian States (with a number of national nuances), fairly stable, and to threaten her can only external factors, primarily the situation in Afghanistan. Also we should not dismiss the force majeure, including a mutual dislike of some people, unresolved border conflicts, and question the use of scarce region with water. But on the whole vertical of power durable, and the establishment of a dynastic system this situation will only perpetuate. No wonder amid all the cultural changes of the last decades of the Tajik scientists began to emphasize on the history of the dynasty of Samanids (IX-X century BC) that played an important role in the ethnogenesis of the Tajiks. The allusion is quite clear.

In addition, in Tajikistan instinctively afraid of confrontation. The civil war 90 years will not be forgotten for a long time, people have fear of its recurrence. And democratization (whatever was hidden behind this concept) of the state system is perceived as a threat to stability. Power, in turn, emphasizes that the stability – the key to internal security. But the opposition (and in the recent past, and now) gives too many reasons in order to demonstrate their dependence on external forces.

Of course, in an environment where the government seeks to lock in favorable situation and prolonging it for a longer time, necessary valves for steam release is not so much. In a historical perspective the negativity can spill out, but not the forms, which claimed Sharipov, and clearly not in the coming years. But it’s really the main issue in relation to contemporary Central Asia – how fast will accumulate negative reaction of the population to “dynastic” forms of government, and whether at all?

Perhaps, the catalyst can become negative developments in the economy, the more likely cause is interference, is really able to “rock” the situation in Central Asia that will become a big problem, including for Russia. But not a referendum on legislative support for the centuries-old dynasty of Rachmaninov.

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