Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Are Returning Migrants Behind Tajik Crime Wave?

The recent murder of a currency trader in the capital Dushanbe has led some to point the finger at Tajik workers forced to return home because of the global economic crisis.
The man, working in one of the city’s many currency exchange shops, was killed by someone recently returned from Russia, although investigators now believe the motive was a personal grudge rather than theft.

Nevertheless, the case has raised concerns about the role of returning workers as it comes after a spate of armed robberies carried out for financial gain.

Interior ministry spokesman Mahmadullo Sadulloev says the crime rate for January-September showed a 10 per cent increase on the previous year.

It remains unclear whether returning migrants are partly or wholly responsible for the rise.

People returning from Russia and other countries where employment opportunities for foreign labour have contracted sharply face the prospect of unemployment back in Tajikistan, or at best a job paying a fraction of what they would have earned abroad.

Migration service spokesman Rajabbek Iliosov says that while some 540,000 Tajikistan nationals went abroad in the first nine months of this year, 370,000 people were recorded as returning to the country.

More IWPR's Global Voices