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

Russians Maintain Tenuous Homeland Link

Shahodat Saibnazarova reports from the Tajik capital on a conference of Russians from across Central Asia.
The meeting reflected differing aspirations presents among Russians, whether keeping the language alive, maintaining cultural traditions, or seeking funding for a particular community group.

Nearly two decades after the breakdown of the Soviet Union created new states and borders, it is Central Asia’s elderly Russians who are hardest hit by the changes. Many have no family left in the country, and they often apply for Russian passports not because they could ever afford to go there, but simply to maintain a tenuous link.

Others see a positive role for their community, serving as a bridge between Moscow and the country they now live in.

Tajikistan has some 40,000 ethnic Russians, plus around 10,000 Tatars, Bashkirs and Ossetians who are not originally from Central Asia and are included in the concept of “Russian-speaking population”