Tajiks Worry as Ukraine Burns

Tajiks Worry as Ukraine Burns

Far from Ukraine, Tajiks are watching events unfold in that country with concern, their sympathies mixed with a desire not to harm relations with Moscow, a powerful partner.

For many, the conflict in eastern Ukraine evokes memories of Tajikistan’s own bitter civil war in the the early 1990s.

Referring to the conflict, Tajik foreign minister Sirojiddin Aslov spoke of “the fragility of peace” and called for steps to prevent “confrontation”.

While officials are expressing themselves in extremely diplomatic, even-handed terms, others are not.

Saymiddin Dustov of the NGO Indem points to Russia’s role in both conflicts.

“At that time, Moscow ensured victory for one side [the current Tajik leadership] by supplying military equioment, among other things. About a million people were made refugees and over 150,000 were killed,” he said. “The same scenario is unfolding in Ukraine.”

As Ukraine heads into a presidential election on May 25, Shokirjon Hokimov, deputy head of the opposition Social Democratic Party in Tajikistan, believes that Russia has no interest in allowing a legitimate elected leader to emerge.

Mehrangez Tursunzoda is an IWPR contributor in Tajikistan.

This audio programme went out in Russian and Tajik on national radio stations in Tajikistan. It was produced under two IWPR projects: Empowering Media and Civil Society Activists to Support Democratic Reforms in Tajikistan, funded by the European Union; and the Human Rights Reporting, Confidence Building and Conflict Information Programme, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway.The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of either the European Union or the Norwegian foreign ministry.  

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