What can you say about Tajiks


THE WAR IN TADJIKISTAN - Clash of Civilizations? -

The western media and the Russian press hardly notice the war in Tajikistan, although this war dwarfs the armed conflicts in Bosnia, Abkhazia and Karabakh in terms of the number of victims. And it is not only for this reason that the public should pay more attention to the events in Tajikistan. Rather, the question arises whether the war in this Central Asian country is a first example of the theses of Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington about the CollisiontheCivilleftsaoptions can serve (cf. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations ?, in: Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 3, Summer 1993, pp. 22-49).

Representatives of the Modern - Communists and Democrats - as well as the Postmodern - Nationalists and Islamists - opposite. Demokrats, Nationalists and Islamists allied against the Communisten. Nonetheless, with the help of Moscow, the communists managed to stay in power. Russian civilization prevailed over traditional Central Asian civilization. While the Islamists are waging a partisan war against the communist terror regime today, the Democrats and the Nationalists, the weakest links in this dispute, split. The supporters of the western value system (liberalism) among the democrats left the alliance with the Islamists and showed themselves willing to compromise with the other representatives of modernity in Tajikistan, the communists. a similar development occurred among the nationalists who set themselves the goal of creating a modern Tajik nation-state.

The Tajiks - and the other Central Asian peoples - are now going through a process that Western Europe completed 500 years ago and Turkey (Kemal Ataturk) 70 years ago: the formation of the nation. The Islamists are hostile to the nation-state idea, but if they want to act as a political power factor, they have to take a differentiated look at nationalist ideas. Tajik nationalism can only flourish on the basis of Islamic culture, i.e. at a distance from non-Islamic foreigners (e.g. Russians).

The Tajik warring parties assert that they are without exception in favor of democracy, pluralism and market economy, but these terms of western liberalism are just as foreign to the traditional culture of the peoples of Tajikistan as is European statism (state idea). In the artificially created "Soviet" Tajikistan there was neither a national identity nor nation-state ideas based on the Western model. And the current struggle for civilization in Tajikistan can be reduced to one Power strugglebetweenregional clans to reduce. Under the guise of the ideology of official communism, the traditional patriarchal society had survived in Tajikistan. Its main characteristics: political despotism and exploitation of the socially disadvantaged by the local elite. This elite consisted of party functionaries, administrative officials and directors of industrial and agricultural companies with their widespread relatives. You were a member of the CPSU, Russified, educated and rich. This elite was not homogeneous. It was divided into clans that controlled certain areas and shared power. In the last few decades, representatives of the northern clans have been in power, while the southern clans have acted as a kind of opposition. In summary, one can say: Tajikistan is ruled by a communist oligarchy that is divided into ethnic clans.

Conflicts in this region - also within the framework of the Soviet Union - could always be avoided through a sophisticated system of ethnic and regional equilibrium among the tribes. Without outside interference, the regional tribal princes would have long since restored balance and with it "peace" among themselves Outside interference however, transformed the power struggle of the tribes into an endless struggle for civilization, which the UN and the OSCE, as in the past in Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia, are helpless to face. Moscow’s interference, which regards Central Asia as a Russian sphere of influence, is based on Moscow’s claim to great power. It is paradoxical that President Yeltsin, as a "democrat", relies on the power of the Tajik communists to protect Russian civilization from the alleged threat of Islamic fundamentalism. The neighboring states of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan as well as the regional powers Iran, India, Pakistan and Turkey is a major player in the conflict - instead of contributing to the solution of the conflict together with Russia.

Along with Turkmenistan, Tajikistan is one of the poorest and most backward countries in Central Asia. At the Economic situation has not changed after independence. The majority of the population (70%) live in small villages and below the poverty line. Large parts of the country consist of deserts and mountain steppes. Only 6% of the land can be used for agriculture (cotton monoculture). That is why the country is dependent on food imports. The various causes of the civil war include the deterioration in the living conditions of the population - lack of housing, poor medical care, unemployment, population growth (3.5% annually) and high child mortality. The highly skilled workers and experts - Russians, Ukrainians, Jews, Koreans and Germans - have left Tajikistan. The gross domestic product fell by 31% in 1994 compared to the previous year. The fight against hyperinflation did not bring any tangible results, despite the introduction of the new Russian ruble in 1994 and a Tajik ruble in 1995. The damage caused by the civil war so far has amounted to 200 billion rubles. The foreign debt of Tajikistan in 1994 already amounted to 432 million dollars. The only export goods from Tajikistan are cotton and aluminum. There is, however, great interest in uranium deposits abroad. In the current war conditions, smuggling of enriched uranium cannot be ruled out. The only sources of income for the population of Tajikistan and the Russian military stationed there are cultivation, production and trade from or with Drugs. Tajikistan is also a transit country for drugs from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | March 1998