Tajikistan. According to
Countryaah, the authoritarian regime under President Emomali Rachmon was challenged at the beginning of the year
by a group of entrepreneurs who criticized corruption and
inefficiency. The group was led by former Industry Minister
Zaid Saidov, who in April announced the formation of a new
political party, New Tajikistan.
A few weeks later, Saidov was arrested and charged with a
host of crimes: fraud, bribery, abuse of position,
blackmail, polygamy, rape and sex with minors. He denied and
claimed that the regime struck against him because of the
new party. When Saidov's sympathizers demanded that he be
released, they were sentenced to short prison terms. When
the trial against Saidov began in October, he refused to
stand on the grounds that his case had not received a fair
Other regime opponents were also brought to trial. Two
men were sentenced to 20 and 15 years in prison for
membership in the militant Islamist group Jundallah. A
journalist who criticized the authorities was sentenced to
eleven years in prison for financial blackmail against a
woman. He had previously been convicted of slander and was
prohibited from working as a journalist.
During the year, the police arrested a number of students
who drove a car to their lessons. According to a human
rights organization, students have been forced in writing to
stop driving or threatened to quit their studies. There have
already been bans on mobile phones, jewelery and "daring"
clothing in schools and universities, then on the grounds
that many could not afford to get these things.
Prior to the November presidential election, there was a
growing use of social media, which made many people
independent of state-controlled information. The regime saw
the danger with this and blocked unwanted websites during
The authoritarian Rachmon, who ruled the country for over
20 years, had five candidates against him in the election.
However, the real opposition candidate was not allowed to
stand, probably because of his criticism of the system, even
though the formal reason was the lack of signatures for
registration. It was human rights activist Oinichol
Bobonazarova, nominated by a coalition with the Social
Democrats and the Islamic Renewal Party.
According to official figures, President Rachmon won with
over 83% of the vote. After the election, the president
appointed a new prime minister, Qohir Rasoulzoda, former
governor of the Sughd province.
Despite the large margin of victory, Rachmon was able to
count on social tensions in a country where about 50% of the
population lives in poverty. Nearly half of the country's
GDP comes from just over a million Tajikistanis working
abroad, mainly in the Russian Federation.