Tajikistan. According to Countryaah.com, Tajikistan Independence Day is September 9. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Tajikistan in April, explaining that Moscow wanted to increase its military presence in the country, to which President Imomali Rachmonov was positive. Putin said he had information on increased activity from Taliban and al-Qa’ida supporters in Afghanistan. Russia has 19,000 soldiers in Tajikistan and 11,000 of them patrol the border with Afghanistan, where large quantities of drugs are smuggled into Tajikistan en route to Europe.
Researchers warned in the summer of the risk that the large mountain lake Sarez, over 3,000 meters up in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, could break through its natural barrier and trigger a giant flood wave that would flood large inhabited areas. Sarez was created in 1911 through an earthquake, and according to researchers, an earthquake in the area could also wipe out the lake.
In January 2001, the minimum wage in Tajikistan tripled. But it is still one of the lowest in the former Soviet Union, reaching just under US $ 1 a day. It was the first time in more than 2 years that the authorities raised the minimum wage. It is estimated that 80% of Tajiks live in poverty and the average monthly salary reaches only US $ 10. Annual GDP per capita Capita is located at approx. US $ 300. Tajikistan sought to overcome the devastation of the civil war and the devastating drought that had further aggravated the country’s problems in 2000.
In September, the country’s culture minister, Abdurakhim Rakhimov, was assassinated in Dushanbe. In April, Deputy Interior Minister Habib Sanginov had been murdered.
After the attack on New York the same month, Tajikistan declared that it supported the US-led coalition against terrorism. Rakhmonov further stated that the country’s border with Afghanistan was barred for all refugees, since Tajikistan could not accept that representatives of terrorist organizations were smuggled into the country under the cover of refugees.
In February 2002, Tajikistan became the last former Soviet Republic to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. Acc. the country’s ambassador to Brussels, Sharif Rahimov, the program will help the country to modernize its armed forces.
Russia’s Minister of the Interior, Boris Gryzlov, in November 2002 deported 117 Tajik and declared that tough funds would be used against the illegal immigrants. It is believed that 1 million Tajik travels to Russia every summer in search of work.
A referendum in June, with 90% of the vote, approved a comprehensive constitutional reform. The most contentious change allows Rahmonov to stay for another double term, thus remaining 17 years in power. The reform also abolished the constitutional guarantees on the right to health and free secondary education.
The Deputy Chairman of the Islamic Rebirth Party, Shamsiddin Shamsiddinov was sentenced in July 2003 to 16 years in prison for subversive activity and “other serious criminal acts”. His party declared that it was a political rather than a religious judgment. Concerned about the rise of fundamentalism, Rahmonov arrested more than 200 members of the extremist Hezb ut-Tahrir in 2003, and confiscated “tons of subversive literature” advocating the formation of an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia.
In its March 2004 annual report on illicit drug trafficking, the UN pointed out that the 6 tonnes of heroin seized during the 2003 border on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border – 1000 times more than in 1996 – are just a vanishingly small part of the huge quantities transported from Afghanistan to Central Asia and Europe.
In July, Parliament decided to introduce a moratorium on capital punishment in the country.
In October, Russia formally opened a military base in the Tayik Mountains, replacing the base that existed from the Soviet era. Russia also took control of the space monitoring center. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally visited Tajikistan to meet with Rakhmonov, to jointly mark the deployment of Russian forces in the country. It is expected that the new base that will be home to 5,000 Russian soldiers will receive air support.
Two months later, the leader of the opposition party, the Democratic Party, Mahmadruzi Iskandarov was arrested in Moscow at the request of the Tajik state prosecutor, who accused him of being involved in terrorism, of crimes involving weapons and of corruption cases. Iskandrov’s supporters pointed to a political game instead. He would be released in April 2005 – two months after the February parliamentary elections. The election was overwhelmingly won by the sitting government, but did not have much to do with a democratic election. Iskandrov was probably released in Moscow, but was later arrested again in Tajikistan. In October, he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. The opposition pointed out the political motives behind the verdict.