International Trade Centre, Tajikistan

Маркази тиҷорати байналмилалӣ, лоиҳаҳо дар Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон

CESI: Tajikistan should pull out of Russia’s orbit of influence

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Source: CESI

President Rakhmon should revise country’s foreign policy and economic course in order to preserve stability in Tajikistan. Presence in the area of Russia’s influence bears fundamental risks both for political regime in Tajikistan and general security system of the country.

Dushanbe needs cooperation and focusing on strong regional partners alongside with preserving independence in customs policy determination. First Deputy Finance Minister of Tajikistan Jamoliddin Nuraliev informed about fall-off in transfer of Russian migrant workers’ funds accounting for nearly 45% of Tajikistan’s GDP. According to our estimations, this index will preserve the downward trend in future. Meanwhile, Russia is not the partner seeking for development of industrial facilities and infrastructure in Tajikistan. In October, CESI released the situation report on crippling Russian investment projects in energy sphere in this country, as well as on Russia’s intelligence agencies’ participation in supporting the opposition Group 24.

Foreign policy situation around Russia and Kremlin’s interests in the region prove the message that Russian Federation will not invest in Tajikistan’s economy. Moreover, it will be deprived of such opportunity in the mid-run.

The analysis proves that the level of economic cooperation between Tajikistan and Russia, as well as its geo-political satellites in the Eurasian Economic Union project is decreasing. For example, Tajikistan’s sales volume with 7 CIS countries has decreased starting this year. The same dynamics was observed in 2013 – reducing by 3,6% as compared to 2012.

According to statistics starting this year, a significant decrease in sales volume is observed regarding Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Armenia. Sales volume of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has reduced nearly by 80% and accounted for USD 30 millions in the first nine months of this year. 58,8% accounted for volume of trade with Armenia, and 53,2% – with Uzbekistan. But decrease in volume of trade with Uzbekistan stems from reducing energy products’ supplies from this country for political reason.

In case of Tajikistan’s integration into the EAEU, Dushanbe will not receive trade advantages, but will be isolated from the alternative markets, including the Chinese market, where Dushanbe has positive trade balance. This will be crucial for the economy, because today Tajikistan is furthering cooperation particularly with Beijing that is going to invest not less than USD 6 billion into the country over the next three years. China’s financial support will enable making compensation for the economic stagnation in Russia. Tajikistan’s entering the EAEU will result in sharp rise in prices, inflation, deterioration of social and economic situation, lowering of Dushanbe’s importance in Asia region.

Deterioration of trade relations with South Asia and crippling of some projects with Afghanistan are expected as the treaty foresees the single policy in the key economic sectors. There are risks for CASA 1000 project that Russia and Kazakhstan do not like. A railway linking China-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan is another project advocated against by Russia and Kazakhstan.

Tajikistan’s customs duties total TJS 600 millions nowadays, corresponding to 120 millions going into the country’s budget. But these duties will be collected at customs points in Belarus and Russia in case Tajikistan joins the Eurasian Union. The state of Tajik economy speaks for inexpedience and high risks for Dushanbe’s integration into the EAEU over at least next 7 years.

According to our sources, the macroeconomic indicators, sentiments inside the country, Tajiks’ membership in Taliban and the IS groupings give reasons for thinking highly of risks for Tajikistan’s authorities and readiness of part of the population to participate in a forceful scenario of escalation on the country in case of Tajikistan’s joining the EAEU. Evident deterioration of social and economic situation in the country, termination of investment flows from China and potential investments from the Middle East, crippling of infrastructure regional projects will raise tension in the society. Radical sentiments, support for extremist forces, influence of foreign terrorist groups will increase.

In the end, possibility for toppling Rakhmon’s regime is rising to the maximum. Meanwhile, the situation in Tajikistan will de destabilized and run out of control. Taking into account the ethnic composition of Tajikistan, the situation in the region and risks coming from the IS, we do not see the way to gain the situation under control in case of such scenario.

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