The expert explained what dangers the IRPT’s activities in the Republic were posing and why the agreements dating back to the 1990s had been broken.
The Tajikistan authorities continue fighting the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), which is banned in the country. In early February, the court sentenced in absentia the leader of this organisation Muhiddin Kabiri. He was found guilty on several counts, but Themis exposed no details.
It should be noted that now the IRPT has a small number of supporters in the Republic. Why was Kabiri sentenced only just? The party has been banned in Tajikistan for several years. A political scientist Rustam Jalilov stepped back in history and described the internal political situation in Tajikistan. He commented on repressive actions against the IRPT to CentralAsia.news.
The balance of power has gone
The expert gave an overview of the history before commenting on the actions taken by the current authorities of the Republic. It is about the Civil War in Tajikistan, during which the incumbent President Emomali Rahmon came to power. According to the political scientist, the current regime cannot be considered completely independent. Jalilov believes that Rahmon’s ascent and the signing of the agreements were linked directly with Russia’s political strategy.
“Rahmon came to power over 25 years ago, at the end of the Civil War, as a compromise between those who supported the Popular Front and those who later became known as the United Tajik Opposition. In 1997, a peace agreement was signed under the auspices of the Russian Federation. The document not only provided for the ceasefire, but also determined the place of each of the parties to the conflict in independent Tajikistan,” our interlocutor said.
Rustam Jalilov recalled that the IRPT’s status was completely different in 1997. Its members served in Parliament and held posts in government bodies. Globally, the party had its electorate and specific goals in the social and political life of the Republic.
In 2015, the party’s activities were made unlawful in the country. Our interlocutor cites the change of political figures in Russia and the ‘increased appetite of the ruling regime’ among the reasons. The Soviet practices and mentality appeared to be more flexible and pragmatic.
“It is worth remembering that the peace was reached through Moscow’s involvement. In 1997, there were certain forces with political plans in Russia, the people who had gained their experience and knowledge in the USSR. The concept of the balance of power was not alien to them. They understood that it was impossible to stake on only one side in the conflict in Tajikistan. That is why politicians developed options for compromise that led to those peace agreements,” the interlocutor emphasised.
The political scientist said the denunciation of the agreement of the 1990s marked the incipient persecution of the IRPT. He noted that Moscow had nothing against such a course of action of the Tajikistan authorities. This is due to the change of faces at the highest levels of politics in the Russian Federation, where, instead of a compromise and balance of power, straightforwardness and a stake in one leader have became the basis.
What makes Rahmon worry
The President of Tajikistan is looking for the dynastic rule in the Republic. To that end, he is solidifying his son Rustam’s power, the political scientist emphasised. However, the young politician is a weak figure; he will easily fall behind in a real struggle. Jalilov noted that the precarious position of Rustam Emomali was far from the most important thing that was making the President worry. According to the expert, the situation within society is really heating up.
“Present-day Tajikistan is latently seething. This is not only because many migrants, who are unable leave to work due to lockdown, are sitting in their homeland. This is the consequences of long years of politicians’ actions, such as the ‘clearance’ of business for the entourage – an inner circle of people. I’m talking about those who can do big business and own big property,” the interlocutor said.
According to the political scientist, the mood of the people is such that any political force capable of asserting itself and “channel civic activism” can instigate unrest, which will be lethal for Rahmon’s regime. External curators’ support will not help the President. People were tired of a severe economic hardship, the political scientist noted.
“Even the legal field of politics is in disrepair. Politicians who are raise their head face repression and prosecution. The Deputy Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan that is not as authoritative as the IRPT has been sentenced recently. Apparently, the leaders had raised their voices,” the expert noted.
Rustam Jalilov believes that the current regime is aware of the dangers the IRPT is posing to it. The expert has no doubts that this political organisation can play leading roles if the protest movement in Tajikistan gains momentum. This fact appeared to be understood also by the President and his entourage.