Category Archives: Nepotism

Tajik Authorities Combat High-Level Corruption and Narcotics Trafficking

Authorities in Tajikistan have recently announced a number of high-profile arrests on corruption and narcotics-trafficking charges. Most arrests were triggered by President Emomali Rahmon’s harsh criticism of the “corrupt” and “nepotistic” practices in the country’s military and law-enforcement sectors. During a televised government meeting on January 18, the Tajik leader lashed out at “commanders of military units and top officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] and State Committee for National Security [GKNB],” for granting privileges to their children and relatives (TV Shabakai Yakum, January 19).

Rahmon specifically warned officials against exempting their offspring from possible prosecution, including through the use of “special” car number plates. Such plates have long been used by the Tajik elites as markers of power and wealth, effectively making their owners immune from police checks (www.eurasianet.org, June 13, 2011). The “golden” numbers, such as “7777” and “8888,” have been reserved for the members of Rahmon’s family until, in early January, Tajik security agencies arrested two traffickers who attempted to smuggle almost 110 kilograms of drugs from the Afghan border to Dushanbe in a car with a “golden” number plate. Although the names of the arrested individuals have not been released, authorities announced that one of them is a son of a “retired general” and another one is a child of a “Tajik diplomat” (www.news.tj, January 27).

This incident has led Rahmon to claim that children of senior government officials are frequently involved in criminal dealings, while ordinary people see the “special” number plates and attribute these crimes to “the president’s relatives.” Following the incident, authorities detained a person who had allegedly produced and sold “fake golden numbers” in Dushanbe. Besides, police were ordered to replace all “golden” number plates with the regular ones (www.news.tj, January 14, 16, 19).
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Filed under Crime, Drugs, Justice, Nepotism, Police corruption, Tajikistan

President’s Son Named Tajikistan Football Chief

The eldest son of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon keeps trying on new hats. A panel tasked with selecting a president for Tajikistan’s Football (soccer) Federation (FFT) voted unanimously today for Rustam Emomali. This seems to be a great birthday present for Rustam, who turned 24 on December 19. Rustam previously served as vice-president of the FFT and oversaw the national football team.

Well, football is actually something that Rustam Emomali has to understand very well. He is the founder of the football club Istiqlol Dushanbe, and has both played for the team as striker and served as its captain. The club won the national championship twice over the last two years (with some fans suggesting that part of the club’s success had to do with favorable refereeing).

Hopefully, the responsibilities that come with the new post will not add too much load on Rustam, who is already pretty busy. The Tajik president’s son is in charge of fighting illegal activity as part of the Customs Service. He is also head of Tajikistan’s Youth Union and a member of the Olympic Council of Asia’s International Relations committee. In the past, Rustam headed a department at the State Committee for Investments and State Property Management and held a seat in the Dushanbe City Council.
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Filed under Authoritarianism, Nepotism, Sports, Tajikistan

Tajikistan’s 20 Most Influential People

Tajikistan’s leading political newspaper, Asia-Plus, has presented a list of the top 20 most influential people in the country. According to the newspaper, their initial idea was to compile a list of the richest people in Tajikistan, something similar to the Forbes’ list. However, Asia-Plus had to abandon this idea because it is virtually impossible to collect credible information on the wealth of Tajikistan’s “moguls”.

Consequently, the newspaper decided to ask 30 leading journalists and political and economic analysts in the country to name the most influential individuals in Tajikistan and rank them in terms on their influence on political decision-making and appointments, economics and finance, security forces, and public opinion. As a result, the Asia-Plus has compiled a list of the top 20 persons that have the power to shape the future of Tajikistan.

The list is as follows:

1. Emomali Rahmon, the President of Tajikistan. This has hardly come as a surprise to anyone. He holds an unchallenged monopoly on political power in the country, and there are no signs that this might change anytime soon.

2. Mahmadsaid Ubaydulloyev, the chairman of the upper house of Tajikistan’s Parliament (since 2000) and the mayor of Dushanbe (since 1996). Ubaydulloyev’s second place on the list is rather surprising because his influence is not always apparent.
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Filed under Authoritarianism, Nepotism, Politics, Tajikistan

Tajik Authorities Vow to Fight Nepotism

The introduction of additional legal restrictions on “family hire” in public service and the recent warnings by senior officials against nepotistic practices in government indicate that the Tajik authorities recognize the political risks stemming from nepotism. This recognition appears to be linked with the political upheavals in Kyrgyzstan and, more recently, the Arab world. However, a genuine anti-nepotism agenda of the Tajik government is unlikely because President Rahmon himself has virtually monopolized political and economic power in the hands of his family. Therefore, the government’s declared anti-nepotism crusade appears to be designed for public consumption.

BACKGROUND: On October 12, the lower chamber of Tajikistan’s parliament approved changes to the 2007 Law on Corruption. The amendments introduce stronger restrictions on “family hire” in public service by broadening the group of “close relatives” who cannot be hired by senior state officials to work in their agencies. This group now includes spouses, children, parents, brothers and sisters, as well as sons-in-law and daughters-in-law and their parents.
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Filed under Authoritarianism, Nepotism, Parliament, Political succession, Tajikistan