This blog has lately been much less active than it used to be. I have not, however, stopped writing about Tajikistan. Below is a brief summary of my recent posts about the country published on Global Voices Online.
In May, I published a short piece titled ‘Tajikistan: The Economics of the Drug Trade in a Poor Country‘. It is about an article run by The Economist on April 21. The article argues that massive trafficking of Afghan heroin via Tajikistan “seems to help stabilise” the country. The article triggered a conversation within Tajikistan about corruption among the country’s officials and their involvement in the drug trade.
Then, in early August, I wrote another piece for Global Voices Online, ‘Tajikistan: Female Boxer Fights Odds, Wins Olympic Bronze‘. This piece is about the reactions of Internet users in the country triggered by a bronze medal claimed by Mavzuna Chorieva, a 19-year-old female boxer, at the London Olympics.
Overall, the 2012 Summer Games offered mixed successes for Central Asian states. While the Games proved nothing short of triumph for team Kazakhstan, the success of athletes from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan was more moderate. And for Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, the Olympics were largely a disappointment. I write about it in ‘Central Asia’s Mixed Success at London Olympics‘.
More recently, I wrote about a rally in Khorog, the capital of the troubled Gorno-Badakhshan province, that turned violent after government troops shot at protesters. The tone of the post titled ‘Tajikistan: Troops Open Fire on Protesters in Volatile Province‘ can be summarized by a quote that I used there: “What kind of an idiot could kill the person at a moment when even a minor altercation may lead to a new civil war in Tajikistan?”
Finally, I wrote about a recent meeting that the mayor of Dushanbe, Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev, had with some 400 Facebook users. It appears that the mayor just wanted to use this opportunity to respond to mounting criticism on the social networking platform. Does it matter? I think it does, for it shows that at least some politicians in Tajikistan do listen to at least some concerns voiced by the public. It also matters because the Dushanbe mayor (who also serves as the chairman of the upper chamber of the parliament) is one of the country’s most prominent politicians who might potentially decide (or be allowed/provoked) to contend for president’s post. The article is titled ‘Tajikistan’s Capital Mayor Meets with Facebook Users‘.