Russia-Tajikistan: Symmetrical Disgrace
The original causes of this story are vague.
They say that Tajikistan’s special service was keen to lay hands on the very valuable Russian aircrafts that recently worked for the country’s ministry of defense. Planes are pretty good: they can fly when cold and when hot, and can easily land amid a cotton field. On the other hand, the authorities of that highland republic are pretty good at raider practices, as readily confessed by Tajikistan’s businessmen.
There is an alternative version, saying that an unrighteous trial over the Russian pilots has been an act of vengeance for conviction of Rustam Khukumov over a drug possession charges (the man is a son to the director of Tajikistan’s railroad Amonullo Khukumov who, in his turn, happens to be the father in law for the president’s daughter.
Anyway, Moscow has expressed its indignation after the trial and conviction following its failure to save the pilots from disgrace via diplomatic means.
This looks strange by itself, anyway, at least for journalists familiar with the state of the things in the region, including myself. Usually, when we talk about the “friendly” Central Asian countries, rather than say South Ossetia, Moscow prefers to pretend it does not see Russian citizens’ and Russian companies’ rights abused.
However, in this case, Russia has treated Tajikistan almost like the “unfriendly” Estonic, Georgia, or Ukraine (under Yushenko). First, Moscow was frustrated at “the gross infringements of international commitments” and “politically inspired trial”. Later, president Medvedev has even promised an “asymmetric” response, thus actually triggering mass deportation of informal labor migrants from Tajikistan (almost openly admitted by the Federal Migration Service). Over three days by now, police has been raiding railroad stations and construction sites across Russia, while migration service officials report hundreds of deportations.
Thus, after the official Dushanbe has stepped into some deep shit, Moscow followed with a huge disgrace.
Because taking revenge on the powerless migrants who have come to Russia for a piece of bread is totally shameless and low.
Question: how come illegal migrants never used to be deported before, as a matter of a regular law enforcement practices? Have they been kept on hold for such an occasion? It is even more disgustful that reports of mass deportations suspiciously look like casting pearls to xenophobic public in the face of upcoming parliamentary election.
If bosses in Kremlin are truly indignant with the behavior of their yesterday’s friend and strategic partner Rakhmon, they should have kept an eye at Tajik officials and their heirs squandering fortunes abroad instead of workers who sweep Russian streets. Outlaw millionaires from Tajikistan who arrive to Moscow in order to openly spend money made on heroine instead of half-beggar half-workers, hard working to make their living and grease palms of local police.
Instead, they should create a sort of a “persona non grata” list of corrupted officials from Dushanbe who make money exclusively thanks to their relationship with the clan of the almighty president Rakhmon.
The latter should also be reminded that some twenty years ago he used to be a chairman of a “kolkhoz”, whereas the Russian army and diplomats had considerably supported his enthronement.
Daniil Kislov, editor-in-chief. Fergana International Information Agency