Tajikistan (GPS: 39 00 N, 71 00 E) located in Central Asia, west of China, south of Kyrgyzstan. The country’s area measurements are total: 144,100 sq km; land: 141,510 sq km, water: 2,590 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly smaller than Wisconsin. The total irrigated land is 7,420 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of Tajikistan: Landlocked (enclosed or nearly enclosed by land). The highest point, Qullai Ismaili Somoni (formerly Communism Peak), was the tallest mountain in the former USSR.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Dushanbe’s GPS coordinates are 38 33 N 68 46 E. Dushanbe’s local time is 10 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+5.
The Tajik people came under Russian imperial rule in the 1860s and 1870s, but Russia’s hold on Central Asia weakened following 1917. At that time, bands of indigenous guerrillas (called “Basmachi”) fiercely contested Bolshevik control of the area, which was not fully reestablished until 1925. Tajikistan was first created as an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan in 1924, but in 1929 the USSR designated Tajikistan a separate republic and transferred to it much of present-day Sughd province. Ethnic Uzbeks form a substantial minority in Tajikistan and ethnic Tajiks, an even larger minority in Uzbekistan.
Tajikistan became independent in 1991 following the Soviet Union’s breakup and experienced a civil war between political, regional, and religious factions from 1992 to 1997. Though the country holds general elections for both the presidency (once every seven years) and parliament (once every five years), observers note an electoral system rife with irregularities and abuse, with neither free nor fair results. President Emomali RAHMON, who came to power in 1994 during the civil war, used an attack planned by a disaffected deputy defense minister in 2015 to ban the last major opposition political party in Tajikistan.
In December 2015, RAHMON further strengthened his position by having himself declared “Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of the Nation,” with limitless terms and lifelong immunity through constitutional amendments ratified in a referendum. The referendum also lowered the minimum age required to run for president from 35 to 30, making RAHMON’s son Rustam EMOMALI, the current mayor of Dushanbe’s capital city, eligible to run for president in 2020.
The country remains the poorest in the former Soviet sphere. Tajikistan became a member of the WTO in March 2013. However, its economy continues to face significant challenges, including dependence on remittances from Tajikistani migrant laborers working in Russia and Kazakhstan, pervasive corruption, opiate trade, and other destabilizing violence emanating from neighboring Afghanistan.
Tajikistan has endured several domestic security incidents since 2010, including armed conflict between government forces and local strongmen in the Rasht Valley and between government forces and criminal groups in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. Tajikistan suffered its first ISIS-claimed attack in 2018, when assailants attacked a group of Western bicyclists with vehicles and knives, killing four.
Tajikistan’s names conventional long form: Republic of Tajikistan, traditional short form: Tajikistan, local long form: Jumhurii Tojikiston, local short state: Tojikiston, former: Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, etymology: the Persian suffix “-stan” means “place of” or “country,” so the word Tajikistan means “Land of the Tajik [people].” The Persian suffix “-stan” means “place of” or “country,” so the word Tajikistan means “Land of the Tajik people.”
Tajikistan’s terrain is a typically mountainous region dominated by the Trans-Alay Range in the north and the Pamirs in the southeast; western Fergana Valley in the north, Kofarnihon and Vakhsh Valleys in the southwest. The country’s mean elevation: 3,186 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Syr Darya (Sirdaryo) 300 m, highest point: Qullai Ismoili Somoni 7,495 m.
The country’s general climate; mid-latitude continental, hot summers, mild winters: semiarid to polar in the Pamir Mountains.
The total number of border countries is 4, Afghanistan 1,357 km, China 477 km, Kyrgyzstan 984 km, Uzbekistan 1,312 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Tajikistan’s coastline is 0 km (landlocked country), while its marital claims are: none. Waterways: 200 km (along Vakhsh River) (2011). Land use: agricultural land: 34.7%; arable land 6.1%; permanent crops 0.9%; permanent pasture 27.7%; forest: 2.9%; other: 62.4% (2011 estimate).
The population in Tajikistan 8,604,882 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 26.8% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: DUSHANBE (capital) 822,000 (2015), while Tajikistan has the country’s population is concentrated at lower elevations, with perhaps as much as 90% of the people living in valleys; overall density increases from east to west. Their spoken languages are Tajik (official language), Russian widely used in government and business. Note: different ethnic groups talk to Uzbek, Kyrgyz, and Pashto.
Main religions in Tajikistan are Sunni Muslim 85%, Shia Muslim 5%, other 10% (2003 estimate). The nation uses civil law system. It is a(n) presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day (or National Day), 9 September (1991).
Economic overview for the country: Tajikistan is a poor, mountainous country with an economy dominated by minerals extraction, metals processing, agriculture, and reliance on remittances from citizens working abroad. Mineral resources include silver, gold, uranium, antimony, tungsten, and coal. The industry consists mainly of small obsolete factories in food processing and light industry, substantial hydropower facilities, and a large aluminum plant – currently operating well below its capacity. The 1992-97 civil war severely damaged an already weak economic infrastructure and caused a sharp decline in industrial and agricultural production.
Today, Tajikistan is the poorest among the former Soviet republics. Because less than 7% of the land area is arable and cotton is the predominant crop, Tajikistan imports approximately 70% of its food. Since the end of the civil war, the country has pursued half-hearted reforms and privatizations in the economic sphere. Still, its poor business climate remains a hindrance to attracting foreign investment. Some experts estimate the value of narcotics transiting Tajikistan is equivalent to 30%-50% of GDP. Because of a lack of employment opportunities in Tajikistan, more than one million Tajik citizens work abroad – roughly 90% in Russia – supporting families back home through remittances that in 2017 were equivalent to nearly 35% of GDP.
Tajikistan’s large remittances from migrant workers in Russia exposes it to monetary shocks. Tajikistan often delays devaluation of its currency for fear of inflationary pressures on food and other consumables. Recent slowdowns in the Russian and Chinese economies, low commodity prices, and currency fluctuations have hampered economic growth. The dollar value of remittances from Russia to Tajikistan dropped by almost 65% in 2015, and the government spent nearly $500 million in 2016 to bail out the country’s still troubled banking sector. Tajikistan’s growing public debt, currently about 50% of GDP, could result in financial difficulties. Remittances from Russia increased in 2017; however, bolstering the economy somewhat. China owns about 50% of Tajikistan’s outstanding debt. Tajikistan has borrowed heavily to finance investment in the country’s vast hydropower potential.
In 2016, Tajikistan contracted with the Italian firm Salini Impregilo to build the Roghun dam over a 13-year period for $3.9 billion. A 2017 Eurobond has primarily funded Roghun’s first phase, after which sales from Roghun’s output are expected to support the rest of its construction. The government has not ruled out issuing another Eurobond to generate additional funding for its second phase.
Natural resources of Tajikistan: hydropower, some petroleum, uranium, mercury, brown coal, lead, zinc, antimony, tungsten, silver, gold.
Main export partners for Tajikistan, Asia are Turkey 19.7%, Kazakhstan 17.6%, Switzerland 13.7%, Iran 8.7%, Afghanistan 7.5%, Russia 5.1%, China 4.9%, Italy 4.8% (2015) for aluminum, electricity, cotton, fruits, vegetable oil, textiles, while the main import partners for the country are: China 42.3%, Russia 17.9%, Kazakhstan 13.1%, Iran 4.7% (2015) for petroleum products, aluminum oxide, machinery and equipment, foodstuffs.
When you visit this country in Asia, consider the natural hazards in Tajikistan: Earthquakes, floods, while infectious diseases are a degree of risk: high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vectorborne disease: malaria (2016). Also, note that Tajikistan faces the following environmental issues: Areas of high air pollution from motor vehicles and industry, water pollution from agricultural runoff and disposal of untreated industrial waste and sewage, Poor management of water resources, Soil erosion, Increasing levels of soil salinity.