The recent terror attack in Moscow has been used as a pretext for ramping up security measures in the EU, particularly in France and Italy. It is unclear why. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that long-simmering problems in Tajikistan have been festering without being addressed effectively. Quick thinking suggests the need to take coherent and coordinated action. This could be undertaken at several levels, requiring a task force in the Tajik President’s administration to ensure effective follow-up so that past disappointments do not repeat themselves.

What could be done to stabilize the situation in this small central Asian country bordering Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and China speaking an Iranian language?

  1. Action Plan on Tajikistan

First, the regional organizations in Central Asia must be strengthened to ensure they make a difference and promote economic integration. Lead partners: EU, Russia & Kazakhstan.

Second, the SCO Center on Anti-Terrorism must be strengthened through a nonpartisan study to maximize synergies, not just prolong measures grafted onto Chinese interests with Uzbekistan. A Contact group consisting of Russia, The US, Dushanbe, China, the EU, India, and Uzbekistan could be formed to ensure effective action against anti-terrorists beginning with Hizb-ut-Tahiria but not excluded from it.

Third, an IMO study is needed on the situation of migrants in Russia, China, and elsewhere and on the causes of push-pull factors inside Tajikistan and how to ameliorate their lot.

Fourth, an action plan to fight organised crime and forging an anti drug strategy must be formulated and executed with Europol as lead partner.

Fifth, Frontex could consider teaming up with relevant implementation partners and regional actors to strengthen the border management police in cooperation with Russia and China, which are already present and assist in patrolling.

Sixth, an Economic Development Plan should be hatched with China as a  lead partner in cooperation with the Tajik government.

Seventh, governance must be strengthened considerably, and the local strongman be convinced to refine his administration’s ways.

Eight, a political initiative on the Fergana Valley must be launched with Russia, Turkey, and Iran as lead partners.

Ninth, an anti-corruption package encompassing laws, institution-building needs, and policies must be developed by Transparency International and implemented promptly.

Tenth, to add perspective, a package promoting the role of women in society and business and people-to-people programs could be hatched to promote exchange and social mobility between ethnic groups and prodding outlook by the youth is responded to.

To sum up: The international society has high hopes of reform in Central Asia. It now also has an interest in ensuring peace and stability in Tajikistan. While distracted by a slew of other problems, it could be worthwhile to contain conflict and do something about the challenges and oppor-tunities in this turnkey country in a region of contact and collaboration between Great Powers. If Turkey has been found wanting, conclusions must be made, and consequences drawn. Implementing this package should proceed with any discussion on linking Turkmenistan and India through pipeline politics. No changes are foreseen to the swap agreements between Turkmenistan and Iran.

The EU must look beyond its policies’ projections, address the Tajik government’s real needs, and partner up.

The onus is on Russia to conduct a systematic study and analysis into how the living and work conditions in Russia for Tajik migrants facilitate radicalization.

2. The current policy of Russia on Tajik migrants

As of recent years, Tajik migrants have been significantly impacted by Russia’s evolving migration policies. Here are some key points:

  1. Increased Migration to Russia:
  1. Over 3 million Tajik citizens were officially registered in Russia in 2021, a record number.
  2. Approximately 2.4 million Tajik nationals stated “work” as their reason for entering Russia, constituting about one-quarter of Tajikistan’s entire population.
  3. While seasonal workers form the majority, an increasing number of Tajiks seek permanent resettlement in Russia due to unemployment and poverty in Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries.
  4. Relaxation of Migration and Citizenship Requirements:
  1. Russia has been easing its migration and citizenship rules, particularly for nationals from former Soviet republics.
  2. The government recognizes that economic growth is impossible without migrant labor, as Russia’s population is declining.
  3. Central Asia serves as a significant foreign source for Russia’s workforce
  4. Legal Challenges and Exploitation:
  1. Tajiks can legally enter Russia without a visa, but the residence permit system (propiska) makes it challenging for them to live and work legally.
  2. Police often demand bribes, and employers may refuse to pay already low-compensated migrant workers after services have been rendered.
  3. While some Tajik migrant workers become fully legalized Russian citizens, most do not pursue this option.
  4. Travel Restrictions During the Pandemic:
  1. Since March 2020, Tajik migrant workers have been unable to travel to Russia due to a travel ban.
  2. Many remained unemployed in Tajikistan, as the local labor market cannot provide sufficient jobs, even during better economic times
  3. Exorbitant Airfares as a Barrier:
  1. Although Russia has opened its borders to Tajik migrants, high airfares have prevented many laborers from entering the country.
  2. The cost of flights remains a significant challenge for those seeking employment opportunities in Russia

In summary, while Russia’s policies have facilitated migration for Tajik workers, challenges persist in terms of legal status, exploitation, and access to affordable travel. Collaborative efforts are essential to address these issues and create a more supportive environment for Tajik migrants in Russia

3. Where do Tajiks work in Russia ?

Tajik migrants play a crucial role in Russia’s labor force, contributing significantly to the country’s economy. Here are the main sectors where Tajik migrants typically find employment:

  1. Construction:
  1. Roughly 90% of Tajik migrants in Russia work in the construction industry.
  2. They are involved in various construction projects, including building infrastructure, residential complexes, and commercial buildings.
  3. These jobs often involve physically demanding work and long hours.
  4. Janitorial and Maintenance Services:
  1. Many Tajik migrants work as janitors, cleaners, and maintenance staff.
  2. They contribute to maintaining public spaces, residential buildings, and offices.
  3. These roles are essential for keeping cities clean and functional.
  4. Agriculture:
  1. Some Tajik migrants work in agriculture, particularly during seasonal harvests.
  2. They engage in tasks such as planting, harvesting, and tending to crops.
  3. Agriculture provides employment opportunities in rural areas and contributes to food production.
  4. Other Labor-Intensive Jobs:
  1. Tajik migrants may also find work in factories, warehouses, and manufacturing plants.
  2. These jobs often involve manual labor and contribute to various industries, including textiles, food processing, and logistics.
  3. Informal and Low-Skilled Jobs:
  1. Due to language barriers and limited formal education, many Tajik migrants take up low-skilled or informal jobs.
  2. These include street vending, small businesses, and odd jobs.
  3. Domestic Work:
  1. Some Tajik women work as domestic helpers, providing cleaning, cooking, and childcare services in Russian households.
  2. Domestic work is often less regulated and can be challenging due to long hours and low pay.

It’s important to recognize that Tajik migrants face various challenges, including exploitation, low wages, and sometimes unsafe working conditions. Despite these difficulties, their remittances play a significant role in Tajikistan’s economy, supporting families back home and contributing to the country’s GDP.

4. How could Russia improve the situation for Tajiks in Russia ?

Improving the working conditions for Tajik migrants in various sectors is crucial for their well-being and overall social and economic stability. Here are some actionable steps to enhance their conditions:

  1. Legal Protections and Awareness:
    • Strengthen labor laws: Ensure that Tajik migrants are aware of their rights and protections under Russian labor laws. Provide accessible information in multiple languages.
    • Educate migrants: Conduct awareness campaigns to inform migrants about their rights, how to report violations, and where to seek legal assistance.
  2. Health and Safety Measures:
    • Workplace safety: Enforce safety regulations in construction, agriculture, and other sectors. Provide protective gear and training.
    • Healthcare access: Facilitate access to healthcare services for Tajik migrants. Establish clinics or mobile health units near migrant communities.
  3. Fair Wages and Payment Transparency:
    • Minimum wage enforcement: Ensure that Tajik migrants receive at least the minimum wage set by law.
    • Transparent payment systems: Implement digital payment methods to prevent wage theft and ensure timely payments.
  4. Housing and Living Conditions:
    • Safe housing: Collaborate with employers to provide decent living conditions for migrants. Address overcrowding and unsanitary environments.
    • Affordable housing: Explore affordable housing options near workplaces to reduce commuting time and expenses.
  5. Language and Cultural Integration:
    • Language classes: Offer language courses to help migrants communicate effectively with employers and colleagues.
    • Cultural orientation: Provide cultural sensitivity training to employers and coworkers to foster understanding and respect.
  6. Psychosocial Support:
    • Counseling services: Establish counseling centers to address mental health issues faced by migrants due to isolation, discrimination, or stress.
    • Community support networks: Create community spaces where migrants can connect, share experiences, and support each other.
  7. Anti-Discrimination Measures:
    • Zero tolerance: Strictly enforce anti-discrimination policies in workplaces. Address any discriminatory behavior promptly.
    • Reporting mechanisms: Set up anonymous reporting channels for migrants to report discrimination or harassment.
  8. Skills Development and Career Advancement:
    • Skills training: Provide vocational training to enhance migrants’ skills and employability.
    • Career pathways: Create opportunities for career growth and advancement within sectors.
  9. Collaboration with Employers and Trade Unions:
    • Engage employers: Encourage employers to adopt fair labor practices voluntarily. Recognize and reward responsible employers.
    • Trade unions: Strengthen trade unions’ role in advocating for migrants’ rights and negotiating better conditions.
  10. Monitoring and Evaluation:
    • Regular assessments: Conduct periodic assessments of working conditions, migrant satisfaction, and compliance with regulations.
    • Feedback loops: Involve migrants in evaluating programs and policies to ensure effectiveness.

Remember that a holistic approach involving government agencies, employers, civil society organizations, and international partners is essential. By prioritizing the well-being of Tajik migrants, we can create a more just and equitable society

4. How can the employers be convinced to improve working conditions ?

Encouraging employers to adopt fair labor practices is essential for creating a just and equitable work environment. Here are some strategies:

  1. Education and Awareness:
    • Workshops and Training: Organize workshops and training sessions for employers on labor laws, workers’ rights, and ethical practices.
    • Case Studies: Share real-life examples of companies that have successfully implemented fair labor practices.
    • Highlight Benefits: Emphasize the long-term benefits of fair practices, such as improved employee morale, productivity, and reputation.
  2. Incentives and Recognition:
    • Certifications: Introduce certifications or labels for businesses that adhere to fair labor standards.
    • Public Recognition: Celebrate and publicly recognize companies that prioritize fair practices.
    • Tax Incentives: Offer tax breaks or other financial incentives to companies that meet specific criteria.
  3. Collaboration with Trade Unions and NGOs:
    • Partnerships: Collaborate with trade unions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote fair practices.
    • Joint Initiatives: Develop joint initiatives that involve employers, workers, and civil society organizations.
  4. Transparency and Accountability:
    • Reporting Requirements: Mandate regular reporting on labor practices, wages, and working conditions.
    • Audits: Conduct independent audits to assess compliance with fair labor standards.
    • Whistleblower Protection: Ensure protection for employees who report violations.
  5. Supply Chain Responsibility:
    • Supplier Engagement: Encourage companies to extend fair practices to their supply chains.
    • Supplier Audits: Regularly audit suppliers to verify compliance with labor standards.
  6. Fair Compensation and Benefits:
    • Living Wages: Advocate for wages that cover basic needs and allow for a decent standard of living.
    • Benefits: Ensure access to health insurance, paid leave, and retirement benefits.
  7. Work-Life Balance and Well-Being:
    • Flexible Hours: Promote flexible work arrangements to support work-life balance.
    • Mental Health Support: Offer resources for stress management and mental well-being.
  8. Promote Diversity and Inclusion:
    • Equal Opportunities: Ensure equal opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity, or background.
    • Anti-Discrimination Policies: Implement and enforce policies against discrimination.
  9. Leadership Commitment:
    • Lead by Example: Encourage top management to demonstrate commitment to fair practices.
    • Integrate Values: Embed fair labor practices into the company’s mission and values.
  10. Public Pressure and Consumer Awareness:
    • Consumer Influence: Educate consumers about fair labor practices and encourage them to support ethical companies.
    • Boycotts and Campaigns: Publicize cases of unfair practices and mobilize public opinion.

Remember that change requires collective effort. By engaging employers, workers, and stakeholders, we can create workplaces where fairness, respect, and dignity prevail.


Addressing the challenges faced by Tajik migrants in Russia requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach. Here are some key elements for a joint Russian-Tajik action plan:

  1. Radicalization Prevention:
    • Establish programs to counter radicalization among Tajik migrants. This includes education, community engagement, and promoting moderate religious discourse.
    • Collaborate with religious leaders, community organizations, and educational institutions to raise awareness about the risks of radicalization.
    • Monitor online platforms and social media channels to identify and address extremist content targeting Tajik migrants.
  2. Improving Living and Work Conditions:
    • Advocate for better housing conditions, access to clean water, sanitation, and electricity for Tajik migrants.
    • Encourage Russian employers to provide safe and hygienic living quarters for migrant workers.
    • Ensure that migrants have access to healthcare, legal assistance, and social services.
  3. Compliance with International Conventions:
    • Implement and enforce international labor standards, including those outlined by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
    • Ensure that Tajik migrants are aware of their rights and protections under international conventions.
    • Collaborate with relevant organizations to monitor and report on compliance with these conventions.
  4. Halt Recruitment to the Russian Army:
    • Work towards an agreement that prevents the recruitment of Tajik migrants into the Russian armed forces.
    • Explore alternative ways for Tajik citizens to serve their country without compromising their livelihoods in Russia.
  5. Minimizing Abusive Behavior by Employers:
    • Strengthen labor inspections to prevent exploitation and abusive practices by employers.
    • Establish mechanisms for reporting and addressing cases of mistreatment, harassment, or non-payment of wages.
    • Provide legal assistance to Tajik migrants facing workplace abuse.
  6. Decent Salaries and Working Hours:
    • Advocate for fair wages that reflect the cost of living in Russia.
    • Collaborate with Russian employers to ensure that Tajik migrants receive timely and adequate payment for their work.
    • Monitor working hours to prevent excessive overtime and ensure a healthy work-life balance.
  7. Financial Allocation:
    • Allocate the proposed 200 million Euros to fund initiatives related to the above elements.
    • Prioritize projects that directly benefit Tajik migrants and enhance their well-being.

Remember that successful implementation will require close cooperation between the Russian and Tajik governments, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector. By addressing these issues collectively, we can create a more supportive environment for Tajik migrants in Russia.


The Tajik-Russian conundrum call for a multifaceted response involving several partners and the Tajik and Russian government in the driving seat. The construction business gives problems in most countries. Still, the terror attack in Moscow constitutes a golden opportunity for a sustained effort to address longstanding challenges in this small mountainous country between China, Afghanistan, Kigizistan and Uzbekistan. This requires a multidimensional approach at both national and international level and clear thinking.

The European Union is doing good deeds and focusing on connectivity and water-related issues. This gives air in this corner of the world, but no real difference on the ground is possible without the sustained determination, attention and leadership of the Tajik president, supported by society and business and the various ethnic groups. NewRuz is a good time for the conduct of a profound discussion with the people and to reconnect how to imrove the economy and the education and the sustainability of teh Tajik enterprise. government fo rthe people and by the people or at the very least accountale and transparent government is the departure point for redressing the Tajik-Russia relationship. It starts and ends in Dushanbe.

Upon push-ups and consolidation, India should start implementing its bilateral cooperation agreement with Dshanbe, and review and strengthen its investment polcies in Central Asia.






https://adcmemorial.org/en/news/from-tajikistan-to-russia-vulnerability-andabuse-of-migrant-workers-and-their -families/?