Tajikistan first came under the Soviet Union's rule in the middle of the 19th century. This rule was then reestablished in 1925, following the Russian Revolution. In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved, resulting in Tajikistan's independence. Today, Tajikstan’s population contains a number of minority groups, including Uzbeks – who constitute a fifth of the population – and Russians.
After Tajikistan became independent, the country went through an intense period of civil war between the Moscow-backed government and the opposing Islamic groups. Nearly 50,000 people were killed, and more than one-tenth of the population fled the country. The civil war ended in 1997 after the UN intervened for a peace agreement.
After the start of the war in Afghanistan in 2001, Tajikistan was accused of allowing Islamic rebels to maintain training camps on its land, which Tajikistan has firmly denied. In addition, drug smugglers from Afghanistan illegally pass through Tajikistan on their way to Russia and the West. The resulting skirmishes have become a concern for Tajikistan.
Emomali Sharipovich Rakhmon became the president of Tajikistan after the resignation of Rahmon Nabiyev, the first post-Soviet leader. In 2006, Rakhmon won a third term to the office, but international observers maintain that the elections were not free and fair. The opposing parties boycotted the elections. The president does not tolerate such dissent. Currently his People’s Democratic Party holds most of the seats in the country’s parliament.
Tajikistan is a poor country, relying heavily on Russian aid. Still, Tajikistan has joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace and now is taking steps toward World Trade Organization membership.
Sources: BBC, International Crisis Group, CIA World Factbook.
Republic of Tajikistan
Form of Government:
Year of Independence:
1991 (from Soviet Union)
Sunni Muslim 85%, Shi’a Muslim 5%, other 10% (2003 est.)
143,100 sq km (55,251 sq miles)
Tajik (official), Russian (widely used in government and business), Uzbek
62 years (men), 69 years (women) (2009)
1 Tajik somoni = 100 dirams
Aluminum, electricity, cotton, fruits, vegetable oil, textiles
GDP - Per Capita (PPP):
$2,100 (2008 est.)
International Dialing Code: