Rebellion in Tajikistan: what was it about?
The news about the rebellion staged by the major General of Tajikistan Abdulhalim Nazarzodah shattered the post-Soviet media. It raised a number of questions as far as the current political and social situation in the country is concerned.
The deputy defense minister Abdulhalim Nazarzodah is accused of the armed attack on the Ministry of Defense and the police department in Dushanbe on the 4th of September. It is reported that 17 militants were killed during a two-week operation while Nazarsodah and his crime partners were hiding in the Ramit gorge situated not far from the city called Vahdat.
Abdulhalim Nazarzodah is a veteran of a civil war which took place in 1993-1997. He was the head of one of the Tajik opposition subdivisions which resisted the pro-government authorities led by the current president of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon. When the civil war was over, a range of various powers started incorporating into the political elite of the country. As for Abdulhalim Nazarzodah, he became the head of the military unit which was formed by the former members of the Tajik united opposition who shared Islamic beliefs. It was called “25th battalion”. The unit commander was the opposition leader Sayid Abdulloh Nuri. He was the leader of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan from 1993 to 2006.
On the 6th of September, the president of Tajikistan Emomal Rahmon declared that the militants headed by Nazarzodah had the same ideology as the members of the radical group “Islamic State”. He noted that “they had the same goals.” However, none of the rebellion participants have publicly explained their reasons for their acts. It is worth pointing out that the issue of radicalization of the youth and the law enforcement officers under the circumstances of economic devastation is one of the most crucial for the country.
The authorities declared that Nazarzodah was the member of recently forbidden party “the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan”. However, the administration of the party refused the allegations by referring to the organization charter which forbids military men to join it.
It is unclear whether Nazarzodah rebellion will be a prelude to a civil war in Tajikistan
There exist some versions of Nazarzodah rebellion motifs. According to one of them, Nazarzodah might have rose up in a rebellion to fight for his business. The newspaper “Moscow Komsomolets” cited the words of the “Union of Tajiks in Russia” Abdullo Davlatov who believed that Nazarzodah might have tried to protect his own business (bread-baking plant, bakery and a factory) from the governing elite attempts to muscle in on it. Some other experts tend to think that the country authorities started a campaign against anyone who could potentially oppose them.
It is worth reminding that Russia has a military basis in Tajikistan comprising about 7.5 thousand military men. The Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the Tajik leader. According to the Russian administration, the situation in the Central Asia gives rise to concern due to the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan and activation of the Takfiri group “Islamic State” in the region. Another potential explanation of the September events might be the attempt to implode the social and political situation in the country before the summit of the “Collective Security Treaty Organisation” which took place in Dushanbe on September 15.
All these aspects represent a real threat to the political stability of Tajikistan. The situation in the country can drift out of the authorities’ control and turn into a serious conflict.