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Date: Sun, 4 Feb 1996 10:51:20 EST
Sender: Former Soviet Republic - Central Asia Political Discussion List <CENASIA@VM1.MCGILL.CA>
From: "Kemlin Furley FURLEY@unhcr.ch" <arichter@SOROSNY.ORG>
Subject: Tajikistan Situation
To: Multiple recipients of list CENASIA <CENASIA@VM1.MCGILL.CA>

Tajikistan Situation

Dialog on CenAsia list, February 1996

Date: Sun, 4 Feb 1996 10:51:20 EST
From: "Kemlin Furley FURLEY@unhcr.ch" <arichter@SOROSNY.ORG>

I follow John Schoeberlein-Engel's analysis, but would like to respond to his final statement: "The problems are fundamentally rooted in power politics, not ethnic relations." If I understand this correctly, I would suggest a somewhat different reading of the recent events.

As he suggests, those knowledgeable about the situation in Tajikistan acknowledge that there are several layers of motivation involved: power politics, yes, but regional and ethnic competition, as well.

While Boimatov may or may not be Uzbek, he has been residing in Uzbekistan and crossed into Tajikistan from Uzbekistan and may be speaking for Uzbek interests (whether internally or externally). An example of the link between Boimatov and Uzbek dissatisfaction with Rakhmonov's rule is Boimatov's explicit charge, reported in the mass media to the effect that there has been a "Kuliabization of power in Tajikistan." One of Boimatov's demands has been that Kuliabi ministers in the current government be replaced. The fact that Boimatov crossed into Tajikistan from Uzbekistan with weapons and equipment suggests that some authority in Uzbekistan may have lent assistance to this effort. Uzbeks make up nearly 25% of Tajikistan and as such should have a voice and be represented in national affairs. But irresponsible armed threats and reckless displays of power which bring the country to the brink of crisis merit scrutiny, especially given Tajikistan's recent history. I think in this case, the facts point to motivating factors that go beyond than power politics.

Anthony Richter

Date: Sun, 4 Feb 1996 11:27:51 -0500
From: Schoeberlein-Engel <schoeber@HUSC.HARVARD.EDU>

In response to Anthony Richter's comments, I would like to clarify. In saying that the problems of Tajikistan are not rooted in ethnic relations, one must of course acknowledge that 1) the conflict has had a profound impact on ethnic relations, because 2) political aspirations have often been pursued though efforts to mobilize people along ethnic or *regional* lines. When people are disenfranchized or promoted, killed or protected because they belong to one group or another, it is inevitable that they will behave as if their primary political interest is ethnic or regional.

However, if Boimatov entered Tajikistan after receiving support and endorsement from the government of Ozbekistan, I would consider this a matter of power politics. If his primary motivation is dissatisfaction with the Kolabi leadership's broad program of placing their loyal followers from Kolab region in positions of power throughout the country, this again is not so much a matter of ethnic relations but of power, and it is doubtless a disatisfaction felt not only by Ozbeks in Tajikistan but also by representatives of many ethnic groups and regions throughout the country.

John Schoeberlein-Engel