Staunton, Dec. 28 – Now that Vladimir Putin is focusing on Tajikistan because of developments in Afghanistan and the Pamirs (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/02/putin-commits-to-military-build-up-in.html), some in Moscow are focusing on the ethnic Russian community in that Central Asian republic as a potential ally.
But that is a weak reed. In 1989, there were 388,000 ethnic Russians in Tajikistan; now, there are fewer than 19,000; then, they formed half of the population of Dushanbe; now they form only two percent of its residents (zen.yandex.ru/media/centralasia/skolko-russkih-ostalos-v-tadjikistane-i-pochemu-oni-ne-uehali-6203cf1b3084fa48330c4899?&).
The reason for this decline, the Zen Yandex Central Asia page says, is quite simple. After 1991, Tajikistan descended into a violent civil war and those who could lead did, including nearly all working age Russians and their children. Only the elderly and those who had nowhere to go or did not want to change their lives in their declining years remained.
It is noteworthy that while there are few Russians on the streets of the Tajik capital, they form a large fraction of those in the rest homes there, the page says. But there are a few new Russians in Tajikistan -- the families of Russian troops at the military base there, some who like the climate and work remotely, and athletes who can be on the Tajik national team but can’t make the Russian one.