Staunton, Mar. 18 – Officials in Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries have told editors not to comment on the war in Ukraine lest they say anything that might offend Moscow to the point of Russia deciding to expel the hundreds of thousands of Central Asian migrant workers now in the Russian Federation.
More than a million Tajiks now work in Russia; and if they were expelled, the Tajik economy would almost certainly collapse. Consequently, Dushanbe wants to go out of its way not to offend Moscow, although it certainly did so by not taking Russia’s position at the UN General Assembly.
The risk that Moscow might decide to expel Central Asian migrant workers is all too great given the rising tide of anti-immigrant attitudes among many Russians and the Kremlin’s desire to propitiate its own population. But Moscow may be constrained because if the Central Asians were forced out, some of its own economic sectors would suffer.
But this fear of expulsions of their co-nationals almost certainly explains the stance of Central Asian countries more than any other factor, media experts in the region suggest (cabar.asia/ru/rekomendovali-ignorirovat-smi-tadzhikistana-pochti-ne-osveshhayut-rossijsko-ukrainskij-konflikt and cabar.asia/ru/uchityvaya-mestnyj-kontekst-kak-smi-kyrgyzstana-osveshhayut-konflikt-v-ukraine).