Staunton, Oct. 11 – A major reason why Tajik migrant workers now in Russia aren’t assimilating but in fact are forming ethnic ghettos with their separate institutions is that the Tajiks involved aren’t from Tajikistan itself where the population had been partially sovietized and thus Russianized but rather from Afghanistan, Sergey Aksyonov says.
The Svobodnaya pressa commentator points out that prior to the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan, ethnic Tajiks formed almost a third of the population of that country. But many have fled to Tajikistan; and Dushanbe, not wanting to deal with the problems they present, has encouraged them to move on to Russia (svpressa.ru/society/article/390456/).
As a result, Russian officials and Russian society are having to cope with people who are far less pre-adapted to life in a Russian world, Aksyonov suggests; and consequently, what Russia is now dealing with in the Tajiks in its midst are a very different group of Tajiks than many have assumed, with knowledge of Russian and acceptance of Russian values rarer.
The commentator cites no figures on this phenomenon, and it is likely that no such figures exist as Russian officials don’t want to get in the way of Russian business interests. It may thus be of only marginal importance. But the fact that it is even mentioned helps explain some of the tensions between Russians and Tajik migrants and between Moscow and Dushanbe.