Sunday, March 17, 2024

Aga Khan Promoting Western Ideas Not Only in Tajikistan but throughout Central Asia, Russian Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 14 – Many in both Moscow and the West have focused on the influence of the Aga Khan on the Ismaili community in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan, viewing it as a source of increasing instability there ( and

            But now, two Russian commentators, Yuliya Filaretova and Atiye Besem, argue that the Aga Khan’s influence in Central Asia extends far beyond Tajikistan and represents a threat to Moscow’s interests because he supposedly works hand in glove with Western NGOs ( as discussed at

            And he is far more effective than many Western NGOs, the two suggest, because his Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) presents itself as part of the Islamic world and thus is accepted by many in the region who are far more prepared to reject ideas that they can see are first and foremost Western imports.

            The article by Filaretova and Besem is important not only because it provides a detailed map of where the AKDN is most active across Central Asia but also because it suggests that the Kremlin almost certainly will pressure governments there to restrict the activities of the AKDN because of what Moscow believes is its anti-Russian nature.

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