Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Dushanbe Prepares for Massive Return from Russia of Tajik Migrant Workers

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 28 – Until recently, Dushanbe did not have to deal with the massive return of its migrant workers in Russia; but now, given the rising tide of xenophobia and Russian government hostility to these people in the wake of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack, the Tajikistan government must confront the possibility that the numbers of migrants returning home will be large.

            That will not only put stress on the economy of that Central Asian country because of the falloff in the amount of transfer payments but also create problems for the regime because many of those who have spent time in Russia are more radical than their fellow Tajiks. Indeed, Dushanbe has viewed their earlier departure as a safety valve preventing an explosion there.

            It is not certain just what Dushanbe will feel compelled to do in the coming months, but some idea is provided by an academic study on the Tajikistan government’s policies in coping with the return of a large number of Tajiks from the Russian Federation during the covid pandemic of 2020-2021.

            Carried out by Rakhmon Ulmasov of the Russian-Tajik (Slavic) University, and Moynsho Makhmadbekzoda of Dushanbe’s Institute of Labor, Migration, and Employment of the Population, it is available at (pp. 317-327) and discussed at

            Since 2022, the two scholars write, Dushanbe has devoted special attention to migrant workers returning from abroad and especially from Russia, their largest original destination. To cope with these returnees, the Tajikistan government has tasked the Centers for Preparing Labor Migrants with the new responsibility for handling those who return.

            These centers now exist in all the regions of the country, and they provide free medical exams to those returning, certification of skills acquired abroad, and assistance in finding jobs in their homeland. According to Ulmasov and Makhmadbekzoda, these arrangements are working well given current rates of return. But they imply they could be overwhelmed if numbers go up.


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