What road for Tajikistan?
In 2009, the International Crisis Group published a report entitled "Tajikistan: on the Road to Failure" that stated "chronic food insecurity, disintegrating energy infrastructure, and endemic corruption are driving the country deeper into crisis." The dramatization of the situation is maybe excessive as the Tajiks are very resilient and President Rahmon remains popular for having brought an end to a debilitating civil war in the 90s and for the lack of credible political opponent. The fact remains that Tajikistan is a country with very little margin to play with.
Tajikistan is eager to play an active role in stabilizing Afghanistan, with which it shares over 1,300 km of borders, but assisting NATO and the U.S. is risky, as it makes it vulnerable to extremists. It is also risky for a country with over a million of its citizens living abroad as migrant workers, mostly in Russia, and sending back remittances representing 47% of GDP, one of the highest percentage in the world. Alienating Russia is not an option.
In addition to international challenges, Tajikistan faces domestic challenges: the parliamentary elections that took place at the end of February 2010 were deemed by the OSCE as having "failed on many basic democratic standards." This means that discontent cannot be expressed through democratic means, and this in turn could lead to an increased radicalization of those that have nothing, and thus nothing to lose.