Imomali Rakhmonov


(pronounced "ee-MOM-all-i rah-MON-off")

"The people of Tajikistan are not indifferent toward the homeland's destiny, and all are disposed toward peaceful and creative endeavors."

The Republic of Tajikistan borders Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, China to the east, and Afghanistan to the south. Tajikistan is only 20 miles away from Pakistan on one section of its southern border, separated by a narrow Afghan corridor. Tajikistan has a total land area of 143,100 sq km (55,251 sq mi) and is largely mountainous. The Pamir Mountain range, known as the "roof of the world," runs through Tajikistan, China, and Afghanistan. Major administrative subdivisions include the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (an ethnic enclave enjoying theoretical rights) and other regions. The population of Tajikistan was estimated at 6.7 million in 2002.

Tajikistan has been subject to myriad historical influences. While Tajikistan's language and ethnic background are heavily Persian, its religion and culture were influenced by Turkey. Though it only became an independent nation in 1991, its culture has produced impressive architecture in Bukhara and Samarkand, cities now in Uzbekistan, and major contributions to Persian literature. About 65% of the population is ethnic Tajik, 25% Uzbek, and 3% Russian. Clan and regional identities are also significant among most Tajiks and can transcend national identity. These include the Khjoent, Kulyab, Garm, and Pamiri regional focuses. More than a million Tajiks also reside within Uzbekistan and four million in Afghanistan.

The official language is Tajik, closely related to Farsi, the chief language in Iran; but 36% of the population is fluent in Russian. Most Tajiks belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, common to the other Turkic peoples of Central Asia, rather than the Shi'a branch, dominant in Iran. Tajikistan has the highest percentage of rural population, the lowest educational level, and the highest infant mortality rate of the former Soviet republics. Most of the people live in tiny rural qishlags, or hamlets, with as few as 15 to 20 cottages in the most mountainous areas.

Following independence, Tajikistan, unlike other former Soviet republics, agreed to subordinate its economy to Russia, but was forced by 1995 to introduce its own currency, the Tajik ruble . The breakup of the Soviet Union and civil conflict in Tajikistan severely harmed its economy. The gross domestic product (GDP) of Tajikistan was estimated at US $7.5 billion and per capita GDP was about US $1,140 in 2001. Tajikistan's major industry is the aluminum smelter in Tursunzade, one of the world's largest, although it is currently producing well below capacity. Tajikistan's other exports include hydroelectric power and cotton. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are the main suppliers of water to the rest of Central Asia. Cotton and silk production and sheep herding are the main livelihoods. Crime and corruption, mainly drug-related, threaten the emergence of a market economy.


Prospekt Lenina 42
Dushanbe, Tajikistan

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