Thanks to the Central Asia Program at George Washington University in the US for promoting many of its recent briefing notes via Twitter – it has made for some excellent reading!
Two articles in particular caught my eye – one called From Pamirs to the Outside World: Seeking Decent Jobs by Kavikas Kuhistoni which was published in August 2014 (see my next post for the second recommendation).
Kuhistoni draws you into the piece, published in the Program’s Voices from Central Asia series, with a graphic description of how migration from the Pamir region of Tajikistan can have deadly consequences. Far from turning into tabloid fodder, Kuhistoni then gives an interesting overview of the whys and hows of migration from this sparsely populated part of the country. The piece is enhanced by opinions from local people with direct experience of the subject matter, including two well-informed commentators, academic Mamadou Alimshoev and local community leader Asadbek Amonbekov.
The article could have benefited further from a conclusion bringing together the various elements that are touched upon in the story. I would also like to have heard from women – the piece refers to the growing number of Pamiri women also heading north to Russia – but also from leading female voices back in Tajikistan.
The overall feeling in the article is that apart from the monetary benefit, there is little to be gained from migration to Russian from the Pamirs. Yet the national government shows little sign of taking major steps to combat migration of 1/8 of the overall population because the economic impact of the country’s GDP is so reliant on remittances sent from migrants. So, as Lenin (in)famously put it, “what is to be done?”: there are clearly defined problems arising from migration to Russia, but as yet no signs of moves to find alternative solutions.