The perestroika process President Mikhail Gorbachov
initiated from his inauguration in 1985 caused the ethnic
and religious tensions that had been under charge for a long
time to explode. In February 1990, the violent clash between
Russians and Tajiks came to the capital. According to
they cost over 30 killed and dozens of wounded. The
government declared the Republic in exceptional condition,
which was retained after the election of the Supreme Soviet
(parliament), in which the Communist Party got 90% of the
seats. The opposition claimed that the unrest in February
had been triggered by the KGBwho wanted to destabilize
Gorbachov's reforms and fight the nationalist currents.
Islamists and Democrats demanded that the Soviet be
dissolved, since it had been elected under exemptions.
Following the events in February, an extensive exodus of
Russian and Ukrainian technicians began. As a result, half
of the Republic's hospitals, schools and factories had to
close, which drastically worsened the social and economic
situation. At the end, Parliament declared its distrust of
President Majkamov, accused him of supporting the coups in
Moscow that had overthrown Gorbachov, and forced Majkamov to
resign. He was temporarily followed by Kadridin Aslonov.
In the wake of the coup attempt against Gorbachov in
August 1991, he decided to ban the Communist Party in
Tajikistan, but this decision could not be approved in the
parliament, dominated by Communists of the Old Guard. They
forced Aslonov to resign and replaced him with Rajmón Nabíev
as interim president. Nabíev had been the first secretary of
the local Communist Party until Gorbachov removed him in
1985. In mid-September, Parliament passed a Declaration of
Independence, passed a new constitution, decreed state of
emergency and banned the Islamic Rebirth Party.
The religious revival has been far stronger in Tajikistan
than in the other former Soviet republics. In the early
1980s, there were 17 mosques in the country; Ten years
later, there were 128 as well as 2,800 prayer places, an
Islamic institute and 5 centers for religious education.
Acc. unofficial information, 60-80% of the country's
population practiced Islam. The Islamic Rebirth Party was
formed in the late 1980s and advocates for a state that
respects political and religious rights - but based on
Islam. It also requires the application of Islamic law, the
Sharia. Since 1991, the government has made a
number of major Islamic celebrations into official events.
Following widespread protests from the Muslims and
interference from Moscow, the state of emergency and the ban
on the Communist Party were lifted at the beginning of
October 91. In the first presidential election in the new
independent state in November, Rajmón Nabíev won by 58% of
the vote. Acc. the official electoral commission Davlav
Khudonazarov came in second place with 38% of the vote. He
was supported by Muslims and Democrats, was a former member
of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union's Communist
Party and President of the Soviet Acting Federation.
On December 21, Tajikistan joined the Association of
Independent States (CIS) - Soviet successor. At the same
time, the Gorno-Badajshán Autonomous Region of the Pamir
Mountains declared itself an autonomous republic. In this
area, the Shiite branch of Islam is practiced in the same
way as in neighboring Afghanistan.
In February 1992, North American Foreign Minister James
Baker visited Dusanbe, taking the opportunity to express the
West's concern about the uranium reserves in the region.
Together with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Tajikistan has
significant deposits of uranium enabling the production of
Throughout April and May 1992, clashes occurred in the
Republic, prompting Parliament's President Kendzhaev to
resign. On May 7, a coalition government formed of
government and opposition representatives was formed,
raising this state of emergency.
Yet, outside the capital, Dusanbe, there came a riot of
violence between governmental forces and the opposition that
developed into a comprehensive civil war. The situation
triggered a distrust vote for Nabíev, and he resigned on
September 8. Pro-Communist forces in the northern part of
the country now embarked on a comprehensive offensive,
culminating in December in the appointment of a new
government controlled by the People's Front and the taking
of the capital.
The offensive sent 300,000 people fleeing to Afghanistan
and a number of former Soviet republics. The persecution and
massacres against the opposition diminished only after
The Russian government, led by President Boris Yeltsin,
was the first to recognize the new regime led by Imomali
Rakhmonov, whom the Russians considered fit to curb
Islamists. In March, bombings from Afghanistan were followed
by the entry of opposition military units across the border
- guarded by Russian troops.