Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 127

"As a patriot, I welcome the signing of the agreement between the Tajik government and the opposition, but, unfortunately, it won’t bring peace to the republic," Abdumalik Abdullajonov, the ex-premier of Tajikistan and the chairman of the "National Revival of Tajikistan" party (the so-called "third force") has told the Monitor. Abdullajonov explained his skepticism by saying that the agreement ignored the interests of his supporters: the ex-premier was excluded from the negotiating process and the "National Revivalists" have not been allotted a specific quota of seats in the coalition government.

Abdullajonov enjoys great influence in the most populous and economically developed region of the republic — the Leninabad region. In the 1994 presidential elections, more than 80 percent of the voters there cast their ballots for him. "Right after the signing of the present agreement, the Tajik authorities started organizing meetings all over the republic in support of the agreement, but it didn’t work in the Leninabad region. The people boycotted the meetings as a sign of protest," Abdullajonov told the Monitor.

Political and regional struggles in Tajikistan are virtually inseparable, because most of the Tajik opposition’s supporters come from Karategin — the mountainous region of Tajikistan — while the republic’s present leadership is, for the most part, made up of people from the Kulyab region.

Achieving peace in Tajikistan is hardly possible if the interests of Leninabad region are ignored. In 1992, the civil war in the republic was caused at least in part by the opposition’s effort to take power away from representatives of Leninabad, who, since the 1930’s, had run things in the republic (all of the first secretaries of the Communist Party of Tajikistan came from that region). The fact that Abdullajonov enjoys the tacit support of Tashkent is also not without importance. The Leninabad oblast borders Uzbekistan and the local elite has long had close ties to Tashkent. It is significant that, today, Abdullajonov is operating out of the Uzbek capital, which would hardly be possible if he were not under the protection of the authorities there.

It is quite possible that the commander of the special battalion of the republic’s army (the most battleworthy unit in Tajikistan’s armed forces), Col. Mahmud Hudoiberdiev, may also come out soon against the agreements. "I don’t believe in the possibility of making peace with the opposition. I won’t do anything to disrupt the talks… But I will prepare for war, which will start again, through no fault of my own," Hudoiberdiev told the Monitor not long before the signing of the present agreement. Hudoiberdiev also hails from Leninabad region.

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