Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Mary Han, Vanessa Ratten and Isabell M. Welpe
Chapter 37: Tajikistan
1 Léo-Paul Dana Introduction Tajikistan, the poorest of the five Central Asian republics, covers an area of 143 100 square kilometres, making it the smallest of the five formerly Soviet Central Asian republics. It is landlocked – surrounded by Afghanistan, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Uzbekistan. Until 1930, the Tajik language was written using Arabic script. It used the Roman alphabet from 1930 to 1940, and Cyrillic from 1940 to 1992. Today, the Tajik language once again uses Arabic characters. There have been several changes in government since independence, in 1991. Economic development in Tajikistan was delayed by the 1992–97 civil war, between the government and the Islamic-led United Tajik Opposition. Of the 15 formerly Soviet republics, Tajikistan has the lowest per capita gross domestic product (GDP). According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the black market in Tajikistan exceeds 57 percent of true GDP. In contrast to other transitional economies where small business thrives in the informal sector, Tajik entrepreneurs perceive the covert sector as a most interesting alternative for economic activity. Surrounded today by Turkic neighbours, the Tajiks – people of Persian descent – have been in Central Asia long before the tenth century invasions by the Turkics. Between 1918 and 1924, Tajikistan was part of the Turkestan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1924 – when the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was carved out of Turkestan – Tajikistan became the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, within the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. On 5 December 1929, this Tajik region emerged as the Tajik Soviet...
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