Emomalii Rahmon (Tajik: Эмомалӣ Раҳмон; Russian: Эмомали Рахмон) (born October 5, 1952) is a Tajik politician who has served as the head of state of Tajikistan since 1992, under the position of President since 1994. During the early years of his presidency, he faced a civil war in which up to 100,000 people died. In 2006, Rahmon won his third term in office. Rahmon's presidency has been described in harsh terms, mostly because of human rights abuses and corruption.
Rahmon was born Emomalii Rahmanov to a peasant family in Kulob, in the Kulob Oblast, now part of Khatlon province. The Russian ending -ov was added to the first name of the father of Central Asian men in the 19th century to create surnames as a result of the influence of the Russian Empire. In 1971-1974 he served in the Soviet Armed Forces. As an apparatchik rising through the nomenklatura, his original power base was as chairman of the collective state farm of his native Dangara. In 1982, he graduated from the Tajik State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Economics. Between 1976 and 1988, Rahmon was the Chairman of the Union Committee of the collective farm in the Dangara region of Kulob province. He also held various positions in leading Government divisions at that time.
Prime Minister and President
In 1990, Rahmon was elected a people's deputy to the Supreme Council of the Tajik SSR. President Rahmon Nabiyev resigned in the first months of the Civil War in Tajikistan in August 1992. Akbarsho Iskandarov, Speaker of the Supreme Soviet, became acting president. Iskandarov resigned in November in an attempt to end the civil unrest. The Supreme Soviet met in Khujand and abolished the position of president that same month. Rahmon, then the Speaker of Parliament, became the head-of-government.
During the civil war that lasted from 1992 to 1997, Rahmon's rule was opposed by the United Tajik Opposition. As many as 100,000 people died during the war. Rahmon survived an assassination attempt in April 1997 in Khujand, as well as two attempted coups in August 1997 and in November 1998.
On November 6, 1994, Rahmon was elected to the newly created post of president of Tajikistan, and he was sworn in on November 16. Following constitutional changes, he was re-elected on November 6, 1999 to a seven-year term, taking 97% of the [reported] vote. On June 22, 2003, he won a referendum that would allow him to run for two more consecutive seven-year terms after his present term expired in 2006. The opposition alleges that this amendment was hidden in a way that verged upon electoral fraud. Rahmon was re-elected in a controversial election on November 6, 2006, with about 79% of the vote according to the official results.
In March 2007, Rahmonov announced that he had dropped the -ov ending to change his last name to Rahmon and that he urges other Tajiks to follow his example and return to their cultural and national roots. The official website of the presidency uses the name Emomali Rahmonov in all news up to March 20, 2007 and Emomalii Rahmon since March 21, without any explanation.
He is leader of the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan, which dominates the Tajik legislature.
He is married to Azizmo Asadullayeva and has nine children. He has seven daughters and two sons. His sons are Rustam and Somon, whilst his daughters are Firuza, Ozoda, Rukhshona, Takhmina, Parvina, Zarrina and Farzona.
US diplomatic cables that were leaked by Wikileaks in 2010 corroborate the massive scale of corruption that Rahmon and his family are involved in. A cable dated 16 February 2010 from the US embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan's capital, describes how Rahmon runs the country's economy for his own personal profit. Rahmon and his family control the country's major businesses, including the largest bank, and they "play hardball to protect their business interests, no matter the cost to the economy writ large". Tajikistan's sole industrial exports are aluminium and hydroelectricity. According to the cable, most of the revenues from the "technically state-owned Tajik Aluminium Company (Talco) end up in a secretive offshore company controlled by the president" and "the state budget sees little of the income".
Rahmon, Religion and Tajik culture
Rahmon is a Sunni Muslim and has performed the hajj when he went to Mecca in March 1997. He has called for closer ties with other Muslim nations in the region, notably the Persian speaking nations of Iran and Afghanistan. His reply to the critics of the election standards of the 2006 Tajikistani presidential elections was:
|“||Tajikistan is a country where more than 99 percent of the population is Muslim. We have a different culture, and this has to be taken account of.||”|
The international community has repeatedly criticized the Rahmon administration's record on human rights and press freedom.
Tajikistan marked 2009 as the year to commemorate the Sunni Muslim jurist Abu Hanifa, as the nation hosted an international symposium that drew scientific and religious leaders. The construction of one of the largest mosques in the world, funded by Qatar, was announced in October 2009. The mosque is planned to be built in Dushanbe and construction is said to be completed by 2014.
During a 2010 Organisation of the Islamic Conference session hosted in Dushanbe, Rahmon spoke against what he deemed was the misuse of Islam toward political ends, noting, "Terrorism, terrorists, have no nation, no country, no religion." Rahmon added, "Using the name 'Islamic terrorism' only discredits Islam and dishonors the clean and harmless religion of Islam."
- Name also appears as Emomali Sharipovich Rakhmonov, Imamali Sharipovich Rakhmanov or Imomali Sharipovich Rakhmonov in literature, which is the transliteration into English of the Russian forms (Эмомали Шарипович Рахмонов and Имамали Шарипович Рахманов) of his Tajik name.
- "The world's enduring dictators". CBS News. May 16, 2011.
- http://www.peoples.ru/state/king/tajikistan/emomali_rahmonov/ (in Russian)
- DWA 278:Oil and Politics in the Caspian Basin University of Southern California
- Leninabad: Crackdown in the north Human Rights Watch
- Президент Таджикистана отрезал от своей фамилий Русское окончание
- Luke Harding: WikiLeaks cables paint bleak picture of Tajikistan, central Asia's poorest state, The Guardian, 12 Dec 2010.
- Today marks 18th year of Tajik independence and success
- Qatar paying for giant mosque in Tajikistan
- Top Islamic Body Holds Foreign Minister Meeting In Dushanbe