Tajikistan's government is struggling to prop up its currency amid downward fiscal pressure emanating from Russia. Dushanbe’s policies appear to be creating a black market for currency traders with potentially long-term repercussions for the ailing economy.
Tajikistan’s top export is workers: labor migrants – mostly men working in Russia – send home the equivalent of 49 percent of GDP in the form of remittances, according to the most recent World Bank figures. That makes Tajikistan the most remittance-dependent country on earth. But with the Russian ruble’s crash in 2014, the dollar value of those remittances – which are critical for keeping many Tajik families afloat and for boosting local spending – fell dramatically, by 8 percent in the fourth quarter. The World Bank expects remittances to shrink another 23 percent this year.
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