Russian politicians and state-controlled media outlets have been taking lots of potshots at Tajikistan lately. Some observers believe the barrage of verbal darts may be a precursor to retaliatory measures by the Kremlin for Dushanbe’s delay in ratifying a military basing agreement.
Two of Russia’s leading nationalist gadflies -- vice premier Dmitry Rogozin and the State Duma’s vice speaker and Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky – have led the chorus of criticism of Tajikistan. Both have played up the need for Russia to introduce a visa regime for Central Asian labor migrants, especially those from Tajikistan. A series of small demonstrations in cities on April 14 echoed the call for stricter migration controls for labor migrants.
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Konstantin Parshin is a freelance writer based in Tajikistan.