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Emomali Rahmon

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Leader of the Nation

Emomali Rahmon
Эмомалӣ Раҳмон
Emomali Rahmon, BRICS summit 2015.jpg
Emomali Rahmon
3rd President of Tajikistan
Assumed office
16 November 1994
Prime MinisterAbdujalil Samadov
Jamshed Karimov
Yahyo Azimov
Oqil Oqilov
Kokhir Rasulzoda
Preceded byRahmon Nabiyev
Akbarsho Iskandrov (Acting)
Leader of the People's Democratic Party
Assumed office
10 December 1994
Preceded byPosition established
Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of Tajikistan
In office
20 November 1992 – 16 November 1994
Prime MinisterAkbar Mirzoyev
Abdumalik Abdullajanov
Abdujalil Samadov
Personal details
Born
Emomali Sharipovich Rahmonov

(1952-10-05) 5 October 1952 (age 68)
Kulob, Tajik SSR, Soviet Union
(now Tajikistan)
Political partyPeople's Democratic Party (1994–present)
Other political
affiliations
Communist Party
(1990–1994)
Spouse(s)Azizmo Asadullayeva
Children9, including Ozoda and Rustam
ParentsSharif Rahmonov
Mayram Sharifova
Alma materTajik State National University
Military service
Allegiance
Branch/service
Years of service
  • 1971–1974
  • 1992–present
RankAble seaman (1971-1974)
Tajikistan-Army-OF-9-par.png General of the Army (since 1992)

Emomali Sharipovich Rahmonov (Tajik: Эмомалӣ Раҳмон, romanizedEmomalî Rahmon/Emomalī Rahmon;[a] [emɔmæli ɾæhmɔn]; born 5 October 1952) is the 3rd President of Tajikistan since 16 November 1994. Previously he was the Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of Tajikistan from 20 November 1992 to 16 November 1994.

He was actually the head of state, since the post of President of the Republic of Tajikistan was abolished during this period. Since March 18, 1998, he has simultaneously been the leader of the center-left People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan, which dominates the Parliament of Tajikistan. On September 30, 1999, he was elected Vice-President of the UN General Assembly for a one-year term.

Since December 25, 2015, Emomali Rahmon has held the lifetime title of Peshvoyi Millat (Tajik: Пешвои Миллат / پیشوای ملت), which means “Leader of the Nation”, in full — “Founder of peace and national Unity — Leader of the Nation”. Five times (in the elections of 1994, 1999, 2006, 2013 and 2020) he won the presidential elections, in addition, he extended and reformed his powers based on the results of the national constitutional referendums of 1999 and 2003. Following the results of the last national constitutional referendum in 2016, amendments were adopted that lifted the restrictions on the number of re-elections to the post of President of Tajikistan and lowered the age limit for those running for the post of president from 35 to 30 years. He became widely known in 1992, after the abolition of the post of president in the country, when at the dawn of the Civil war (1992-1997) he became Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of Tajikistan as a compromise candidate between communists and neo-communists on the one hand, and Islamic, Nationalist and Liberal-Democratic forces (United Tajik Opposition) on the other. After the retirement of Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2019, Rahmon is currently the longest reigning leader in Central Asia as of 2021.

Rahmon is a controversial figure. Supporters consider him a person who, through compromises and negotiations with the United Tajik Opposition, managed to stop the seven-year civil war and maintain stability and peace in the country, while opponents accuse him of authoritarian rule, eliminating or expelling his political rivals and the real opposition from the country, inculcating a cult of personality, violations of human rights and freedoms, bringing the country to a difficult socio-economic situation, contributing to the flourishing of unemployment, corruption and political and economic nepotism in the country.

Early life[edit]

Rahmon was born as Emomali Sharipovich Rakhmonov[b] to Sharif Rahmonov (died in 1992)[2] and Mayram Sharifova (1910-2004),[3] a peasant family in Danghara,[4] Kulob Oblast (present-day Khatlon Region). His father was a Red Army veteran of World War II, being a recipient of the Order of Glory in the 2nd and 3rd degrees.[5] From 1971 to 1974, Rahmonov served in the Soviet Union's Pacific Fleet, during which he was stationed in the Primorsky Krai. After completing the military service, Rahmon returned to his native village where he worked for some time as an electrician.[6]

As rising apparatchik in Tajikistan, he became a chairman of the collective state farm of his native Danghara. According to his official biography, Rahmon graduated from the Tajik State National University with a specialist's degree in economics in 1982. After working for several years in the Danghara Sovkhoz, Rahmon was appointed chairman of the sovkhoz in 1987.[7]

Early politics[edit]

Rahmon at the 2012 SCO meeting in China
Rahmon with Ilham Aliyev in Baku, December 2012

In 1990, Rahmon was elected a people's deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Tajik SSR.[8] President Rahmon Nabiyev was forced to resign in the first months of the Civil War in August 1992. Akbarsho Iskandrov, Speaker of the Supreme Soviet, became acting president. Iskandarov resigned in November 1992 in an attempt to end the civil unrest. That same month, the Supreme Soviet met in Khujand for its 16th session and declared Tajikistan a parliamentary republic. Rahmon was then elected by the members of the Supreme Soviet as its chairman—a post equivalent to that of president—and the head of government.[8] Former Interior Minister Yaqub Salimov later recalled that Rahmon's appointment was made because he was “nondescript”, in which other field commanders thought that he could be cast aside "when he had served his purpose."[9][10]

Presidency[edit]

Presidential styles of
Emomali Rahmon
Flag of the President of Tajikistan.svg
Reference styleҶаноби Олӣ, Президенти Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон.
"His Excellency, the President of Tajikistan"
Spoken styleПрезиденти Тоҷикистон
"President of Tajikistan"
Alternative styleАсосгузори сулҳу ваҳдати миллӣ – Пешвои миллат
"Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of the Nation"

In 1994, a new constitution reestablished the presidency. Rahmon was elected to the post on 6 November 1994 and sworn in ten days later. 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. He survived an assassination attempt on 30 April 1997 in Khujand,[11] as well as two attempted coups in August 1997 and in November 1998.

Following constitutional changes, he was reelected on 6 November 1999 to a seven-year term, officially taking 97% of the vote. On 22 June 2003, he won a referendum that would allow him to run for two more consecutive seven-year terms after his term expired in 2006. The opposition alleges that this amendment was hidden in a way that verged upon electoral fraud. Rahmon was reelected to a seven-year term in a controversial election on 6 November 2006, with about 79% of the vote, according to the official results. On 6 November 2013, he was reelected for the second seven-year term in office, with about 84% of the vote, in an election that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said lacked "genuine choice and meaningful pluralism".[12] In October 2020, he was once again re-elected as president for a fifth term with a margin of 90.92%,[13][14] amid allegations of fraud.[15]

Rahmon with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, 2015
Rahmon at the 2017 CSTO summit in Minsk.


On 22 May 2016, a nationwide referendum approved a number of changes to the country's constitution.[16] One of the main changes lifted the limit on presidential terms, effectively allowing Rahmon to stay in power for as many terms as he wishes.[17] Other key changes outlawed faith-based political parties, thus finalizing the removal of the outlawed Islamic Revival Party from Tajikistan's politics, and reduced the minimum eligibility age for presidential candidates from 35 to 30, enabling Rahmon's older son, Rustam Emomali, to run for president any time after 2017.[18] In January 2017, Rustam Emomali was appointed Mayor of Dushanbe, a key position, which some analysts see as the next step to the top of the government.[19]

According to the US ambassador in Tajikistan, Rahmon's government is characterized by cronyism and corruption. Rahmon and his family control the country's major businesses, including the largest bank.[20] In November 2018, Rahmon launched a hydroelectric station to solve energy problems.[21]

Cult of personality and powers[edit]

In December 2015, a law passed by Tajikistan's parliament gave Rahmon the title "Founder Of Peace and National Unity, Leader of the Nation" (Tajik: Асосгузори сулҳу ваҳдати миллӣ – Пешвои миллат, Asosguzori sulhu vahdati millî – Peşvo‘i millat; Russian: Основатель мира и национального единства – Лидер нации, Osnovatel mira i natsionalnogo yedinstva – Lider natsii).[22] A shorter version of the title, "Leader of the Nation," is used frequently. In addition to granting Rahmon lifelong immunity from prosecution, the law also gave him a number of other lifelong privileges, including veto powers over all major state decisions, the freedom to address the nation and parliament on all matters he deems important, and the privilege of attending all government meetings and parliament sessions.[23][24]

Religion and convictions[edit]

Rahmon is a Sunni Islam and has frequently stressed his Muslim background even though his administration is engaged in a relentless campaign against public displays of Islamic devotion.[25] His suppression of Islamic expression includes banning beards, attendance at mosque for women and children under 18, hajj for people under 40, studying in Islamic schools outside Tajikistan, the production, import or export of Islamic books without permission (implemented in 2017), using loudspeakers to broadcast the adhan, veils, madrassas, Islamist political parties and Arabic-sounding names (implemented in 2016). Furthermore, mosques are heavily regulated, providing unofficial Islamic teaching can lead to up to 12 years of imprisonment, and an arduous process is required to obtain a permit to establish an Islamic organisation, publish an Islamic book, or go on pilgrimage to Mecca.[26] In January 2016, Rahmon performed an Umrah with a number of his children and senior members of his government. That was Rahmon's fourth pilgrimage to Mecca.[27]

His reply to critics of the election standards of the 2006 Tajikistani presidential elections was:

"In Tajikistan, more than 99 percent of those residing here are Muslim. We have a completely different culture. You have to take that into account".[28]

During a 2010 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation session in Dushanbe, Rahmon spoke against what he called the misuse of Islam for political ends, claiming that "Terrorism, terrorists, have no nation, no country, no religion... Using the name 'Islamic terrorism' only discredits Islam and dishonors the pure and harmless religion of Islam."[29]

Membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a militant Islamic party that aims to overthrow secular governments and unify Tajiks under one Islamic state, is illegal and members are subject to arrest and imprisonment.[30]

The Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRP) is a banned Islamist political party and has been designated a terrorist organization since 2015.[31][32]

In 2017 the government of Tajikistan passed a law requiring people to "stick to traditional national clothes and culture", which has been widely seen as an attempt to prevent women from wearing Islamic clothing, in particular the style of headscarf wrapped under the chin, in contrast to the traditional Tajik headscarf tied behind the head.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Emomali Rahmon with family

He is married to Azizmo Asadullayeva and has nine children: seven daughters and two sons.[34] Two of his children, Rustam Emomali and Ozoda Rahmon, are senior officials in his administration,[35][36] while another, Zarina Rahmon, was appointed deputy head of Orienbank in January 2017.[37][38] Rustam is believed to be prepared by his father to succeed him as leader of Tajikistan.[39]

Name changes[edit]

In March 2007, Rahmonov changed his surname to Rahmon, getting rid of the Russian-style "-ov" ending.[40] He also removed the patronymic, Sharipovich, from his name altogether. Rahmon explained that he had done so out of respect for his cultural heritage.[41][42] Following the move, scores of governments officials, members of parliament, and civil servants around the country removed Russian-style patronymics and "-ov" endings from their surnames. In April 2016, Tajikistan officially banned giving Russian-style patronymics and surnames to newborn children.[43]

Honors and awards[edit]

Russian President Vladimir Putin awarding Rahmon the Order of Alexander Nevsky.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Birthname appears variously as Emomali Sharipovich Rakhmonov, Imamali Sharipovich Rakhmanov or Imomali Sharipovich Rakhmonov; all transliteration into English of the Russian forms (Эмомали Шарипович Рахмонов and Имамали Шарипович Рахманов) of his Tajik name.
  2. ^ Russian: Эмомали́ Шари́пович Рахмо́нов, romanizedEmomalí Šarípovič Rahmónov[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Эмомали Рахмон: вехи политической биографии". Asia-Plus. Asia-Plus News Agency. 5 October 2016. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Эмомали Рахмон о своем отце". Akhbor.com. Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  3. ^ "Скончалась мать президента Таджикистана Рахмонова" (in Russian). РИА Новости. Retrieved 2019-11-01.
  4. ^ "Тарҷумаи Ҳоли Эмомалии Раҳмон". Government of Tajikistan. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  5. ^ "РАХМОН Эмомали Шарифович" (in Russian). ЦентрАзия.
  6. ^ "Эмомали Рахмон". Сайт Президента Республики Таджикистан. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  7. ^ "ЭМОМАЛӢ РАҲМОН [Official Biography]". Official Website of the President of Tajikistan. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Emomali Rahmon". Official Website of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Tajikistan: Former Interior Minister In Dushanbe To Face Trial For Treason". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  10. ^ "Emomali Rahmon: The Accidental Leader Who Has Stayed In Power For Decades". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  11. ^ "Tajikistan - Leninabad: Crackdown In The North". Hrw.org. April 1998. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Republic of Tajikistan, Presidential Election 6 November 2013: OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report". OSCE/ODIHR. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  13. ^ Putz, Catherine. "Tajikistan's Presidential Election Yields Expected Results". thediplomat.com. The Diplomat. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  14. ^ Abdulkerimov, Bahtiyar. "Tajikistan's president sworn in for 5th term". aa.com.tr. Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Amid Fraud Allegations, Results Give Tajikistan's Rahmon Fifth Presidential Term". rferl.org. Radio Free Europe/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  16. ^ "Tajikistan Approves Constitutional Changes Tightening Rahmon's Grip On Power". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  17. ^ "Why Does Tajikistan Need A Referendum?". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Tajiks to vote in 'president-for-life' referendum". Reuters. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Tajikistan: regime eternalization completed?". The Politicon. The Politicon. 26 January 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  20. ^ Luke Harding: WikiLeaks cables paint bleak picture of Tajikistan, central Asia’s poorest state, The Guardian, 12 Dec 2010.
  21. ^ "Tajikistan Launches Giant Power Plant To Tackle Energy Problems". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  22. ^ "Қонуни Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон дар бораи Асосгузори сулҳу ваҳдати миллӣ – Пешвои миллат". Official Website of the President of Tajikistan. 25 December 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  23. ^ "Tajikistan: Leader of the Nation Law Cements Autocratic Path". EurasiaNet.org. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Teflon Rahmon: Tajik President Getting 'Leader' Title, Lifelong Immunity". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL's Tajik Service. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  25. ^ Putz, Catherine (17 April 2015). "Tajikistan: No Hajj, No Hijab, and Shave Your Beard". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  26. ^ "Tajikistan's crackdown on observant Muslims intensifies". The Economist. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  27. ^ "Tajikistan's Islam-Averse Leader Goes to Mecca". EurasiaNet.org. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  28. ^ "Tajik President Wins Re-Election". The Washington Post. 7 November 2006. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  29. ^ "Top Islamic Body Holds Foreign Minister Meeting In Dushanbe". Rferl.org. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  30. ^ "Hizb ut Tahrir". BBC News. BBC. 27 August 2003. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  31. ^ Michel, Casey (5 November 2015). "Trouble in Tajikistan: Analysts say the banning of a moderate Islamist party could unravel the country's post-civil war order". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  32. ^ "Tajikistan human rights fears as banned party's ex-leaders jailed for life". The Guardian. Reuters. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  33. ^ Harriet Agerholm (1 September 2017). "Tajikstan passes law 'to stop Muslim women wearing hijabs'". The Independent.
  34. ^ "Qəhrəman ana - Tacikistanın birinci ledisi - FOTOLAR". Modern.az. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  35. ^ "Tajik President's Son Officially Second-in-Line to Presidency". The Diplomat. 20 April 2020. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  36. ^ "Ozoda Rahmon, who heads President's Executive Office, turns 40 today". Asia-Plus. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  37. ^ "Daughter Of Tajik President Named Deputy Head Of Major Bank". rferl.org. Radio Free Europe/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  38. ^ Putz, Catherine. "Hired: Tajik President's Daughter Lands Deputy Post at a Major Bank". thediplomat.com. The Diplomat. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  39. ^ Abdurasulov, Abdujalil. "How Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon consolidated his power". bbc.com. BBC. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  40. ^ "Рахмонов стал Рахмон, Каримов остался Каримовым [Rahmonov Became Rahmon, Karimov Remained Karimoiv]". Avesta.Tj. Avesta News Agency. 13 April 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2016.[dead link]
  41. ^ "Президент Таджикистана сменил фамилию и подкорректировал имя". Сегодня. 22 March 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  42. ^ "Президент Таджикистана отрезал от своей фамилий Русское окончание (in Russian)". Lenta.ru. 21 March 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  43. ^ "Tajikistan Bans Giving Babies Russian-Style Last Names". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL. 30 April 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  44. ^ "Rahmon Receives Honorary Doctorate Of Leadership From LimKokWing University". Bernama. 24 June 2014. Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  45. ^ World Peace Prize Top Honer Prize-Kuniwo Nakamura WPPAC.
  46. ^ "President Rahmon awarded the Order of the Republic of Serbia". Asia-Plus. 26 February 2013. Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  47. ^ "Tajik President awarded Order of Alexander Nevsky | Vestnik Kavkaza". vestnikkavkaza.net. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  48. ^ "AKIpress News Agency". m.akipress.com. Retrieved 16 April 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Rahmon Nabiyev
President of Tajikistan
1992–present
Incumbent