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Tajikistan’s Brewing Dissent over Succession?

On his last "tour" through the vineyards in Tursunzade, one of the country's few accomplishments during his reign, Emomali Rahmon took his youngest son Somon with him.

Dushanbe, London, Washington DC, Moscow (10/11 – 60.00) On his last “tour” through the vineyards in Tursunzade, one of the country’s few accomplishments during his reign, Emomali Rahmon took his youngest son Somon with him. This is a completely new phenomenon in the President’s visits, which can even be called a new phenomenon in his politics. Because politicians do nothing without pursuing some political goal.

The president’s eldest son, Rustam Emomali, joined his father’s visits only when he already held the post of mayor of the capital, but Somon has not yet taken any serious post and is not involved in politics. Of course, there is a possibility that this is a one-time occurrence and has little purpose. However, given some circumstances, it seems that from now on, his two sons will accompany him on both sides of Emomali Rahmon on every visit.

Why did Rahmon take Somon with him?

Rivalries within the family

Although it seems that the president’s family has reached an agreement on the distribution of power, positions and wealth of the country, and everyone knows their places and rights, but this is just an illusion. Government, position, power and wealth have never existed without constant competition and struggle. Even within the family, between father and son, mother and daughter, brother and sister. History knows thousands of cases when brothers or sisters killed brothers, sons killed fathers or vice versa, and even killed mothers for the sake of power and wealth. Emomali Rahmon’s family cannot be an exception. Considering the social status of this family before they came to power and wealth, as well as the greed of its members for power and wealth, as seen in the example of seizing the business and property of others, it can be assumed that rivalries, scandals,

Only the apparatus of persecution, threats and censorship will not allow family conflicts to come out. Although sometimes the details of these conflicts still seep into the media.

Payem’s sources said that most family members do not agree that Rustam will be the successor. This dissatisfaction and voices of protest intensified after Rustam entered big business in the person of the Avesto Group company and quickly seized the large businesses of the capital, including that part of it that was previously divided between his sisters. The contribution of Hassan Asadullozoda and his brothers, who are now forced to return fat pieces of business to their nephew, is not unimportant in the rivalry. They are trying to weaken Rustam’s position by winning some family members over to their side.

According to sources, Azizamokh Asadullozoda, wife of Emomali Rahmon, recently changed her mind about Rustam’s succession. At the instigation of her brothers and some of her daughters, the first lady of the country decided to prepare Somon as a replacement successor. In addition, bringing the youngest son, the mother of the family wants to warn her eldest son not to “go too far” and “respect his mother’s brothers.” She managed to convince Emomali Rahmon himself that relying only on Rustam the reveler could jeopardize the position of the entire family. This change in the opinion of the first lady of the country and a number of other factors led to the fact that the transfer of power to Rustam did not occur.

The position of “big brothers”

There is also a possibility that the reason for the appearance of Somon in the political arena was the position of Uzbekistan and Russia. A few months before Rahmon decided to hand over power to Rustam in this year’s elections, Payem predicted that Vladimir Putin and Shavkat Mirziyoyev would by no means agree to sit at the same table with Rustam and call him “their Tajik colleague.”

They, of course, are aware of Rustam’s riotous lifestyle, and apparently they “explained” Emomali Rahmon that they would not accept Rustam. Perhaps this is the main reason why the “leader of the nation” decided to remain president for another term. Otherwise, they have already prepared all the conditions for Rustam to run in these elections.

It is also likely that China also did not agree with the departure of Emomali Rahmon, given the growing protest mood in Tajikistan and the possibility of using other political forces to change the government in Tajikistan.

In the current crisis situation, when it is not easy to govern the country and there is an urgent need for support from “strategic partners”, these partners did not want to cooperate with a young man whose voice no one had yet heard.

Rustam’s loose lifestyle and fallback

On the other hand, apparently the family’s attempts to pull Rustam out of the swamp of debauchery by giving him positions and responsibilities were unsuccessful. Therefore, it was decided to prepare a backup option now, so that under force majeure circumstances, the transfer of power would take place without problems.

During the years of Rustam’s presence in the political arena, despite the widespread propaganda from the state media, the “answer factory” and sycophants, the society has not formed a positive opinion towards Rahmon’s eldest son. In fact, it is foolish to expect anything more from state image makers, whose work always backfires. The people know Rustam as a reveler, drug addict and “dumb”. The nickname “mute” stuck to him a year after he took over as mayor of the capital. During this year, he rarely appeared in public or in the media, and then he said only a few sentences, and the people came to the conclusion that the mayor of the capital did not even know how to read paper correctly. Otherwise, they could prepare beautiful texts for his propaganda and he could read, at least like his father.

Unlike his older brother, Somon Emomali appears smart and educated. Although he also does not shy away from a wild lifestyle and does not regret spending budget funds on his pleasant pastime, at least he is educated and is not a drug addict. There are also few negative reviews about him in society and in the media.

This is a good indicator for presenting and promoting Somon as the crown prince and successor to his father. Although he is still young now, by the next elections he will approach the voting age (now he is 22 years old). Even in the event of the death of the president, one can imagine Rustam or Ozoda Rahmon as “acting until Somon reaches voting age.”

Journalist Humairo Bakhtiyor believes: “Emomali Rahmon has been trying for more than 10 years to present Rustam as his heir and successor. Although he used all the material and ideological possibilities of the state, but all these attempts were unsuccessful. During these ten years, Rustam “worked” in all government bodies. Approximately every two or three years, he was appointed head of the next department. The purpose of this was to make Rustam “their” in every government department. But the government’s ideological team has forgotten that Rahmon’s successor must not only be obedient, but also show at least a little initiative. Rustam did not show any initiative.

She writes: “Dushanbe is a small city, and we must not forget the rumors that existed 10-15 years ago. For example, Rustam’s knowledge was not enough to study in Europe, and then in Russia. Of course, later, when Rustam continued his studies at TNU, they wanted to tell people that he prefers to study in his own country. But the reality was different. Rustam was a student for 5 years, but his classmates never saw him at his desk, and there were even such jokes: “The son of his father entered the university with the knowledge of his father and became the headman.”

“Rustam involuntarily declared himself where it was not necessary. But it is too early to draw conclusions about the appearance of Somon. Since until today we have witnessed the appearance of Ozoda and Rustam, but this did not lead to any results. This is also one of the political features of Rahmon – it is impossible to logically predict his actions,” says Humairo.

The danger of Khasan and Yatimov

Emomali Rahmon himself feels threatened from several sides. Firstly, from the clan of Hassan Asadullozoda, who was once the “pocket” of the president and the number one “successful businessman” in the country, but with the coming of age and marriage of each of his nieces, he is increasingly forced out. It is doubtful that Hasan, who once considered himself the heir to the power of his sister’s husband, would be satisfied with this state of affairs and begin to lead a hermit’s life. Given that “children” like Rustam and Shamsullo are taking over part of his “empire” every day, it’s likely that Hasan is planning to turn the situation in his favor, and Emomali Rahmon cannot ignore this.

Hassan, once the second most powerful man in the country, is at odds with his nephews and will do anything to protect his interests, and can be a threat to Rustam and Somon.

Secondly, Rahmon learned a lesson from the situation with Gulnara Karimova and wants to involve his children in business during his lifetime and bring them to such an extent that Yatimov, Ubaidulloev and others can no longer destroy them. He needs to make his children powerful enough to stand up to the Khasan-Yatimov-Ubaidulloev triangle after his death.

The president feels danger and anxiety so much that he does not pay attention to criticism, although he knows that these actions of his will lead to even more criticism, as well as become evidence for international organizations, but he still continues to do so.

It seems that in the coming days we will witness the appearance of Somon on state television and in the media with his “initiatives”.

Although there is a high probability that his father’s image makers will also bury his political career.