• “I will have to find another part-time work since my family’s needs have grown.”
  • Over the last week, the Russian rouble has fallen by more than 30 percent.
  • Tajik migrant workers in Russia have lost their employment as a result of the Russian invasion.
  • “I’m out of a job in my hometown now.”
  • The future is dark.

Cry of a Single Mother

For the sake of her two teenage boys, Malika Abdilloyeva, a maid in Moscow, transfers between 10,000 and 20,000 Russian roubles ($94 to $188) back to Tajikistan each month. It used to be that Abdilloyeva sent home between 1,500 and 3,000 Tajikistani somonis ($132-265) per month. But since Russia assaulted Ukraine, the family of a 43-year-old single mother has received just approximately two-thirds of what they were used to getting.

At 35,000 roubles a month, Abdilloyeva has no option but to work two jobs to provide for her household in the 9.5 million-person former Soviet republic, which shares borders with neighbouring countries Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China.

A single mother’s cry.

“I will have to find another part-time work since my family’s needs have grown”, Abdilloeva said in an interview with Al Jazeera. To survive, “they must eat healthily and have the necessary school materials.”

Money transfers from Russia provide for more than a quarter of Tajikistan’s gross domestic product, which has been hit hard by restrictions imposed by the West in response to Russia’s incursion of Ukraine (GDP). Over the last week, the Russian rouble has fallen by more than 30 percent, which means that Tajik migrant workers have lost one-third of their earnings overnight.

To conserve money, for the time being, she has decided to buy just the necessities, hoping that her bosses would be kind enough to support her in her need.

Migrant Workers in Distress

Tajik migrant workers in Russia have lost their employment as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” against Ukraine, which he said was necessary to defend people from “bullying and genocide” in the nation.

Two days after the commencement of the conflict, Emomali Saidzod, a Tajik who worked on a construction site and then as a Yandex courier, returned to Tajikistan after being unable to find employment in Moscow.

“I lost my job in Russia due to the COVID-19 pandemic and I didn’t have any money to send back to my mother in Tajikistan who is taking care of my children. I don’t know how to help them”

Saidzod told Al Jazeera that staying in Russia was “pointless.” Businesses are cutting personnel, therefore there weren’t any openings. “I decided to come home.”

As the main provider in his family, Saidzod’s parents, wife, and seven-month-old daughter all rely on his monthly salary of between 35,000 and 45,000 roubles in Russia.

“I’m out of a job in my hometown now,” he lamented. “When I returned home, I was shocked to discover that the situation had deteriorated even worse. Since the beginning of March, flights to Russia have been cancelled or postponed.”

Situation in Tajikistan

In Tajikistan, the poorest Central Asian country, where the average monthly wage is less than $250 and the GDP per capita is less than half of Bangladesh’s, remittances from Russia are a lifesaver for families.

People from Tajikistan started moving to Russia in large numbers when a civil conflict occurred after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, bringing back monies that were important to the country’s economic recovery.

An estimated one million Tajiks are living and working in Russia, according to the country’s Federal Migration Service.  It has been estimated that half a million Tajiks go to Russia each year in search of employment, according to the Tajikistan Ministry of Labor.

Tajik labor migration to Russia hits historic high!

According to a 2019 poll done by the Research Institute under the Tajik National Bank, 70 percent of Tajik households rely on remittances, with the remaining 30 percent depending on the assistance of family and their incomes. According to the Russian Central Bank, migrant labourers contributed over $2.5 billion to Tajikistan in 2019.

To put it another way, the COVID-19 epidemic and tightened migration regulations reduced remittances from Russia to Tajikistan by roughly half during 2021’s first nine months to $1.3 billion. Despite the fall, the World Bank estimates that remittances will account for 28% of Tajikistan’s GDP in 2021.

A weakened rouble implies less money for food and other basics for the vast majority of Tajik families who depend on remittances. The official dollar exchange rate is constant, but the black market rate is rising, indicating that the economy and food and gasoline costs in the nation are in trouble.

The Input of a Tajik Economist

Most families got their last remittances before the conflict began, making it impossible to gauge the impact of sanctions, according to Tajik economist Foziljon Fatulloev. But he warned that the situation would deteriorate rapidly in the following weeks as more migrants lose their employment and their incomes are cut.

Russia’s labour migrants are caught between poverty and a war.

Fatulloev warned Al Jazeera that Tajikistan will face poverty and a substantial rise in unemployment. Fatulloev predicted that the country’s tax income and the state budget will be slashed as a consequence of company closures in retail and light industries.

According to Fatulloev, Tajikistan’s foreign debt is more than $3 billion. “A catastrophe will erupt in our nation if the Russian economy declines. These obligations will be impossible for us to repay. Only by joining the Eurasian Customs Union and dealing in roubles can we minimise the repercussions of the crisis in Tajikistan.”

The Future is Dark

Several Central Asian countries are likewise ready themselves for a possible economic impact of the Ukraine situation.

According to the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, Kyrgyzstan is one of the world’s largest per capita beneficiaries of remittances, with money transfers accounting for 30 percent of GDP last year. It is also Russia’s primary supply of migrant labour from Uzbekistan.

Russia accepts about four million labor migrants annually, most of them from three Central Asian states.

Abdillaeva says that the future is gloomy, at best.

Since the worst is yet to come, she remarked, “I am at a loss for words and have lost my self-confidence.” This amount of money currently is even less than $100.” Why don’t I ask for help?

Despite her ignorance of the conflict, Abdillaeva holds out hope that Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine would come to an end soon.

‘For the time being, I’ll save money on all the necessities in the hopes that my bosses would have compassion on my predicament and assist me,’ she said (Al-Jazeera, 2022).


Al-Jazeera. (2022, March 07). Al-Jazeera Economy. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/: https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/3/7/far-from-putins-russia-tajikistans-people-feel-sanctions-pain

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