This paper presents an analytical narrative of the process of civil war and state formation in Tajikistan. The purpose of the study is to assist in identifying causal mechanisms for the civil war and state breakdown. The paper provides a brief historical account of the establishment of Tajikistan during Soviet times, then proceeds to assess how political contestation unfolded when the Soviet system fell apart and how this has changed over time. It analyses why the violence started and how the state managed to survive, how it responded to crises, and how it was actively engaged in their creation. Lastly, it discusses the factors contributing to and hindering state reconstruction after the war.
The study does not attempt to cover all aspects of the modern political history of Tajikistan and concentrates on internal developments, providing a brief account of the roles of external powers to put events into context. This is consistent with the main argument of the paper that internal factors were largely responsible both for the crisis and subsequent recreation of the state, while external forces played mitigating or exacerbating roles. The study is based on a review of the existing literature in English and in Russian, and identifies any gaps in current research. It is supplemented by field interviews conducted by the author in Tajikistan between 2003 and 2007.
Working Paper No. 46 (series 2), London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 61 pp.