Founder of Peace and National Unity — Leader of the Nation
|3rd President of Tajikistan|
|Assumed office |
16 November 1994
|Prime Minister||Abdujalil Samadov|
|Preceded by||Rahmon Nabiyev|
Akbarsho Iskandrov (Acting)
|Leader of the People's Democratic Party|
|Assumed office |
10 December 1994
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of Tajikistan|
20 November 1992 – 16 November 1994
|Prime Minister||Akbar Mirzoyev|
|Preceded by||Akbarsho Iskandrov|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
Emomali Sharipovich Rahmonov
5 October 1952
Danghara, Tajik SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||People's Democratic Party (1994–present)|
|Communist Party |
|Spouse||Azizmo Asadullayeva (m. 1970s)|
|Alma mater||Tajik State National University|
|Years of service|
|Rank||General of the Army|
President of Tajikistan
Emomali Rahmon ([e̞mɔ̝mäˈli ɾähˈmɔ̝̃n]; born Emomali Sharipovich Rahmonov, Tajik: Эмомалӣ Шарипович Раҳмонов, romanized: Emomalī Sharipovich Rahmonov;[a] [emɔmæˈliː ʃærīpɔβɪtʃ ɾæhˈmɔːnɔβ]; 5 October 1952) is a Tajik politician who has been serving as 3rd President of Tajikistan since 16 November 1994. Previously he was the Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of Tajikistan, as the de facto head of state from 20 November 1992 to 16 November 1994 (the post of president was temporarily abolished during this period). Since 18 March 1998, he has also served as the leader of the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan, which dominates the Parliament of Tajikistan. On 30 September 1999, he was elected vice-president of the UN General Assembly for a one-year term.
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 liberal-democratic, nationalist and Islamist forces (the United Tajik Opposition) on the other.
Five times (in the elections of 1994, 1999, 2006, 2013 and 2020), Rahmon won undemocratic presidential elections; in addition, he extended and reformed his powers based on the results of the national constitutional referendums of 1999 and 2003. Since 25 December 2015, Emomali Rahmon has held the lifetime title of Peshvoyi Millat (Tajik: Пешвои Миллат), which means “Leader of the Nation”, in full — “Founder of peace and national Unity — Leader of the Nation”. 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.
Rahmon heads an authoritarian regime in Tajikistan with elements of a cult of personality. Political opponents are repressed, violations of human rights and freedoms are severe, elections are not free and fair, and corruption and nepotism are rampant. His family members occupy various important government positions, such as his 35-year-old son Rustam Emomali, who is the chairman of the country's parliament and the mayor of its capital city, Dushanbe.
Rahmon was born as Emomali Sharipovich Rakhmonov[b] to Sharif Rahmonov (c. 1912–1992) and Mayram Sharifova (1910–2004), a peasant family in Danghara, 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. From 1971-74, Rahmon served in the Soviet Union's Pacific Fleet, during which he was stationed in the Primorsky Krai. After completing military service, Rahmon returned to his native village where he worked for some time as an electrician.
As a 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.
In 1990, Rahmon was elected a people's deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Tajik SSR. 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—as the Parliamentary republican system adopted by Tajikistan did not provide for a ceremonial president, he was also Head of State—and the head of government. 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."
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, 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". In October 2020, he was once again re-elected as president for a fifth term with a margin of 90.92%, amid allegations of fraud.
On 22 May 2016, a nationwide referendum approved a number of changes to the country's constitution. 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. 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. 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.
Tajikistan under Rahmon is a neopatrimonial regime, characterized by a high degree of clientelism, corruption, and poor governance. In a diplomatic cable that was leaked in 2010, the U.S. ambassador in Tajikistan, reported that Rahmon and his family control the country's major businesses, including the largest bank. In November 2018, Rahmon launched a hydroelectric station to solve energy problems.
Role in War on Terror
In July 2021, over 1,000 Afghan troops and civilians fled to Tajikistan after the Taliban insurgents took control of many parts of Afghanistan. In response, Rahmon ordered 20,000 reserve servicemen of the country's Ground Forces to be sent to the Afghan–Tajik border.
Cult of personality and powers
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 – Peshvo‘i millat; Russian: Основатель мира и национального единства – Лидер нации, Osnovatel mira i natsionalnogo yedinstva – Lider natsii). 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.
Religion and convictions
Rahmon is a Sunni Muslim and has frequently stressed his Muslim background even though his administration is engaged in a relentless campaign against public displays of Islamic devotion. 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. 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.
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".
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."
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.
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.
He is married to Azizmo Asadullayeva and has seven daughters and two sons. Two of his children, Rustam Emomali and Ozoda Rahmon, are senior officials in his administration, while another, Zarina Rahmon, was appointed deputy head of Orienbank in January 2017. Rustam is believed to be prepared by his father to succeed him as leader of Tajikistan.
In the summer of 2021, coronavirus ravaged the country, and Emomali Rahmon's sister reportedly died in a hospital of COVID-19 on 20 July. According to local media, her sons physically assaulted the national health minister and a senior doctor.
In March 2007, Rahmonov changed his surname to Rahmon, getting rid of the Russian-style "-ov" ending. He also removed the patronymic, Sharipovich, from his name altogether. Rahmon explained that he had done so out of respect for his cultural heritage. 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.
Honours and awards
- Honorary Doctorate of Leadership by the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT)
- Hero of Tajikistan
- Order of Mubarak the Great
- Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (2008)
- Order of the Three Stars (2009)
- Order of Merit of Ukraine (2011)
- Heydar Aliyev Order (2012)
- Order of the President of Turkmenistan (2012)
- Order of the Republic of Serbia (2013)
- Order of Alexander Nevsky (2017)
- Order of Parasat (2018)
- Mark of Honour of Heads of State in Central Asia (2021)
- Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" (2022)
- Honorary Doctorate in arts by Cairo University
- Order of the Golden Eagle (2023)
- 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.
- Russian: Эмомали́ Шари́пович Рахмо́нов, romanized: Emomalí Sharípovich Rahmónov
- "Tajikistan's eternal ruler Emomali Rakhmon | DW | 12.10.2020". DW.COM. Deutsche Welle. Archived from the original on 6 July 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
- "World Report 2019: Rights Trends in Tajikistan". Human Rights Watch. 15 January 2019. Archived from the original on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
- "The world's enduring dictators: Emomali Rahmon, Tajikistan". www.cbsnews.com. CBS News. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
- "Tajikistan: Nations in Transit 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Archived from the original on 11 July 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
- "Nepotism And Dynasty In Central Asian Politics". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Archived from the original on 11 July 2021. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- Benevento, Chris. "Tajikistan: President's Daughter Gets Plum Ministry Job". www.occrp.org. Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Archived from the original on 11 July 2021. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- "The Happiest Member Of The Rahmon Family". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- "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.
- "Эмомали Рахмон о своем отце". Akhbor.com. Archived from the original on 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
- "Скончалась мать президента Таджикистана Рахмонова" (in Russian). РИА Новости. 23 November 2004. Archived from the original on 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
- "Тарҷумаи Ҳоли Эмомалии Раҳмон". Government of Tajikistan. Archived from the original on 15 December 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "РАХМОН Эмомали Шарифович" (in Russian). ЦентрАзия. Archived from the original on 22 August 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- "Эмомали Рахмон". Сайт Президента Республики Таджикистан. Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "ЭМОМАЛӢ РАҲМОН [Official Biography]". Official Website of the President of Tajikistan. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Emomali Rahmon". Official Website of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
- "Tajikistan: Former Interior Minister In Dushanbe To Face Trial For Treason". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Archived from the original on 17 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
- "Emomali Rahmon: The Accidental Leader Who Has Stayed In Power For Decades". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Archived from the original on 17 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
- "Tajikistan - Leninabad: Crackdown In The North". Hrw.org. April 1998. Archived from the original on 2 November 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Republic of Tajikistan, Presidential Election 6 November 2013: OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report". OSCE/ODIHR. 5 February 2014. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- Putz, Catherine. "Tajikistan's Presidential Election Yields Expected Results". thediplomat.com. The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 26 January 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- Abdulkerimov, Bahtiyar. "Tajikistan's president sworn in for 5th term". aa.com.tr. Anadolu Agency. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- "Amid Fraud Allegations, Results Give Tajikistan's Rahmon Fifth Presidential Term". rferl.org. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Archived from the original on 26 January 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- "Tajikistan Approves Constitutional Changes Tightening Rahmon's Grip On Power". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL. 23 May 2016. Archived from the original on 26 May 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
- "Why Does Tajikistan Need A Referendum?". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL. 20 May 2016. Archived from the original on 21 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Tajiks to vote in 'president-for-life' referendum". Reuters. 10 February 2016. Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Tajikistan: regime eternalization completed?". The Politicon. The Politicon. 26 January 2017. Archived from the original on 8 November 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- Filippo Menga, "Public Construction and Nation-Building in Tajikistan" in Nation-Building and Identity in the Post-Soviet Space: New Tools and Approaches (eds. Rico Isaacs & Abel Polesem: Taylor & Francis: 2016), p. 197.
- Anna Kreikemeyer, "National Sovereignty and Eurasian Regionalism: Defensive Answers on Transnational Threats in Central Asia" in European Peace and Security Policy: Transnational Risks of Violence (Nomos Bloomsbury: 2015), p. 174.
- Luke Harding: WikiLeaks cables paint bleak picture of Tajikistan, central Asia’s poorest state Archived 25 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 12 Dec 2010.
- "Tajikistan Launches Giant Power Plant To Tackle Energy Problems". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Archived from the original on 4 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
- "Tajikistan Reportedly Calls On Allies For Help With Security Challenges From Afghanistan". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 7 July 2021. Archived from the original on 22 November 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
- "Заседание Совета Безопасности Республики Таджикистан | Президенти Тоҷикистон - President of Tajikistan - Президент Таджикистана - رئيس جمهورية تاجيكستان". president.tj. Archived from the original on 11 July 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
- "Қонуни Ҷумҳурии Тоҷикистон дар бораи Асосгузори сулҳу ваҳдати миллӣ – Пешвои миллат". Official Website of the President of Tajikistan. 25 December 2015. Archived from the original on 25 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Tajikistan: Leader of the Nation Law Cements Autocratic Path". EurasiaNet.org. 11 December 2015. Archived from the original on 12 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Teflon Rahmon: Tajik President Getting 'Leader' Title, Lifelong Immunity". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL's Tajik Service. 10 December 2015. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- 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.
- "Tajikistan's crackdown on observant Muslims intensifies". The Economist. 21 September 2017. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
- "Tajikistan's Islam-Averse Leader Goes to Mecca". EurasiaNet.org. 5 January 2016. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Tajik President Wins Re-Election". The Washington Post. 7 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- "Top Islamic Body Holds Foreign Minister Meeting In Dushanbe". Rferl.org. 18 May 2010. Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Hizb ut Tahrir". BBC News. BBC. 27 August 2003. Archived from the original on 28 August 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- 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. Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Tajikistan human rights fears as banned party's ex-leaders jailed for life". The Guardian. Reuters. 2 June 2016. Archived from the original on 24 February 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Harriet Agerholm (1 September 2017). "Tajikstan passes law 'to stop Muslim women wearing hijabs'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
- "Qəhrəman ana - Tacikistanın birinci ledisi - FOTOLAR". Modern.az. 25 February 2013. Archived from the original on 16 February 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Tajik President's Son Officially Second-in-Line to Presidency". The Diplomat. 20 April 2020. Archived from the original on 17 September 2020. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
- "Ozoda Rahmon, who heads President's Executive Office, turns 40 today". Asia-Plus. 3 January 2018. Archived from the original on 11 July 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
- "Daughter Of Tajik President Named Deputy Head Of Major Bank". rferl.org. Radio Free Europe/RadioLiberty. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
- Putz, Catherine. "Hired: Tajik President's Daughter Lands Deputy Post at a Major Bank". thediplomat.com. The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
- Abdurasulov, Abdujalil (14 May 2016). "How Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon consolidated his power". BBC News. Archived from the original on 7 March 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
- "Соболезнования Президенту Таджикистана". Archived from the original on 31 July 2021. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
- Dixon, Robyn (27 July 2021). "After the Tajik president's sister died of covid, her sons beat up the country's top health officials". The Washington Post. Moscow. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
- Najibullah, Farangis (4 April 2007). "Central Asia: Name Debate Reflects Region's Mixed History". Radio Free Europe. Archived from the original on 9 March 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
- "Президент Таджикистана сменил фамилию и подкорректировал имя". Сегодня. 22 March 2007. Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Президент Таджикистана отрезал от своей фамилий Русское окончание (in Russian)". Lenta.ru. 21 March 2007. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Tajikistan Bans Giving Babies Russian-Style Last Names". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL. 30 April 2016. Archived from the original on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "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.
- "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.
- "Tajik President awarded Order of Alexander Nevsky | Vestnik Kavkaza". vestnikkavkaza.net. Archived from the original on 24 September 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "AKIpress News Agency". m.akipress.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "Emomali Rahmon Awarded the Mark of Honour of the Heads of Central Asian States | Президенти Тоҷикистон - President of Tajikistan - Президент Таджикистана - رئيس جمهورية تاجيكستان". Archived from the original on 11 August 2021. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
- "МИД Кыргызстана вызвал посла Таджикистана в Бишкеке | Report.az". Archived from the original on 8 October 2022. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
- "president of the republic of tajikistan Receives Honorary Doctorate in arts From Cairo University". Cairo University. 12 March 2022. Archived from the original on 13 March 2022. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
- "Глава государства Касым-Жомарт Токаев наградил Президента Таджикистана Эмомали Рахмона орденом «Алтын Қыран»". www.akorda.kz (in Russian). 4 May 2023.