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Tajikistan Advises Citizens To Avoid Traveling To Russia

Tajikistan has advised its citizens to refrain from traveling to Russia amid increased pressures faced by Central Asians there following the deadly Crocus City Hall attack near Moscow last month.

The Tajik Foreign Ministry issued the “temporary” advisory on April 27, a day after Tajik officials expressed concerns about Tajiks being “unjustifiably” denied entry to Russia.

Human rights organizations and Tajik officials have reported rising levels of xenophobia against Central Asians in Russia following the terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue that left 144 people dead and hundreds more injured.

Russian investigators say the assault — Russia’s worst terrorist attack in two decades — was carried out by four men, all Tajik nationals. Other detainees are being held for aiding and abetting the attackers.

Russian authorities have arrested 11 Tajik citizens, the latest on April 27, and a Kyrgyzstan-born Russian citizen in connection with the attack.

An offshoot of the Islamic State extremist group, the Islamic State-Khorasan group active in Afghanistan and Central Asia, claimed responsibility for the attack. Tajikistan has also detained nine people suspected of having links to the attack.

Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Mukhriddin said on April 12 that “an ill-conceived information campaign” in Russia was creating “a negative perception” of Tajiks.

Muhriddin also condemned the treatment of the Tajik suspects held in connection with the attack amid allegations that the detainees were tortured in custody.

Before-And-After Images Suggest Severe Abuse Of Moscow Terror Suspects
Photo Gallery:Before-And-After Images Suggest Severe Abuse Of Moscow Terror Suspects

Several Tajik suspects showed signs of abuse when they appeared in court in Moscow following the attack. The four accused gunmen had bruised and swollen faces and showed other signs of having been severely beaten. There were unconfirmed reports that one of them had his ear cut off during his arrest.

Russia is a popular destination for Tajik migrant laborers, who are often engaged in construction and agricultural work. More than 652,000 Tajiks traveled to Russia for work in 2023, according to Tajik labor officials.

Tajikistan is heavily dependent on remittances from Tajik migrant laborers, with about a third of its GDP coming from money sent home from abroad, mostly Russia.

Russia has cited labor shortages as a significant problem affecting all sectors of its economy.

Source: RFERL