Tajikistan’s systemic economic problems are part of the reason government resources are shrinking, says a report released by the International Crisis Group (ICG) on October 10.

The report entitled The Rising Risks of Misrule in Tajikistan, in particular, notes that many sectors are suffering: confidence is low in Tajikistan’s currency; remittances from Russia decreased in 2016; the real-estate market is crashing; and half of all bank loans are non-performing.

The Tajik government this year issued high-yield bonds to raise revenue, which has allowed them to avoid working with international financial institution or donors who ask for reforms, according to the report.

The government reportedly points to the Russian economic crisis as the primary cause of its woes, but fiscal mismanagement and predatory economic policies have also played a significant role over the past decade.

Citing diplomats, ICG says the lack of accountability remains a major hurdle for international financial support. In 2016, the Tajik government declined an offer of up to $200 million in the form of grants and loans from the World Bank, because of the pre-conditions attached, which involved reform of the banking sector, currently largely controlled by Rahmon family members and associates.  Nor did the EU or International Monetary Fund (IMF) provide financial support to the Tajik budget in 2016.  Tajikistan’s successful foray into the bond market arguably has weakened the leverage of donors seeking to impose political conditionality on aid and loans, the report stresses.

The public bears the brunt of these persistent economic difficulties.  ICG analysts stress that a third of Tajikistan’s population is undernourished and malnutrition is the underlying cause of about one third of child deaths, a higher proportion than in any of the other former Soviet republics.

But the economic crisis also affects the corruption and patronage networks in the country, the report says, noting that citizens and private businesses increasingly are unable to pay bribes to law enforcement officers and government officials. These officials, in turn, have become increasingly aggressive as they struggle to pay debts incurred to finance the bribes they had to pay to obtain their jobs. In short, economic realities are placing an increasingly fragile power structure under strain, raising questions about its long-term viability.

Founded in 1995, the International Crisis Group (ICG; also simply known as the Crisis Group) is a transnational non-profit, non-governmental organization.  It carries out field research on violent conflict and advances policies to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflict.  It advocates policies directly with governments, multilateral organizations and other political actors as well as the media.  ICG gives advice to governments and intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations, European Union and World Bank on the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict.  It combines field-based analysis, policy prescription, and advocacy, with key roles being played by senior management and board members.