The continuing energy crisis is, probably, the worst problem that Tajikistan ever faced since the end of civil war. Neweurasia reports that most of the population is barely surviving this winter – the harshest in several decades – against the background of constant blackouts. The situation is even more desperate as electricity is the only source of heating throughout the whole country.
“Currently, most of the population in rural areas is supplied with electricity only 1,5 hour a day. In Dushanbe, the population is having electricity from 5 to 10 o'clock in the morning and then from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Beyond these time limits, people have no electricity and, therefore, no heating, no chance to cook etc. Most of the enterprises have been closed down and employees were forced to go on unscheduled and unpaid leave”, neweurasia reports..
Ravshan blames the government for poor management in the energy sector and absurd human resource management [ru]. Meanwhile, the introduced schedule of harsh electricity cut-offs is not fairly observed even in Dushanbe:
According to the schedule, the population should have electricity ten hours a day, but very they often turn on the electricity one hour later and cut it off one hour earlier. Basically, people have only 8 hours of access to electricity a day… They say nothing about the fact that the Minister of Energy and Industry graduated from the agricultural university and has no idea on how to manage the energy sector. Moreover, he never worked in this sphere. They also don't tell us that in emergency situation the electricity is being sold out to other countries. They simply say nothing about the most important things…
Ian at Beyond the river links wonders whether or not the general population should lose its patience with the leadership, like this anonymous lawyer from the Eurasianet's report has:
“We have double standards in our society. We see a number of new construction sites in Dushanbe, five-star hotels … And we see fancy cars and homes in the city. Everybody knows who these things belong to. These ‘masters of life’ control the economy, but they are deaf to the people’s cries. In the spring we will be facing another serious threat – dirty water from taps. And somebody will be appealing again for international assistance. It happens time and again.”
Indeed, the Tajikistan's authorities officially admitted their inability to cope with the energy crisis by appealing to international community for aid. Our leadership is certainly not the best one but – ironically – we'll always be looking back at our southern neighbor, Afghanistan, not wanting to repeat its fate. This is the behavioral model of many post-Soviet nations – “the fear of the worse” blocks protest potential and the notion of stability is being used to cover stagnation. Apparently, the population will not lose its patience for a long time, as it still remembers the war very well. But once it loses patience, there is a high possibility that Tajikistan can repeat the fate of Afghanistan, which is the least desired for everybody.