Fewer jobs and a worsening exchange rate hits households supported by expats in Russia. Families of the many Tajik migrant workers who have had to return home due to economic problems in Russia are now worrying about how they will get through the coming winter.
The head of Tajikistan’s central bank, Jamshed Nurmuhammadzoda, says expat workers sent home the equivalent of 700 million dollars in January-June this year, a whole billion dollars less than in the same period. There are two main reasons – the tightening job market in Russia means many foreign workers are the first to be laid off, and a worsening exchange rate that reduces the amount of money ending up in Tajikistan.
Hasan Nurulloev from the town of Vahdat near Dushanbe says he came back two months earlier than usual because of the ruble’s plummeting value. Because the ruble’s exchange rate has fallen against the benchmark US dollar more than the Tajik som’s rate has, earnings sent back by electronic transfer convert to a far lower sum than they did a year or two ago.
“A year ago. I could exchange 3,000 rubles for 100 dollars. Now it’s 6,000 to the dollar. Since the start of this year, I’ve spent several months unable to earn enough to support my family,” said Nurulloev, who used to work in Krasnodar in the south of Russia. “So I decided to come back home earlier than I planned.
Mehrangez Tursunzoda is an IWPR-trained journalist in Tajikistan.
This audio programme went out in Russian and Tajik on national radio stations in Tajikistan. It was produced under two IWPR projects: Empowering Media and Civil Society Activists to Support Democratic Reforms in Tajikistan, funded by the European Union, and Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of either the European Union or the Norwegian foreign ministry.