In 2020, the ruling party and President Emomali Rahmon won fraudulent elections lacking even basic political competition. The president, his family, and a small group of confidants have monopolized power and are in firm control of the political institutions and the major economic enterprises in the country. Rahmon is apparently preparing for a dynastic transition of power to his eldest son.

Tajikistan remains the most remittance-dependent country in the world, and with remittances from labor migration in sharp decline and inflation rising, the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the country into a serious crisis. More than 40% of the population struggled to afford food and essential goods.

The official response to the pandemic illustrated the blatant lack of professionalism, accountability, transparency, and responsibility among the political elite. After first denying the existence of COVID-19 in the country, the government eventually applied for financial assistance from international institutions. The authorities silenced civil society and imposed strict censorship on information related to the pandemic.

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