Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have seen multiple officials arrested in a new corruption drive by both nations. However, it has hard to believe that these actions are driven by a genuine desire to tackle corruption, instead the drivers behind the action are less obvious and more speculative and it has been suggested that it is due to alarm at Turkmenistan’s stalling economy and feuds within the Tajik ruling elite.
In Turkmenistan corruption is a staple of everyday life and infects every aspect of the government, Freedom House’s latest corruption update gave Uzbekistan its lowest possible rank 7.00. Attacking corruption could be a way of scapegoating officials for Turkmenistan’s poor economic results.
However, Tajikistan’s corruption drive is possibly a sign of in fighting amongst the various tribal groups that make up the Tajik ruling elite, although due to the opaque nature of Tajik politics this is speculative. Although a dispute between the President’s son Rustam Emomali and his predecessor as mayor of Dushanbe Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev who he forced out seems likely. As many of the officials arrested were Rustam’s colleagues from the anti-corruption agency which he use to run. Plus, the organisation arresting the officials, the GKNB, is run by a native of the Farkhor district which shares regional ties with Mahmadsaid.
Although motives behind the anti-corruption drives remains speculative, it is safe to say that they will not challenge the deep-seated corruption and nepotism that runs rife in both nations.