Tajik President’s Son Will Tackle Customs Crime
Translation of TajikVoice’s post (RUS)
In late February, the Tajik President’s son Rustam Emomali was appointed to a newly created government post within the Customs Agency to tackle contraband and customs violations. The public found out about this fact in early March. The appointment caused widespread debate on the Internet and in Tajik media. The people were clearly against the decision. Not only was the son of the president appointed to a kind post that takes years of service to earn, he was also instantly promoted to the rank of major.
The eldest son of the Tajik president already boasts a number of impressive accomplishments. At a mere 23 years of age, he has served as a deputy in Dusanbe’s city parliament, as deputy chairman of the Youth Union of Tajikistan, as vice-president of Tajikistan’s Football Association, as a member of the Central Committee of his father’s ruling National-Democratic Party of Tajikistan, and as the head of the Small and Medium-Sized Business Support Agency at the State Committee for Investments and State Property Management.
But Rustami is most famous for his passion for football. A few years ago he even started his own football club, Istiqlol, which won the national championship in 2010. All of Tajikistan knows how well Rustami Emomali and his team play. If Rustami has the ball, no one, under any circumstances, will take it away from him. If Rustami has the ball, it’s going to be a goal! If a brave referee decides to award a penalty or book an Istiqlol player, it’s not going to turn out well for him.
The head of the NDPT’s Agitation, Propaganda and Media Relations Branch Usmon Solekhov does not share the negativity towards Rustam’s appointment. In one interview, he points out that taking one position or another in the government is the constitutional right of any citizen of the Republic of Tajikistan, including the children or close relatives of the head of state. Mr. Solekhov is confident that Rustam Emomali will carry out his duties successfully, since he speaks a foreign language.
Mr. Solekhov himself probably fails to appreciate the difficulty of working for the Customs Agency. It involves knowing over a thousand different guidelines and procedures, understanding registration rules, being familiar with the criminal, administrative and other codes, and so on. It takes people years to learn the intricacies of the job, and here is a 23-year-old son of the president, ready to solve all of Tajikistan’s customs issues when he has not worked a day in the agency.
Independent experts who commented on the appointment say it is no accident. Tajikistan is a smuggling destination for enormous quantities of fuels, lubricants and other industrial fluids, as well as alcohol and tobacco. From this we can draw two conclusions. The first is that the president has really decided to fight illegal imports. The second is that the president’s family has decided to take control of the most lucrative forms of business by removing their competitors (e.g. by arresting them for customs violations).
Let’s keep our eyes peeled.
Background. Rustam Emomali was born on 19 December 1987. He is the eldest son of the President of Tajikistan. Graduated from the National State University with a degree in international relations. Married. Has one daughter.