Communist Dictatorship in Tajikistan (1918-1991)

The settlement of the Tajik people that had belonged under the rule of different Turco-Mongol and Uzbek warlords in the Pamir and the Alay mountain ranges was left under Russian rule and partly under Afghanistan after the invasion of Tsarist Russia in the latter half of the 19th century. After the October revolution of 1917, native Muslims attempted to achieve statehood in the city of Quqon, but the attempt was ruined by the military invasion of Soviet Russia.

As a result of the siege on Quqon by the Red Army in 1919, at least 5 000 civilians were killed. Largely due to the policies of the Soviet state of Uzbekistan, the region of Turkestan, including Tajikistan, was hit by widespread famine in 1918-1918. Some records state that up to 1 million people lost their lives as a result. More people lost their life as a result of the anti-Bolshevik resistance of the farmers and so-called Basmachis who were protecting their property and heritage. The resistance lasted until the second half of the 1920s. 

The Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic was an attempt by the communists to create a new kind of socialist society in the smallest Central Asian country. Similarly to other Central Asian states, the new regime brought repressions along with socialist modernization. The collectivization of agriculture started in 1927-1929 and continued aggressively in the second half of the 1930s. Terror was one of the tools used during the collectivization of farmers and this led to a revival of the anti-government resistance in 1930-1936.

In the end of the 1920s, repressions in Tajikistan were also targeted against the 'opportunistic bourgeois nationalists' and the overly 'chauvinist' nationals. The Communist Party of Tajikistan endured through several waves of Stalinist purges between 1927 and 1934, during which 70% of the party members (approximately 10 000 people) fell victim to the Great Purge repressions of 1933-1935 and 1937-1938.

Before the Second World War, the anti-Muslim campaign to "promote" atheism took place against the Hanafi Sunnites. In the 1950s-1960s, most of the inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Tajikistan were deported to areas in need of workforce. During several smaller operations, at least 3 000 Basmachis were deported to Siberia in 1951-1952. Determining the impact and statistics of all these repressions will require continued research.

As a result of intensive agricultural and industrial activities, including the mining of uranium, Tajikistan was faced with several environmental problems after gaining independence in 1991. The fall of the Soviet Union gave a chance to former communist leaders to achieve positions of power in Tajikistan.

After the suppression of the democratic and Islamic civic movements in 1990-1991, a civil war broke out that lasted for 5 years and killed 40 000 - 80 000 people. Tajikistan, the poorest of the former Soviet states, is still governed by an autocratic government and from 2006 the situation of human rights has worsened.