Eurasianet says Tajikistan is trying to project a get-tough-on-terror image following the late March attack on a Krsonogorsk concert venue, in which Tajik nationals are accused of killing over 140 people.  But the government steps being taken reportedly appear to address the symptoms of the domestic challenge, not the disease.

The March 22 terror tragedy prompted a wave of retribution against Tajik citizens in Russia. 

Rahmon’s reflexive reaction to the involvement of Tajik nationals in the terror attack was to deflect. In a March 24 phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the Tajik president downplayed the notion that conditions inside Tajikistan had any connection to the terrorist attack in Krasnogorsk. “Terrorists have no nationality, no homeland and no religion,” Rahmon was quoted as telling Putin.

Underscoring the Tajik response, reports circulated April 4 that China will assist Tajik authorities in the implementation of the second phase of the Safe City project, which entails saturating Dushanbe with surveillance cameras.  The first phase of the project resulted in the installation of over 800 security cameras across the city.  The second phase will enhance surveillance capabilities in Dushanbe, Chinese television channel CGTN reported on April 11, noting that the project will also be expanded to other urban centers in Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, the state-run news agency Khovar reported on April 17 that Interior Ministry officials were conducting an awareness campaign in several Dushanbe’s districts, including Firdavsi, Sino and Shohmansour. The report indicated that authorities sought to compel allegiance to the government, and were not interested in learning about on-the-ground conditions.  “The public was called to patriotism, self-knowledge and reverence for the highest national values,” according to the Khovar report.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, reported April 16 that the Tajik parliament earlier had ratified an agreement with Turkey paving the way for the potential purchase of Turkish drones and other military equipment.  According to the agreement, the text of which was reviewed by Radio Ozodi reporters, Turkey will allocate roughly 1.5 million US dollars for the Tajik purchase of drones and other military items over a five-year period.  Tajikistan will have the ability to purchase additional equipment at the government’s own expense.