As Russia Cracks Open Gate, Rush for Air Tickets Ensues in Tajikistan

Ikrom, a 32-year-old from Tajikistan’s southerly Temurmalik area, sold his cow for 10,000 somoni ($ 883) to raise the funds for the plane tickets to Moscow.

The cow has for the previous year supplied the only source of income for his home, which makes up his moms and dads, his better half as well as 2 children. Selling the animal’s milk enabled them to squeeze out an existence.

With the gate to Russia– a magnet for Tajik migrant workers– now reopening, people are considering determined procedures to get hold of the money required to get the costly air tickets. Lots of are offering their furnishings, others their priceless animals and yet others taking out loans.

The ticketing firm with the syndicate on marketing these tickets, in the meantime, is making a killing. The company comes from a child of President Emomali Rahmon.

In Tajikistan, migration is a seasonal business. The thrill to Russia begins in the springtime, and the workers, mostly males, return to their family members in the fall.

The pandemic brought that all to a halt in March 2020, just as many thousands were bracing for their journey northward.

Since after that, both nations have been linked only tenuously by periodic charter flights. But they were of no use to most of individuals wishing to take a trip for job. Russian nationals might fly to Russia, as well as Tajiks to Tajikistan.

On March 26, the Russian federal government announced the resumption of normal trips to Tajikistan, as well as other locations like Uzbekistan, Germany, Venezuela, Syria and also Sri Lanka. Aircrafts started flying again this month, however just a couple of times a week.

With a total go back to normality still some way off, airline companies are making use of the moment. Only Tajik airline Somon Air and also Russia’s Utair are operating the routes.

Every morning, from around 4 a.m., a group of lots of thousands of individuals forms outside the only box office in Dushanbe offering fares to Moscow.

The cash people had set aside for their airfares last year has actually long been invested in fundamentals like food, which is why individuals are turning to hopeless steps to elevate the cash.

The scenario is hardest for those who took a trip to Dushanbe from the areas in the hope of landing a ticket. While they are in the capital, they remain with family members or associates, but there is an implicit expiration date on their mission.

” Every day I am spending regarding 70-100 somoni ($ 6-9). If I don’t get a ticket soon, I will consume all my funds,” Ikrom told Eurasianet. “How can I return to the family house empty-handed?”

Several are tackling debt.

” I obtained 10,000 somoni from Imon International a microcredit loan provider,” Sunnat, that was waiting in the line at the ticket workplace, told Eurasianet.

” This money needs to be enough for me to get an air ticket as well as spend for my costs in Moscow up until I obtain a salary.”

One more man in the queue claimed he had borrowed cash from a next-door neighbor.

Roughly one-third of family members in Tajikistan count on cash sent out house from relatives functioning abroad. The pandemic has been a strike the scale of which is tough to examine.

According to Russian Central Bank information for 2020, the quantity of compensations from people lowered by $835 million to $1.7 billion, down from $2.6 billion in 2019.

The factor for the big groups in Dushane is that just one business, called Air Travel Agency, presently has ticket-selling opportunities. No authorities has supplied any kind of description as to why the syndicate has been instituted.

Tax Committee information reveal that the company comes from a daughter of President Rahmon, who passes the name Tahmina Rahmonova, and also her other half, Zarifbek Davlatov.

When information of a resumption in trips was damaged, transport regulators announced that return fares would certainly be selling for around $500. Concerning $350 to Moscow, and also $150 for the return. But with the number of individuals desiring to take a trip to Russia in the temporary numbering throughout the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands, cost rising cost of living was inevitable.

Bribery, in commonly crude forms, has actually followed. As a Eurasianet correspondent talked to people crowded outside the offices of Air Travel Agency, a police officer approached to supply assistance in return for a 500 somoni ($ 45) kickback. For that cost, he would certainly shepherd the payer right into the structure in advance of the waiting crowd.

Inside the sales office, which Eurasianet managed to get in without paying the asked for allurement, a rep was freely offering tickets at 8,000 somoni, higher than the amount set by the federal government.

” We will certainly offer you an air ticket for this quantity because you came in without queuing,” the boy informed a Eurasianet correspondent.

Other customers intending to acquire an Utair price have actually told reporters they were being charged rates double the main restriction.

Since the anguish is intense, the gouging can happen. Another enthusiastic customer, Bahodur, claimed that losing out on a ticket currently might indicate shedding a slot for an entire period of paid labor.

” Look, there are just two normal flights a week, to make sure that is maximum 400 individuals that can fly,” Bahodur informed Eurasianet.

” And there are more than 200,000 people who wish to do this. If I don’t persist in getting a ticket, when will I get one more turn?”

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