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Qishloq Ovozi

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (second left) and his family make the umrah pilgrimage to Mecca in January 2015.

The nine children of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, seven daughters and two sons, are doing quite well.

For example, oldest daughter Ozoda Rahmon, 40, is the head of the Tajik president's executive office; third daughter Rukhshona Rahmonova, 26, is the deputy head of the Foreign Ministry's international organizations department; sixth daughter Zarina Rahmon, 23, is deputy head of Tajikistan's largest commercial bank, Orienbonk; and oldest son Rustam Emomali, 30, is the mayor of Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe.

They undoubtedly have good lives, but the member of the family who seems to be having the most fun lately is President Rahmon's second son, Somon Emomali. Or at least the photos and videos posted on his Instagram page indicate this 18-year-old is having a great time.

But, before you look, remember: Tajikistan has the lowest average monthly salary of the former Soviet republics -- the equivalent of about $175. Some people, especially some pensioners, are living on much less than that.

Officially, Tajikistan's population is some 8.6 million, out of which probably more than 1 million working-age citizens are migrant laborers in Russia or Kazakhstan, legally and illegally, because they could not find decent employment in Tajikistan. Only about a half of Tajikistan's population has access to clean drinking water.

And, to be fair, Somon does not have a wristwatch collection that could compare to the wristwatches Ibabekir Bekdurdyev, the 28-year-old husband of one of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's nieces, owns.

RFE/RL's Uzbek Service contributed to this report. The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL
Shavkat Mirziyoev (left) has pushed out Rustam Inoyatov -- will political and economic reforms follow?

The departure of Rustam Inoyatov, the head of the powerful National Security Service, after more than 20 years has been called one of the biggest event in Uzbekistan's recent history, second only to the death of President Islam Karimov in 2016.

Seen as an obstacle to new President Shavkat Mirziyoev's plans for reform, Inoyatov's removal from power should free Mirziyoev to push forward his policies. Opinions vary on Mirziyoev's ability, and perhaps even desire, to make good on all his promises.

Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL's media-relations manager, moderated a discussion on what Inoyatov's exit means for President Mirziyoev, and his plans for Uzbekistan.

Joining the discussion from Bishkek was Steve Swerdlow (@steveswerdlow), the Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch. From Washington D.C., we had Catherine Putz (@LadyPutz ), managing editor at The Diplomat magazine and also the author of many articles about Central Asia, taking part in the conversation. Our own Alisher Sidik, director of RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, known locally as Ozodlik, helped us out. And I'm one of many people who were waiting for Inoyatov to leave, so I wanted to say some things as well.

Majlis Podcast: Uzbekistan After Inoyatov
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Bruce Pannier
Bruce Pannier

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.



Majlis Podcast: The Blackening Skies Of Central Asia
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Podcast: Majlis
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Majlis Podcast: The Blackening Skies Of Central Asia
Podcast: Majlis