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id: 83709

date: 10/31/2006 12:41

refid: 06DUSHANBE1998

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

destination: 06DUSHANBE1773|06DUSHANBE1848|06DUSHANBE1863|06DUSHANBE1931|06DUSHANBE1935|06DUSHANBE1998

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RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0440

----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 001998

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  10/31/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: ONE WEEK OUT: RAHMONOV'S PR CAMPAIGN STRENGTHENS, DPT DRAMA

ESCALATES

REF: A) DUSHANBE 1773 B) DUSHANBE 1848 C) DUSHANBE 1863 D) DUSHANBE 1931 E) DUSHANBE 1935

CLASSIFIED BY: TJACOBSON, AMBASSADOR, STATE, STATE.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (C) SUMMARY:  With six days to go before the election, the

pocket party candidates have hit the campaign trail and look

more like public relations agents campaigning for Rahmonov than

candidates in their own right.  The Democratic Party of

Tajikistan's (DPT) drama continues with the remnant DPT trying

to ratchet up their profile by appealing to the OSCE and

international community to intervene in the party's split; while

the Vatan faction faces internal rifts of its own.  The

Commonwealth of Independent States mission has already hit the

press and declared no serious violations have been committed so

far. END SUMMARY.

CANDIDATES HIT THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL TOGETHER

2.  (SBU) The four candidates running against incumbent

President Rahmonov are traveling throughout Tajikistan together

to deliver their stump speeches and spread their platform

messages.  However, thus far, it appears as if their campaign

trail is actually helping Rahmonov.  Media reports have quoted

candidates plugging Rahmonov, unwilling to publicly criticize

him and unable to promote themselves as better leaders.  A

presidential representative traveled with the candidates.

3.  (U) Socialist Party of Tajikistan (SPT) candidate Abdulahim

Ghafforov admitted that it is not easy for him to be "a great

person of the nation, as is Rahmonov."   The Communist Party of

Tajikistan's candidate, Ismoil Talbakov said, "Emomali Rahmonov

has done much for the people and he has his place in our

history."

4.  (SBU)  The weak campaign messages of the Party of Economic

Reforms of Tajikistan, Agrarian Party of Tajikistan, Socialist

Party of Tajikistan and the Communist Party and their

candidates' inability to distinguish themselves and criticize

Rahmonov's actions and policies actually help make Rahmonov look

like the best candidate.

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BATTLE- NO ONE WINS

5.  (C) . With the government's support, the Ministry of Justice

and the Central Commission on Elections and Referenda have now

recognized the breakaway Vatan faction as the official

Democratic Party of Tajikistan (see Ref C and previous).  The

Ministry of Justice now considers the case closed and has left

it to the Supreme Court to decide any appeals from the original

DPT.

6.  (C) OSCE Political Officer informed PolOff the original DPT

faction, headed by imprisoned chairman Mahmmadruzzi Iskandarov,

wrote a letter to the OSCE mission desperately requesting the

OSCE  "not to stay impartial" in the DPT rift.  The party

reminded the OSCE that the organization's position in the

conflict between Russia and Georgia "added value to the OSCE

prestige in the international scene."  The organization is

deliberating on its response.  Although the court case is

ongoing, the DPT is impatient and does not have confidence the

heavily politicized Tajik courts will rule in Iskandarov's

supporters' favor.  By seeking OSCE support, the party is

attempting to raise its profile to the international arena.  The

local OSCE mission's political officer has advised headquarters

that this is an internal manner that has not been fully

exhausted legally and to refrain from becoming involved at the

present.

7. (C) To complicate things even more, Masud Sobirov, Chairman

of the breakaway Vatan faction of the DPT, admitted to Embassy

DUSHANBE 00001998  002 OF 002

sources that the faction itself is facing an internal rift.

Sobirov and Vatan's First Deputy Chairman, S. Ismonov, who

supported the party financially, are now vying for power.  In a

bizarre twist, Sobirov sabotaged his own party's chances of

running a candidate during the presidential election.  He

alleged the government helped gather the required 165,000

signatures so that the party could run Tabarali Ziyoev as its

presidential candidate.  Upon receiving the petitions, he burned

them.  He explained that he did this because he did not deem

Ziyoev a worthy candidate for president.

CIS OBSERVATION MISSION GETS A HEAD START

8.  (U)  The 200-plus strong Commonwealth of Independent States

election observation mission has already made press statements

declaring that it has seen no serious violations in election

procedure thus far.  The OSCE/ODIHR has made some preliminary

remarks to the press, but has refrained from drawing

conclusions.  They will issue an interim report immediately

following the election.  OSCE/ODIHR will conduct observer

training November 3 for all observers, including 23 embassy

observers.  Post will deploy embassy observers throughout the

country November 4-7 to observe and report on voting practices.

9.  (C)  COMMENT:  Although the election results are a foregone

conclusion, the process still needs to be monitored.  The

Democratic Party of Tajikistan's drama will last through the

election and the court's decision post-election will be

indicative of how tightly Rahmonov will hold onto power in his

third term.  Another sign will be how the administration reacts

to the international observers' reports.  Judging from its

pre-election myopia, the CIS report will be much more favorable

than the ODIHR mission's report.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 83714

date: 10/31/2006 12:59

refid: 06DUSHANBE2000

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination:

header:

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RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE PRIORITY 0445

RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY 0104

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 002000

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN

DOC FOR BISNIS

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON, ECIN, EIND, EFIN, EAID, PREL, TBIO, ETRD, PGOV, TI

SUBJECT: "PLEASE TRAIN OUR WORKERS" -- TAJIK BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE

1.  (U) Summary.  While the upper echelons of the Tajik

government focus on immense energy projects, a frank and lively

discussion by local businesspeople offered fresh examples of

corruption and decay in the small and medium enterprise sector,

especially related to customs, standards, and the lack of

business associations.  At an Embassy-hosted round-table, five

business representatives asked for U.S. assistance for

vocational training opportunities for Tajik workers, bemoaning

their lack of readiness for the modern, post-Soviet world.  End

Summary.

2.  (U) The Embassy hosted a roundtable October 25 with

representatives from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

to discuss difficulties in the Tajik business operating

environment.  Tajik participants included Maruf Orifov and

Gulnora Mahmudova from the Orima supermarket chain; Matluba

Uljabaeva of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises;

Khalilov Jalil, a customs broker; and Tamara Khalikova of the

Association of Construction Enterprises.

3.  (U) Uljabaeva lamented the lack of effective business

associations in Tajikistan, laying blame squarely on the Tajiks

who are afraid of speaking out for themselves.  She lambasted

the Special Commission on Business Promotion under the Ministry

of Economy and Trade as utterly ineffective and described how

ongoing complications with inspections and licensing,

standardization, and taxes all hinder small business growth.

She spoke in favor of a U.S.-Tajik Chamber of Commerce in

Tajikistan and endorsed the EBRD's plans for a Tajik business

council.

4.  (U) Khalilov Jalil, a local customs broker, enumerated

concrete examples of problems with customs and standards.

Gosstandart, the State Agency for Industrial Standards, charges

a heavy 0.3 to 1.5% for standardization services on imported

goods to Tajikistan, and does not publish a specific list of

goods that need to be certified.  They try to license all goods

that enter Tajikistan, with sometimes humorous results.  For

example, when a Tajik company attempted to import a plane,

Gosstandart required the company to receive a government

license, but Gosstandart did not have the equipment to check the

plane.  He described the difficulties Russian Hotels is having

with customs clearance to build the Hyatt in Dushanbe.  The lack

of clear mechanisms for regulating customs allows massive fraud,

waste, and mismanagement to occur.  In another example,

Gosstandart certifies food products for three months regardless

of whether they last three months or three years.  For the Orima

Supermarket chain that imports 13,000 different goods, this

presents a serious obstacle for business.  They noted that the

market reports produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce

BISNIS program provide some of the best information on Tajik

customs and regulatory processes not only for foreign investors,

but for domestic companies.

5.  (U) Representatives marveled at certain government

peculiarities.  For instance, the government places high

protective import tariffs on goods even when there is no

domestic production to protect.  Business visas to Tajikistan

cost different amounts depending on the country of origin, and

remain onerous to obtain.

6.  (U) Participants all complained about the Tajik workforce's

inexperience.  Orima has opened up its own training center for

its employees to teach them basic accounting, management, and

customer service.  U.S. exchanges and technical assistance could

provide needed support in this area.

7.  (U) Comment:  The small businesses' complaints about customs

and inspections are familiar, but their recognition of the

severe shortcomings in human capacity is new.  The government

frequently touts its low-cost workforce as an incentive for

foreign investors to come to Tajikistan, but employers often get

what they pay for.  A workforce short on education and

competency is not necessarily an advantage even at cut-rate

wages.  Until human capital improves, foreign investors in

Tajikistan could end up being as frustrated as Tajik businessmen

themselves.  End Comment.

JACOBSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 84110

date: 11/2/2006 17:03

refid: 06DUSHANBE2017

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED

destination:

header:

VZCZCXRO7904

PP RUEHAT

DE RUEWMFS #2017 3061703

ZNR UUUUU

P 021703Z NOV 06

FM AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE

TO AMCONSUL AMSTERDAM

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS DUSHANBE 002017

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS:  ECON, EAGR, EINV, EIND, ETRD, PGOV, TI

SUBJECT: SUPERMARKET SWEEP - THE NEW LOOK OF GROCERIES IN TAJIKISTAN

1.  (U) SUMMARY: A TAJIK-DUTCH JOINT VENTURE HAS CREATED THE

FIRST WESTERN-STYLE SUPERMARKET CHAIN IN TAJIKISTAN, "ORIMA,"

FEATURING HUNDREDS OF IMPORTED PRODUCTS AIMED AT THE LOCAL

MARKET.  UTILIZING A SERIES OF EXCLUSIVE PRODUCT DISTRIBUTION

PAGE 2 RUEWMFS2017 UNCLAS DUSHANBE 002017

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA

AGREEMENTS, ORIMA IS QUICKLY EXPANDING WITH PLANS TO OPEN A

TOTAL OF 15 STORES AROUND THE COUNTRY IN THE NEXT YEAR.  ORIMA

FACES THE USUAL DIFFICULTIES WITH CUSTOMS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

INTERFERENCE, BUT HAS ACHIEVED OVER $20 MILLION IN ANNUAL SALES,

WITH ROOM TO GROW.  END SUMMARY.

2.  (U) AN EXPERIENCED AND INFLUENTIAL JOINT-VENTURE GROUP

INTRODUCED THE ORIMA BRAND IN TAJIKISTAN.  THE DUTCH M&P CO.

GROCERY CHAIN CREATED ITS FIRST JOINT VENTURE IN TAJIKISTAN IN

1996, OPENING AN "M&P" STORE IN DUSHANBE.  THE M&P JOINT VENTURE

OPENED UP THE NEW "ORIMA" BRAND, WHICH STANDS FOR THE FIRST

LETTERS OF THE GENERAL DIRECTOR'S NAME, ORIFOV MARUF.  ORIFOV

HOLDS SHARES IN TOJIKSODIROTBANK, WHICH IS CONNECTED WITH

IZATULLO HAYOEV, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF SOVIET TAJIKISTAN IN

THE LATE 1980S AND EARLY 1990S, FROM THE POLITICALLY-POWERFUL

KULOB REGION.

3.  (U) ORIMA (HTTP://ORIMA.TJ/ENG/INDEX(ENG).HTM) IS QUICKLY

REVOLUTIONIZING GROCERY SHOPPING IN TAJIKISTAN.  TAJIK CONSUMERS

CAN NOW FIND PREVIOUSLY UNHEARD OF ITEMS ON ORIMA'S SHELVES:

BARILLA PASTA, TORTILLA CHIPS, BRAZILIAN FROZEN CHICKENS,

SPANISH OLIVE OIL, DANISH COOKIES, SRI LANKAN TEA, JUICES FROM

PAGE 3 RUEWMFS2017 UNCLAS DUSHANBE 002017

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA

RUSSIA, FROZEN SEAFOOD, AND MUCH MORE.  ORIMA CONTROLS ALL ITS

OWN TRANSPORTATION, AND SHIPMENTS COME MAINLY THROUGH THE

SEAPORTS POTI (GEORGIA), NOVOROSSIYSK (RUSSIA), KLAIPEDA AND

RIGA (LATVIA), THEN BY RAIL OR BY ROAD TO TAJIKISTAN.  ORIMA

PLANS TO FURTHER MODERNIZE THE TAJIK FOOD DISTRIBUTION MARKET BY

BUILDING TAJIKISTAN'S FIRST REFRIGERATED WAREHOUSE.  THE

SUPERMARKET TARGETS NOT ONLY THE WEALTHY; MIDDLE AND LOWER-CLASS

CONSUMERS ALSO CROWD INTO THE BRIGHTLY-LIT STORES.  CONSUMERS

RECEIVE A MAGNETIZED STRIP SHOPPER'S DISCOUNT CARD FOR 5% OFF

EACH PURCHASE, AND THE STORES FEATURE CREDIT CARD POINT-OF-SALE

TERMINALS.  (COMMENT: THE CREDIT CARD TERMINALS HAVE NOT YET

WORKED FOR EMBOFFS.  END COMMENT).

4.  (U) DESPITE ITS POLITICAL CONNECTIONS, M&P FACES HEADACHES

WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE.  ORIFOV EXPRESSED

FRUSTRATION DURING A MEETING WITH EMBOFFS ABOUT THE DUSHANBE

MAYOR'S OFFICE, AND ITS KNACK FOR DELAYING THE OPENING OF NEW

BUSINESSES IN DUSHANBE.  BUREAUCRATS SIT ON DOCUMENTS FOR MONTHS

UNTIL THE PRESIDENT OF THE COMPANY PERSONALLY BEGS THE OFFICIAL

TO MOVE FORWARD, AND THEN ONLY STARTS WORKING WHEN SOMETHING IS

IN HIS POCKET, ACCORDING TO ORIFOV.  HE ALSO NOTED THE

PAGE 4 RUEWMFS2017 UNCLAS DUSHANBE 002017

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA

INEFFECTIVENESS OF NEW TAJIK VISA REGULATIONS, WHICH IN THEORY

ALLOW NON-TAJIKS TO OBTAIN A VISA AT THE AIRPORT, WHILE

REGISTERING THE VISITOR'S VISA AFTER ARRIVAL CAN TAKE TWO WEEKS.

5.  (U) ORIMA FACES A CHRONIC SHORTAGE OF LOCAL DAIRY PRODUCTS

IN DUSHANBE, WHICH ARE PRODUCED BY A MONOPOLY DAIRY FACTORY IN

THE CAPITAL.  ACCORDING TO ORIFOV, SEVERAL LOCAL BUSINESSPEOPLE

AND ALSO FOREIGN INVESTORS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO INVEST IN THE

INDUSTRY BUT WERE TURNED AWAY BY LOCAL OFFICIALS.  NEITHER RICE

NOR SOY MILK ARE AVAILABLE HERE AS SUBSTITUTES, BUT ORIMA

MANAGES TO IMPORT MILK FROM RUSSIA TO FILL THE NEED.

6.  (U) IN A PARTICULARLY EXCITING DEVELOPMENT, M&P IS OPENING

UP A SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN FAST FOOD FRANCHISE IN DOWNTOWN

DUSHANBE LATER THIS WEEK.  THANKS TO A FRANCHISING AGREEMENT

WITH THIS BRITISH FAST FOOD CHAIN, TAJIKS WILL BE ABLE TO ENJOY

CRISPY (OR SPICY) SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN, CORN ON THE COB,

COLESLAW AND BISCUITS, IN A KFC-MEETS-LONG JOHN SILVER'S

ENVIRONMENT, OR IN HANDY TO-GO BOXES.  EMBOFFS ATTENDING THE

PRE-OPENING EVENT WERE GREETED BY SMILING EMPLOYEES AND FINGER

LICKIN' GOOD CHICKEN.  MANAGED BY ALISHER ORIFOV, MARUF'S SON,

THIS OPENING REPRESENTS SEVERAL STEPS UP IN THE QUALITY OF

PAGE 5 RUEWMFS2017 UNCLAS DUSHANBE 002017

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA

RESTAURANT LIFE IN DUSHANBE.

7.  (U) COMMENT: MARUF ORIFOV IS A FORWARD THINKER, WITH A COPY

OF WAL-MART FOUNDER SAM WALTON'S BOOK ON HIS DESK.  M&P HAS

OPENED ITS OWN TRAINING CENTER FOR ALL ITS EMPLOYEES, WITH

VISITING TRAINERS FROM MOSCOW, KAZAKHSTAN, CANADA, BELGIUM AND

GREAT BRITAIN.  IN ORIFOVS OPINION, TAJIKISTAN LACKS MANAGERS

WHO CAN OPERATE A BUSINESS, AND NEW GRADUATES FROM TAJIK

UNIVERSITIES KNOW LITTLE ABOUT ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS

MANAGEMENT, LET ALONE CUSTOMER SERVICE.  WITH 300 EMPLOYEES,

ORIMA AND M&P MAY HELP PROVIDE SOME BASIC DISCIPLINE FOR

TAJIKISTAN'S WORKFORCE TO SUCCEED IN FUTURE JOBS, MUCH LIKE

MCDONALDS IN THE UNITED STATES.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 84162

date: 11/3/2006 7:07

refid: 06DUSHANBE2019

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

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RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 DUSHANBE 002019

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SCA FOR DEUTSCH; NSC FOR MERKEL; E FOR HENGEL AND DUNCAN; EMBASSY MANILA PLEASE PASS TO ADB AMBASSADOR SPELTZ

E.O. 12958: DECL:  11/3/2016

TAGS: ECIN, PGOV, PREL, ECON, ENRG, EFIN, TI, AF, KG, PK

SUBJECT: DUSHANBE ELECTRICITY CONFERENCE PRODUCES MEMORANDUM OF

UNDERSTANDING

CLASSIFIED BY: Tom Hushek, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy

Dushanbe, STATE.

REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (SBU)  INTRODUCTION:  Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and

Tajikistan moved three steps closer to establishing a regional

transmission system and electricity market at the Second Central

and South Asia regional electricity market conference.  During

the October 26-28 conference in Dushanbe, the four countries:

1) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the development of a

Central Asia- South Asia Regional Electricity Market (CASAREM),

2) established an Inter-Ministerial Council and continued the

Multi-Country Working Group as part of the decision-making

framework, and 3) agreed to a roadmap that spelled out the next

steps, including two feasibility studies, a working group

meeting and a June ministerial in Kabul.  The steps represent

real progress, but only the studies will show whether the good

will translates into a commercially viable electricity

transmission network.  The political and security issues that

went unmentioned during the conference will have to be addressed

to attract investors.  END INTRODUCTION.

2. (SBU)  The signing of the memorandum of understanding allows

the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank to launch

tenders for two studies to determine the viability of bringing

1,000 megawatts of electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

through Afghanistan to Pakistan and to recommend structures for

organizing the system, financing and mitigating risks.  The ADB

will fund a techno-economic assessment examining the

availability and cost of power year round, Pakistan's power

requirements, and transmission options, routes, and costs.   The

World Bank will support a commercial study that looks at the

institutional, financial, risk mitigation and legal frameworks

necessary for the electricity transmission network.  The studies

will also present the results of engagement with the private

sector on their interest in the project.  The consultants will

have 100 days to complete the first phase of each study,

estimated to conclude in late spring.  At the Kabul meeting, the

four ministers will decide whether to go forward with the

project, based on the two studies, and start in-depth

negotiations on the structure, financing, and private sector

participation.  If the project is a "go," the fourth meeting

would be held in Bishkek in 2007, with an eye towards

transmitting electricity by 2010.

PRESENTATIONS AND POSTURING

3.  (C) The major international financial institutions all

attended, as did a smattering of private companies trying to

stake their claim in the project.  Russian electricity giant RAO

UES and the U.S. energy company AES gave presentations on their

SIPDIS

activities in the region.  RAO focused on construction of

Sangtuda I and AES presented its view of a transmission project,

including thermal-generated power from Kazakhstan.  Coffee break

conversations included the issue of the possibility of an

international financial institution stake in RAO's Sangtuda-I

hydropower station.  The European Bank for Reconstruction and

Development and World Bank are discussing a 25% equity share in

Sangtuda, subject to proving an export market for the power.

Pamir Energy presented an overview of its Pamir I project in

southern Tajikistan, but glossed over most of the cost recovery

and political issues they privately admitted to us over lunch.

4.  (C) The Chinese firm TBEA gave a video presentation

detailing its general experience in the power sector, but its

representatives told PolOff they did not yet have a firm project

in Tajikistan.  (NOTE:  Deputy Ministry of Energy Mavjuda

DUSHANBE 00002019  002 OF 004

Keldiyerova confirmed that the Chinese had signed an agreement

to build Yavan power station, a 120 MW project on the Zarafshan

river in northern Tajikistan, but nothing had been made public.

END NOTE.)

5.  (C) Despite the four countries initially agreeing to

language in the MOU that clearly acknowledged the U.S. Trade and

Development Agency's support of regional energy markets and its

June meeting in Istanbul, Tajik Deputy Prime Minister Ghulomov

launched a debate, echoed by Afghan Minister for Power and Water

Ismael Khan, on the relative (and bilateral) contributions of

China, Russia, and Iran, and whether they should be mentioned in

the memorandum as well.  In the end, the parties agreed to a

vague reference to outside assistance and anticipation of future

support for the project.  Minister Yerov later joked to PolOff,

"We had all decided to recognize the U.S. conference, and

Ghulomov went and spoiled it!"

6. (SBU)  Debate over the route of the transmission lines, and

Pakistani concern about the security of a line through Kabul,

instead of the Wakhan corridor, also led the parties to include

more general language that promised to explore other routes.

The Pakistani delegation also expressed concern about the

economic study of options for supplying electricity, complaining

that if competitors knew how much Pakistan was willing to pay,

they would not have a competitive advantage.  They eventually

agreed this was an important part of the economic viability

question.

AROUND THE TABLE

7.  (SBU)  In addition to the four principle signatories, other

diplomatic missions sent representatives to the President's

opening remarks: China, India, Iran, France, UK, Kazakhstan,

Turkey, and Uzbekistan (many of whom arrived late when Rahmonov

started his remarks 15 minutes early.)  The nine-member U.S.

delegation, led by Senior Advisor Robert Deutsch, was the

largest, and comprised USAID, State and Treasury officials.

8.  (C)  Conspicuously absent were the Russian Embassy and

RusAl.  During President Rahmonov's opening remarks, the only

empty seats at the 100-person table were behind the Russian

flag.  (COMMENT: Given the Russian DCM's presence at all

diplomatic and government functions, this seemed deliberate. END

COMMENT.)  Rahmonov announced in his speech and to the press

that the Tajik government would develop Rogun hydropower

station, "on its own," signaling his impatience with RusAl and

adding more fuel to the debate surrounding the 3,600 megawatt

project.  Energy Minister Yerov later clarified to PolOff that

Tajikistan intended to develop Rogun with a `consortium" and

that RusAl may have ten percent of the project, or more.  (NOTE:

Subsequent press reports from RusAl in response to Rahmonov's

remarks have stated the Russian-Tajik joint economic commission

would make the final decision on the development of Rogun. END

NOTE.)  In his comments, Rahmonov also blasted those who contend

that generation building takes a back seat to water rights

(clearly Uzbekistan).

PLOV AND MORE PLOV

7.  (C) Tajik hospitality overwhelmed the participants, with

multi-course meat feasts at lunch and dinner, always culminating

in a generous serving of the national dish, plov.  At the

dinner-concert Friday night, Tajik officials commended

Ambassador Jacobson for the U.S. delegates' enthusiasm on the

dance floor and at the conference, underscoring the noted

absence of any Russian diplomat. "We appreciate your support."

DHASTI-JHUM, ANYONE? (MEANING THE UNITED STATES)

DUSHANBE 00002019  003 OF 004

8. (C) No meeting between U.S. and Tajik energy officials would

be complete without the Tajiks raising the question of the 3,600

megawatt hydropower station Dhasti-Jhum.  Although the

conference was focused specifically on developing a 1,000 MW

electricity trade project between Central and South Asia, the

Tajiks raised the issue of power generation repeatedly, at one

point trying to work it into the terms of reference for both

feasibility studies.  Several officials hopefully mentioned

Dhasti-jhum to Deutsch, in an effort to gauge U.S. interest and

commitment.  Deutsch politely noted that Tajikistan needed to

take many steps in order to create an environment where private

investors would consider such a mammoth project.  Nonetheless,

AES reps indicated privately that they are engaged in

discussions on developing the Shurob site (400-500 MW) which may

have been reflected in Minister Yerov's comment that we should

encourage AES to meet its MOU commitment to build 1,000 MW.

TAJIK- AFGHAN BILATERAL ELECTRICITY TRADE

9.  (C)  On the margins of the conference, the Asian Development

Bank and the Afghan delegation were attempting to obtain

Tajikistan's signature on an MOU underlying bilateral

electricity trade.  The MOU would allow the Bank to commit

funding to build the 220 KV interconnection from Tajikistan to

the Afghan North-East Power Systems (NEPS).  Although President

Rahmonov, as he was leaving the delegation photo shoot, told his

officials to "get the MOU signed," Barqi Tojik (the Tajik

transmission company) was apparently dragging its heels to

obtain more equipment in the financial package.  In the end,

Afghan Minister Khan left the signed MOU in Dushanbe awaiting

Tajik signature.  Post will continue to monitor completion of

this MOU.

WHAT NEXT?

10. (C) Under the road map developed by the World Bank, the

ministers will meet in Kabul in June, or possibly July,

depending on when the consultants finished their studies.  The

Islamic Development Bank tentatively offered to host the next

working group meeting probably in February, when initial work is

begun.  In Kabul, the parties will have to decide whether to go

forward or not, based on the recommendations and findings in the

studies.

11. (C) COMMENT:   The conference represented progress in

bringing all four countries together to sign an agreement, but

also underscored that the Tajiks in particular still do not

understand the specific scope of this regional project.  The

push for developing generation projects before building

transmission networks and identifying customers demonstrates a

neo-Soviet mindset on big investment projects.  The Chinese

plans to develop a hydropower station and, seeming willingness

to spread cheap loans to support infrastructure development,

further distract from the efforts of the IFIs and United States

to emphasize the importance or proper legal and financial

frameworks.

12. (C) Although there will be an official "go or no go"

decision, most parties seemed to feel this project is

inevitable.  It will be important for all parties to digest the

consultants work on the real costs, organizational requirements,

security mitigation needs, and real export commitments required

for this project to work.  The parties agreed that each country

will need a team of advisors to help them assess the feasibility

work by the consultants.  They will all be looking to the donor

communities to finance and help engage such advisors.  This may

be an area where the U.S. should consider assisting as part of

our continued support for regional integration.   END COMMENT.

DUSHANBE 00002019  004 OF 004

13. (U) This cable has been cleared by Senior Advisor Bob

Deutsch.

JACOBSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 84163

date: 11/3/2006 7:08

refid: 06DUSHANBE2020

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: CONFIDENTIAL

destination:

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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSHANBE 002020

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: DECL:  11/2/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK POLITICAL PARTIES FEAR SITUATION WILL DETERIORATE

AFTER ELECTION

REF: DUSHANBE 1998 AND PREVIOUS

CLASSIFIED BY: Tracey Ann Jacobson, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy

Dushanbe, STATE.

REASON: 1.4 (b)

1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  With the Tajik presidential election a

foregone conclusion, Tajik political parties try to plan for

after the election, but from their perspective, the future looks

bleak.  Political party leaders predict that the government will

clamp down on political activity.  Some are running out of fresh

ideas to challenge the government and have become desperate for

a change in power.  President Rahmonov's camp continues to get

support from pocket parties and anticipates receiving a

favorable report from the Commonwealth of Independent States

observation mission.  END SUMMARY.

POST-ELECTION FEARS

2.  (SBU)  All political parties will observe the November 6

presidential election, in an official or unofficial capacity.

Although the Socialist Party of Tajikistan, the Democratic Party

and the Social Democratic Party have boycotted the election,

party members will observe within the vicinity of polling

stations to note the number of voters and any egregious

violations.  None of the parties feared harassment by local

security forces the day of the election.  All parties will issue

statements or hold press conferences after the election to

publicize their grievances shortly after the election.

3.  (C)  In conversations with PolOff November 1-2, Islamic

Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, Socialist Party of Tajikistan,

Democratic Party of Tajikistan and Social Democratic Party

(SDPT) of Tajikistan leaders all told PolOff that relations

between the government and political parties perceived as

"opposition" will deteriorate.  Narziev, chairman of the

unregistered Socialist Party said the government will take

"revenge" on all political parties and even imprison some

leaders.

4.  (C)  The SDPT fears that the government will try to

instigate a split in the party like they have with the SPT and

DPT.  The party has already instructed its members who work for

local governments to disassociate themselves with the SDPT, out

of fear that they may lose their jobs for being an SDPT member.

5.  (C)   Islamic Renaissance Party worries primarily about the

draft Law on Religion that circulated in June to criticism from

religious communities of all faiths.  If the government passes

this law without revising it to meet international standards, it

would greatly restrict freedom of religion in Tajikistan and

essentially render the IRPT illegal.  The IRPT's Head of

Administration, Qosiddinov said the party cannot be silent if

the law is passed, but he did not elaborate on what action the

IRPT would hypothetically take.

6.  (C)  The president's party, the People's Democratic Party of

Tajikistan (PDPT) expects 2.5 million voters, include labor

migrants abroad, to turn out to vote.  The head of the PDPT's

Administration predicts Rahmonov will win by no less than 80%.

He acknowledged that other candidates will pick up some votes,

but criticized their platforms as fantastical and unrealistic,

whereas Rahmonov's platform is chock-full of real promises that

can be fulfilled in the next ten years, such developing

hydropower stations.

THE FLOWER REVOLUTION?

7.  (C)  In a meeting with the unregistered Socialist Party of

DUSHANBE 00002020  002 OF 002

Tajikistan, chairman Mirhuseyn Narziev discretely told PolOff he

has the means to foment a revolution in Tajikistan to overthrow

the president, similar to color revolutions in other

former-Soviet Union countries.  He would call his revolution

something along the lines of the "Flower Revolution."  He

whispered, fearful of Ministry of Security microphones, that he

has been discussing plans to start a revolution with members of

the Popular Front and former communist party members.  He

lamented that the group has no financial support.  (Comment:

Although Narziev may actually have had discussions with others

opposed to the government on how to usurp power, it is highly

unlikely he has any actual resources, concrete plans, or popular

support to start a revolution.  End Comment.)

8.  (SBU)  Narziev has been battling the Tajik court system,

trying to disqualify the registered Socialist Party's candidate

for president by declaring the nomination was illegal.  The

Supreme Court rejected Narziev's appeal.  He will try to appeal

again, but plans on asking international organizations to step

in the dispute.

ON A "POSITIVE" NOTE...

9.  (SBU)  But all is not dim if you are a government-backed

pocket party.  The registered wing of the Socialist Party of

Tajikistan's chairman said that he has already seen improvements

in this year's election from previous years.  As a candidate on

the campaign trail, he noticed that all candidates were afforded

equal time to meet constituents.  He also pointed out that

President Rahmonov has told local officials not to interfere in

the election process and he believes officials will follow such

orders.

10.  (U)  Deputy Head of the Commonwealth of Independent States

observation mission, Evgeny Sloboda confirmed to PolOff media

reports citing that the CIS mission has not found significant

election violations thus far but noted there are some minor

technical issues.  For example, some signatures which

presidential nominees collected did not list the birthdate of

the person; and candidates' campaign posters were not placed in

alphabetical order.

11.  (SBU)  When asked about the differing reports from the CIS

and OSCE/ODIHR missions   Sloboda commented that he respects the

OSCE/ODIHR mission and has even incorporated some of their

methodology into the CIS observation mission.  He said the CIS

mission once suggested to the OSCE/ODIHR that the two sides

combine forces and issue one report, but the OSCE/ODIHR refused

the idea.  Under a gentlemen's agreement, the CIS and OSCE/ODIHR

would never publicly criticize each other's reports.  However,

in private Sloboda criticized the OSCE's report repeatedly

saying that the CIS report does not "dramatize" the situation.

He is certain that this election will be an improvement over

past elections.

11. (C) COMMENT:  Many among the opposition believe Rahmonov

will use "election mandate" to continue to eradicate political

parties that have been a thorn in his side.  With a new term and

no election in sight for another seven years, there is nothing

to stop him from passing controversial laws that restrict civil

rights and basic freedoms.  END COMMENT.

JACOBSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 84495

date: 11/6/2006 14:02

refid: 06DUSHANBE2033

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination: 06DUSHANBE2033

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RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0484

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 002033

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: TAJIK PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION REPORT #1

1.  (SBU)  SUMMARY:  The polls have yet to close, but

Tajikistan's presidential election seems to suffer from many of

the same problems as the 2005 parliamentary election.  The

pre-election period did witness positive cooperation between

international organizations (especially the United Nations and

IFES) and the Central Election Commission, with some

improvements to procedures and wide-spread poll worker training

and voter awareness programs.  However, the resulting high

turnout, and commitment on the part of some election officials

to implement proper procedures, has been marred by pervasive

evidence of family and proxy voting and lack of participation

from true opposition political parties, and also some instances

of ballot box stuffing and political coercion.  Two days prior

to the election, three Democratic Party of Tajikistan officials

were imprisoned for staging a demonstration in front of the

Ministry of Justice protesting the ministry's decision to

recognize a rival faction of the party.  Embassy observers, who

are also registered as OSCE observers, were deployed to the

Qurgon-Teppa, Kulyob, Istaravshan, Garm and Vahdat regions.

Embassy staff also visited Dushanbe polling stations where the

mood was festive.  END SUMMARY.

2.  (U)  In almost all polling stations in Dushanbe, loud

festive music blared from stereos, some featured live musicians.

 At some stations, dancing girls in traditional costume even

performed.  In Vaksh district, PolOff reported loud music woke

residents up in the early hours summoning them to the polling

stations.  Flowers were handed out to first time voters and

gifts were granted to senior citizen voters.  Overall, the mood

and atmosphere were festive.  Embassy observers have not

reported any incidents of violence.

3.  (U)  Typical voting patterns saw most Tajiks casting their

ballots during the first half of the day.  Voters ranged from

the young, minimum 18 years of age, to senior citizens.  Women

were also well represented.  Some students at the Pedagogical

Institute in Dushanbe waited for up to 3 hours to vote.  By 2:00

pm local time November 6, the Central Commission on Elections

and Referenda reported that 76% of registered voters have

already cast their ballot.  According to Tajik law, a minimum of

50% voter turn-out assures the legitimacy of the election.

VOTING PROBLEMS- A REPEAT OF PREVIOUS ELECTIONS

4.  (SBU)  Generally, EmbOffs had access to all polling stations

and were welcomed with the usual gracious Tajik hospitality and

had their fair share of tea and plov.  Polling stations appeared

organized and well-managed.  Most officials were open, answered

questions and were eager to demonstrate to observers the "free

and fair" election process.  EmbOffs report that some OSCE

observers were denied access to military polling stations.

5.  (SBU)  The main problem that reoccurs in every Tajik

election is family voting and proxy voting.  Although illegal,

the pervasive cultural mentality that heads of households can

vote for other members makes family voting prevalent in

Tajikistan.  An Embassy source commented, "It is impossible to

think that a Tajik wife would vote differently than her

husband."  At nearly all polling stations, EmbOffs witnessed

evidence of family voting and proxy voting.  Between 10 percent

to well over 50 percent of votes cast were by family voting or

proxy voting.  Polling officials told PolOff that they know this

is wrong, but are reluctant to do anything about it because they

understand if a family member cannot come to vote.  It is not

only men who cast votes for the family; observers saw many

instances of women casting multiple ballots, perhaps in some

cases on behalf of male family members working abroad.  In some

cases, election officials did strictly prohibit this practice.

DUSHANBE 00002033  002 OF 003

6.  (SBU)  EmbOffs witnessed three blatant acts of ballot

stuffing and indications that a number of other boxes may have

been stuffed.  Ballot boxes are weakly secured and can be easily

tampered with.  Tajik rules allow registration at the polling

place upon proof of residency, but not all officials were

vigilant about checking identification and allowed some people

to vote even though their names were not on the official

register.   In one extreme case, EmbOffs walked into a polling

station at 5:00pm, three hours before polls closed to find

officials stuffing open ballot boxes and falsifying signatures

on the registrar's list.  The official tried to justify his

action by explaining that Tajikistan is a young democracy with a

lot to learn.  He was irate and chased EmbOffs out of the

station.  This is a clear indication of where Rahmonov's message

to conduct free and fair election was defied by at least one

eager-to-please local official.

7.  (SBU)  Embassy Officers observing in southern Tajikistan

reported that in one town, prior to election day, election

officials campaigned and urged voters to vote for Rahmonov, then

on election day, voters were bused into the polling stations to

vote.  Although campaign posters are prohibited in polling

stations the day of the election, EmbOffs in the same region

noticed large campaign posters for Rahmonov.

8.  (SBU)  Noticeably, most signs in polling stations were in

Tajik, not Russian.  In northern regions, some signs were also

in Kyrgyz.  No provisions were made for people with poor

eyesight or illiterate voters.  Instructions on how to vote were

not clearly displayed and PolOff witnessed voters query on how

to mark the ballot.  In Tajikistan negative voting is employed,

where voters cross off the names of candidates they do not want

to be president.

9.  (U) Some Embassy observers who also participated in the

Parliamentary 2005 elections noted that there are more women

voters this year.  This could be indicative of a higher turnout

by women or by the fact that more men are abroad as labor

migrants.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADERS IMPRISONED DAYS BEFORE ELECTION

10.  (U)  Plain clothes law enforcement authorities broke up a

protest orchestrated by the Democratic Party of Tajikistan

November 4 in front of the Ministry of Justice.  Police arrested

Rajabi Mirzo, head of the DPT's Dushanbe chapter and also editor

of the party's newspaper, Adolat.  They also arrested Timur

Iskandarov, the younger brother of the party's imprisoned

chairman, Mahmadruzi Iskandarov, and Khairiddin Gulyaev, the

Deputy Head of the DPT's Dushanbe chapter.  Media reports say

the Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan (SDPT) and the

unregistered faction of the Socialist Party of Tajikistan (SPT)

also helped to organize the protest.

11.  (U) Media reports say that five people held banners

protesting the Ministry's decision to recognize the new faction

of the DPT headed by Masud Sobirov.  Twenty people gathered in a

show of support at the side of the building.  Mirzo alleged that

the party's phones were tapped as only a tight circle of people

knew about the planned protest and informed the media only 30

minutes before the action.

12. (U) The protest which only lasted a few minutes before

police broke it up had been peaceful.  According to Tajik law

though, it is illegal to organize a demonstration unless a group

has received permission from the government.  The three men have

been detained and sent to a city prison.  They will be held for

up to fifteen days.

DUSHANBE 00002033  003 OF 003

POLITICAL PARTIES ABSENT FROM OBSERVATION

13.  (U)  OSCE/ODIHR and CIS observers were frequently seen

around Dushanbe and out in the regions.  Notably, some CIS

observers are able to travel around town using official

government plated vehicles.  Several bilateral missions also

have observers including the Chinese and Kazakh Embassies.

14.  (SBU)  Embassy observers have seen members of the

president's People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan (PDPT) at

several polling station as well as members of the Communist

Party of Tajikistan and the Party of Economic Reform of

Tajikistan.  PolOff noted that in Qurgon-Teppa, prior to

election day, a People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan member

confessed that he was told by the government that he was

accredited to observe as a Communist Party member and not as a

PDPT member.

15.  (SBU)  "Opposition" political parties have been

conspicuously absent from polling stations.  Media sources say

the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan has only sent

observers to one or two polling stations, near former chairman

Nuri's home in Dushanbe.  Muhiddin Kabiri, the party's current

chairman, has been out of the country during the important

election day and several days leading up to the election.

Embassy observers encountered one Social Democratic Party of

Tajikistan observer, but none from other parties.

16.  (U)  Polls will officially close at 8:00pm local time, at

which point ballot boxes will be opened, votes counted and the

results sent to the district election commissions and back to

Dushanbe.  Both the Commonwealth of Independent States and

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe missions

will give statements at 11:00am and 2:30pm respectively,

November 7 on preliminary findings.

JACOBSON

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

id: 84661

date: 11/7/2006 12:26

refid: 06DUSHANBE2038

origin: Embassy Dushanbe

classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

destination: 06DUSHANBE2033|06DUSHANBE2038

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RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0497

----------------- header ends ----------------

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DUSHANBE 002038

SIPDIS

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SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL

NSC FOR MERKEL

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, TI

SUBJECT: RAHMONOV WINS TAJIK PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WITH 79.3 PERCENT

REF: DUSHANBE 2033

1. (U)  SUMMARY:  President Rahmonov won a third term with 79.3

percent of the vote, according to preliminary results.  Embassy

observers deployed throughout Tajikistan witnessed the gamut of

election practices from completely transparent tabulation

processes to blatant ballot stuffing by commission officials.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Organization

for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have presented

differing preliminary statements and will issue full-length

reports in the coming weeks.  Those official reports should

serve as reminders that work towards democratic institution

building must continue immediately, rather than waiting for the

next election.  END SUMMARY.

2.  (U)  President Rahmonov won the Tajik presidential election

November 6 with 79.3 percent of the vote, according to the

Central Commission for Elections and Referenda (CCER).  Although

79.3 percent is an overwhelming majority, this represents a

drastic decrease from his 96 percent landslide in 1999.  Olimjon

Boboyev, Party of Economic Reforms, received 6.2 percent of the

vote,  Amir Qaraqulov, Agrarian Party of Tajikistan, 5.3

percent, Ismoil Talbakov, Communist Party, 5.1 percent and

Abduhalim Ghafforov, Socialist Party, 2.8 percent.  Some

speculate the government distorted the results to give the

appearance of pluralism and democracy.

3.  (U)  The CCER reported a 91 percent voter turnout with over

three million eligible people voting.  Embassy observers

remarked that many voters appeared proud and enthusiastic to

exercise their right to vote.  Some precincts even genuinely had

100% voter turnout.  Voting in Tajikistan can be a community

event, also evident by the festive atmosphere of music, dancing

and food at some polling stations.

EMBASSY STAFF OBSERVE VARYING POLLING PRACTICES

4.  (U)  Embassy observers deployed throughout Tajikistan, in

coordination with the OSCE observers. In addition to embassy

staff's observations reported in reftel, EmbOffs experiences

varied widely. Despite remaining problems, both embassy and

other international observers agreed that overall, the

technical, organizational and procedural aspects of the election

improved on past elections.  Voters commented to Embassy

observers that U.S.-funded IFES television and radio spots

taught them how to vote correctly.  At some precinct and

district election commissions, the voting was completely

transparent and observers were allowed to closely watch the

entire process.  These same precincts also followed rules and

regulations explicitly during tabulation.  More women were seen

voting in certain regions in this year's presidential election

than last year's parliamentary election.  This may have been a

sign of women feeling more empowered, or possibly because many

men were abroad working as labor migrants, so the ratio was

skewed.  Across the board, women voters were out in large

numbers and a range of age groups also turned out to vote.

5.  (SBU)  Soviet mentality and cultural nuances still impeded

the election.  Observers saw many examp

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