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Majlis Podcast: Handshakes, Hugs, And Punches As Tajik Government, Opposition Meet

Some Tajik officials came a bit too close to the opposition for their liking.
Some Tajik officials came a bit too close to the opposition for their liking.

Representatives of the Tajik government and members of banned Tajik opposition groups came to the OSCE's annual Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM) in Warsaw this last week.

The forum provided both sides an opportunity to air their grievances in a neutral setting, but importantly this year, the two sides actually met face-to-face and spoke with one another. There were moments of friendship and one moment of violence when a member of the government was caught on video punching an activist in the face.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on what happened between the Tajik groups in Warsaw and what the prospects might be for a rapprochement.

All the guests on this Majlis Podcast were speaking from Warsaw, where they were attending the HDIM.

Mahmudjon Faizrahmon, spokesman for the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, a party banned in Tajikistan since 2015, joined in the discussion. Independent Tajik journalist Hamyara Bakhtiyar, who has written for such media outlets as Anadolu Ajansi, CabarAsia, Asia-Plus, and Ozodagon, participated. Our longtime Majlis friend Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, was back to give us his insight on what happened between the Tajiks at the HDIM. I was not at this year's HDIM, but I threw in my two cents on events leading up to the meetings in Warsaw.

(Note: After we recorded the podcast, there were reports that the Tajik government had agreed to negotiations with the opposition.)

Majlis Podcast: Prospects For Dialogue In Tajikistan
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    Bruce Pannier

    Bruce Pannier writes the Qishloq Ovozi blog and appears regularly on the Majlis podcast for RFE/RL.