Remittances and their social meaning in Tajikistan

Natalia Zotova, Jeffrey H. Cohen


In this paper we investigate the growth and use of social remittances in Tajikistan. Russia became the destination country of choice for labor migrants from former Soviet states following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Tajik migrants also seek new destinations including settlement in the US. International migration to Russia and the US continues to shape economic realities for Tajik communities and migrants. In this paper, we use ethnographic evidence from rural communities in Tajikistan and from Tajik migrants who are settled in major Russian cities as well as New York City, NY to address the role migration plays for families and household and the meaning of social remittances for local communities. We explore the role that remittances play in the changing social landscape of Tajikistan and its local communities.


migration; social remittances; Central Asia; Tajikistan

Full Text:



Abashin, S. (2014). Migration from Central Asia to Russia in the New Model of World Order. Russian Politics & Law 52(6): 8-23.

Abashin, S. (2003). Beyond the Common Sense? On the Problem of (Ir)Rational Ritual Expenses in Central Asia. In Panarin, S. (ed.) Eurasia. People and Myths. Moscow: Natalis. P.217-238.

Acheson, J.M. (1972). Accounting Concepts and Economic Opportunities in a Tarascan Village: Emic and Etic Views. Human Organization, 31(1): 83-91.

Babadjanov, R. (ed.) (2012). The Social Problems and Human Capital Development in the Republic of Tajikistan. Dushanbe: Farzin 2012.

Boccagni, P. and Decimo, F. (2013). Mapping social remittances. Migration Letters, 10(1):1-10.

Conway, D., Cohen, J.H. (1998). Consequences of Migration and Remittances for Mexican Transnational Communities. Economic Geography 74(1):26-44.

Cohen, J. H. (2005). The Culture of Migration in Southern Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Cohen, Jeffrey H. and I. Sirkeci. (2011). Cultures of Migration: The Global Nature of Contemporary Mobility. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Dana, L.P. (2002). When Economies Change Paths. Models of Transition in China, the Central Asian Republics, Myanmar and the Former Indochine Francais. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.

Dannreuther, R. and March, L. (eds.) (2010). Russia and Islam: State, Society and Radicalism. London: Taylor and Francis.

Danzer, A., & Ivaschenko, O. (2010). Migration patterns in a remittances dependent economy: Evidence from Tajikistan during the global financial crisis. Migration Letters, 7(2), 190-202. Retrieved from

FMS [Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation]. (2015). Statistics on Foreign Nationals Residing in the Russian Federation. Retrieved from . Retrieved March 18, 2016 (in Russian)

Heleniak, T. (2008). An Overview of Migration in the Post-Soviet Space. Chapter 1 in Migration, Homeland and Belonging in Eurasia, Cynthia Buckley and Blair Ruble (eds). Woodrow Wilson Center Press: Washington, DC and Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, pp. 29-67.

Human Rights Watch. (2010). Are You Happy to Cheat Us? Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in Russia. New York: Human Rights Watch.

Le Hurou, A. (2014). Labour Migrations in the Omsk Region: Administrative and Economic Workforce Management Practices and Construction of New Social Relations. In Hohmann, S. Mouradian, Serrano and Thorez (eds.). Development in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Migration, Democratisation and Inequality in the Post-Soviet Era, London: Tauris, p. 264-288.

Kireyev, A. (2006). The Microeconomics of Remittances: The Case of Tajikistan. International Monetary Fund: Working Paper.

Kunuroglu, F. et al. (2015). Consequences of Turkish return migration from Western Europe. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 49:198-211.

Levitt, P., & Lamba-Nieves, D. (2013). Rethinking social remittances and the migration-development nexus from the perspective of time. Migration Letters, 10(1), 11-22. Retrieved from

Massey, D. et al. (1993). Theories of International Migration: A Review and Appraisal. Population and Development Review 19(3): 431-66.

Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016. (2015). Third Edition. World Bank Group. Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD).

Mukomel, V. (ed.) (2014). Migrants, Migrantophobia and Migration Politics. Moscow: Academia [in Russian].

Nourzhanov, K. and Bleuer, C. (2013). Tajikistan a Political and Social History. ANU E Press, The Australian National University, Canberra.

Paerregaard, K. (2014). Movements, moments and moods. Generation as unity and strife in Peruvian migration. Ethnic and Racial Studies 37(11): 2129-2147

Regamey, A. (2010). The Image of Migrants and Migration Politics in Russia. Anthropological Forum 13: 389-406 [in Russian].

Rodriguez, L. (2011). A Note on Social Obligations, Accumulation and the Anti-Cyclical Property of Immigrant Remittances. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 1(10): 52-54.

Reeves, M. (2009). Beyond Economic Determinism: Micro-dynamic of Migration from Rural Kyrgyzstan. Neprikosnovenniy zapas 4(66) Retrieved from [in Russian].

Reeves, M. (2013). Becoming Black in Moscow: Documentary Regimes and Migrant Life in the Shadow of Law. In Citizenship and Immigration: Conceptual, Historical and Institutional Dimensions, edited by Vladimir Malakhov. Moscow: Russian Academy of Sciences.

Reeves, M. (2012). Black Work, Green Money: Remittances, Ritual, and Domestic Economies in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Slavic Review 71(1): 108-134.

Schnirelman, V. (2011). The Threshold of Tolerance: Ideology and Practice of New Racism. Moscow: NLO [in Russian].

World Bank (2015). The World Bank Group. Tajikistan Partnership Program Snapshot. The World Bank.

Waldinger, R. (2015). The Cross-Border Connection Immigrants, Emigrants, and Their Homelands. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Zotova, N. Cohen, J. (2015). Insecurity and Risks in the Places of Destination: Central Asian migrants in New York City. The paper presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado. 18-22 November 2015.

Zotova, N. (2006). Labor Migration from Tajikistan to Russia. Evidence from Moscow and Samara. In A. Vlasov (ed.). Social and Political Portraits of Central Asian States. Moscow: Moscow State University, pp.190-211. [in Russian]


  • There are currently no refbacks.