Fears of social unrest in both Russia and Central Asia are growing, as an economic downturn, weak currencies, and inflation transform the region’s job markets and negatively impact the lives of millions. One telling sign of the economic decline is the decrease in remittances flowing from Russia to Tajikistan by over 65 percent in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2014, according to new figures published by Russia’s Central Bank. This comes two weeks after Tajikistan’s government closed down all currency exchange offices. At the same time, the Russian government last week issued a decree allowing Russian regions to ban foreign laborers from former Soviet states like Tajikistan from working for up to one year, in an effort to promote job growth for Russian citizens and prevent potential unrest.
For Tajikistan, remittances from Russia have served as a major source of economic stability. In 2013, remittances were the equivalent of 52 percent of t