Analysis Of The Causes Of Migration From Gorno-Badakhshan To Moscow

Sharaf Davlatov, SIT Graduate Institute


Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic, faced various socio-economic and political issues that complicated the lives of the whole population. As the country engulfed in the fratricidal Civil War, thousands of people began to abandon their homeland in search of safe living environment. Although the Civil War ended, the aftermath it caused lasted for several years and resulted in long-term unemployment, economic underdevelopment, political stagnation and severe poverty, especially in rural parts of the country. To be able to survive, people started to migrate to other countries in search of better opportunities forcing Tajikistan for the first time face the issue of outmigration.

This research concentrates on the issue of migration of people from a rural Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan to Moscow, Russia. The main research question is: Why do people from Gorno-Badakhshan migrate to Moscow, Russia. The sub-research questions were set to explore the key forces that drive the current migration, the reasons people choose Moscow as their destination and the factors that could help discontinue the migration process. To collect the data, an intermediary organization based in Moscow was used since the researcher himself could not travel to the field. The sample size consisted of 20 migrants from Gorno-Badakhshan (14 men and 6 women) currently residing in the Moscow area. A qualitative methodology approach was applied to solicit migrants’ feedback on the issued. The first set of data was collected through open- and close-ended questionnaire with several multiple chose selection. The second set of data was obtained through follow-up phone interviews with 3 male participants.

The framework for data analysis and collection was derived from the existing literature review on the international migration. In particular, two theories that help explain international migration – Push and Pull theory and migration systems theory – were applied to develop major categories for analysis. The results of the research show that while there are some Push factors that force people leave Gorno-Badakhshan, the reason they select Moscow as their migration destination is tied to the former historical and cultural relationship between the two cities (and two countries).