Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Charles Curry-Smithson


Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan faced various socio-economic and political issues that complicated the lives of the whole population. As the country was engulfed in the fratricidal Civil War, thousands of people abandoned their homeland in search of safe living environment. When 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 migrated to other countries in search of better opportunities. This meant that for the first time, Tajikistan was forced to 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. An intermediary organization based in Moscow was used to collect the data 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 issue. The first set of data was collected through an open and closed-ended questionnaire with several multiple choice selections. The second set of data was obtained through follow-up phone interviews with three male participants.

The framework for data collection and analysis was derived from existing literature on 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 continue to force people leave Gorno-Badakhshan, the reason that they select Moscow as their migration destination is tied to the former historical and cultural relationship between the two regions.


Demography, Population, and Ecology | Social Welfare | Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies | Work, Economy and Organizations


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