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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Russia is helping IS News Today 12 july 2015

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan — When American-trained Tajik special forces commander Col. Gumurod Khalimov defected to the Islamic State a few weeks ago, he issued a clarion call for hundreds of thousands of his countrymen working as migrant laborers in Russia to follow him.
“Stop serving the infidels,” he said in a video that appeared online, prompting the Tajik government to block access to Facebook, YouTube and other social networks for several days.
But local migrants and religious advocates say that if the Islamic State is recruiting from Tajikistan, it is driven more by economics than ideology.
Since the start of the year, a new Russian migration law has required foreign workers from countries outside the Eurasian Economic Union customs bloc to pass Russian language and history tests, acquire expensive permits and pay steep monthly fees to keep the jobs they have been doing for years. The law has had a particularly severe effect on Tajikistan, where remittances account for almost half the national income. The World Bank expects them to drop by 23 percent this year.
Meanwhile, Islamic State recruiters are at the ready, offering large sums of cash to desperate, unemployed workers to go fight in Syria. And many — given the lack of options in the poorest of the former Soviet republics — are answering the call.
“If our citizens who are without work, who are young, who don’t have a salary, who don’t have a life, are offered a golden city and told ‘you can earn more money, you can improve your conditions’ — naturally he would feel that he would be much better off going to fight in Syria,” Mavjuda Azizova, of the International Organization for Migration's Tajikistan office, said in an interview recently. “More than 400 of our citizens are in Syria, officially, and it could be even more. Those are just the ones we know by name.”
Dilshod Saliev, 22, returned from Moscow to Sarband in southwestern Tajikistan about three months ago, after he was forced to leave his job at a furniture factory . He says that if Islamic recruiters came to him offering cash to join their ranks, he wouldn’t take the money. But he knows someone who did, just a month ago — and understands why others would.
“Of course there is a threat of extremism — many people in this situation are very desperate,” he said. “They need land, they need to build their houses, they have children, schools to pay for; they need money so badly that they could follow some groups that would offer them money. So there is a risk.”
Saliev says his former boss withheld his pay and replaced Tajik employees who complained with Ukrainians, who have been flooding the Russian job market since war in eastern Ukraine began displacing the local population.
Before the new Russian labor policy, Saliev’s salary — roughly 29,000 rubles a month, or about $900 before the ruble crashed — let him pay for his wedding and his sister’s wedding and even to buy a plot of land, But now, if Saliev wants to go back to Russia, he’d have to save every penny of the approximately $100 per month he makes doing odd construction jobs for at least half a year to pay for the new work permits, because a high school dropout such as him can’t pass the entry test without a prep course or paying a bribe. His salary isn’t even enough to support his wife and two children, he says.

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