Harman Patil (Editor)

1990 Dushanbe riots

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Date  February 12–14, 1990
Deaths  26
Attack type  anti-Armenian riots
Non-fatal injuries  565
1990 Dushanbe riots

Location  Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Soviet Union
Target  Armenian, Russian & Tajik civilians

The 1990 Dushanbe riots were an anti-government unrest in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, from February 12–14, 1990.


In 1988, in the aftermath of the Sumgait pogrom and anti-Armenian riots in Azerbaijan, 39 Armenian refugees were temporarily resettled from Azerbaijan to Dushanbe. In 1990, the Armenian influx became a subject of the rumour that triggered riots in Dushanbe. The rumour inflated the number of refugees to 2,500–5,000. According to rumour Armenians allegedly were being resettled in new housing in Dushanbe, which was experiencing an acute housing shortage at that time. Despite the fact that Armenian refugees resettled not in public housing but with their relatives, and by 1990 already left Tajikistan for Armenia, official denouncement of the rumours was not able to stop the protests. Assurances by Communist Party First Secretary Ghagar Makhkamov that no resettlement of Armenians was taking place were rejected by the demonstrators.

Soon, demonstrations sponsored by the nationalist Rastokhez movement turned violent. Radical economical and political reforms were demanded by the protesters. Government buildings, shops and other businesses were attacked and looted. Armenians, Russians, and other ethnic minorities were targeted. Abuse of Tajik women wearing European clothes in public also took place. The riots were put down by Soviet troops that were called into Dushanbe by Ghagar Makhkamov. However Makhamov's over reliance on military force was criticized by Buri Karimov, a deputy chair of Council of Ministers, who called for the resignation of the leadership of the Tajik Communist Party. On February 14, 1990 Makhamov and Prime Minister of Tajikistan Ezatolloh Khayeyev submitted their resignations, but they were not accepted by the Central Committee of the Tajik Communist Party.

During the Dushanbe riots, a period lasting a couple of days, 26 people were killed and 565 were injured. Among the Tajik youth activists convicted for participation in the riots was a future minister of the interior of Tajikistan Yakub Salimov. Smaller scale anti-Armenian incidents were also recorded in another Soviet Central Asian Republic, Turkmenistan.


1990 Dushanbe riots Wikipedia