Tajik Railways accuses Russia of rail market grab

By bne IntelliNews April 24, 2013

bne -

Managers at Tajikistan's national railways operator claim that recent criticisms of sanitary standards on Tajik trains serving the Dushanbe-Moscow route are part of an attempt by Russia to take over international rail routes.

Speaking in advance of a transport ministry meeting, Tajik Railways Deputy Director Usman Qalandarov claimed that Russia wants to force the Tajik company out of international transit routes. The official pointed out that 80% of the Kyrgyz rail market is now in Russian hands, as is 50% of the Azeri market, according to reports in the Tajik press. "Now they want to push us from this market, and Uzbekistan. As a result, at least 500 of our employees will be put out of work," Qalandarov claimed.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and other Russian officials - including chief sanitary official Gennady Onishchenko - personally inspected a Tajik Railways operated train on the Dushanbe-Moscow route on April 15. Rogozin said later that day that such trains should "never be allowed into Russia," because they pose "a serious threat to the sanitary health of the whole nation", RIA Novosti reported. The deputy head of Russia's Border Guard Service, Vladimir Mochalov, also weighed in to recommend that Tajik trains be banned because they are "systematically used by drug traffickers to smuggle drugs."

Tajik officials have questioned the motives for the inspection. "Surely the chief sanitary doctor and vice-premier of the country [have better things] to do than to check the trains. This attitude means only one thing - eliminating competitors from the market," Habibov Muhammad, a presidential aide responsible for transport and communications, told the meeting, Avesta reported.

Russia now says it is considering whether to ban trains operated by Tajik Railways from entering the country, and a special working group has been set up to assess the issue. One proposal on the table is that Tajik trains transport their passengers from Dushanbe to Kazakhstan's border with Russia, where passengers will be transferred to Russian trains, Rogozin said in an interview with Russia 1 television channel.

In the interview, Rogozin slammed both the hygiene standards on Tajik trains and the identity documents carried by Tajik passengers, who are mainly migrant workers. "Perhaps we will relocate out train teams to the border of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, where they will make the necessary border and customs controls, check for drugs and other prohibited substances, and then transfer the passengers to Russian trains," he suggested. "However, I do not want to anticipate the proposals that the working group is drawing up. We gave the group a task in and one month it will report back to us. Then we will report to the president and make the final decision."

Related Articles

Drum rolls in the great disappearing act of Russia's banks

Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Russian banks are disappearing at the fastest rate ever as the country's deepening recession makes it easier for the central bank to expose money laundering, dodgy lending ... more

Kremlin: No evidence in Olympic doping allegations against Russia

bne IntelliNews - The Kremlin supported by national sports authorities has brushed aside "groundless" allegations of a mass doping scam involving Russian athletes after the World Anti-Doping Agency ... more

PROFILE: Day of reckoning comes for eccentric owner of Russian bank Uralsib

Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Revelations and mysticism may have been the stock-in-trade of Nikolai Tsvetkov’s management style, but ultimately they didn’t help him to hold on to his ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss