In a post-election piece of personnel management, President Emomali Rahmon last week reappointed his long-standing chef of the State Committee for National Security (SCNS). 

Saimumin Yatimov, 65, is now the oldest figure in President Emomali Rahmon’s inner circle, according to Eurasianet.

No longer is Yatimov is the former schoolteacher and provincial bureaucrat who somehow climbed his way to the top.  Eurasianet says that in his revamped life story, Yatimov was a senior security services operative in the dying decade of the Soviet Union.  After Tajikistan’s gained independence in 1991, he continued making his way through the higher echelons of the country’s security apparatus.

Yatimov reportedly completed his studies at the Kulob State Teachers’ Training Institute in 1976 and went on to become a Tajik language and literature teacher at a secondary school in the Farkhor district. By the early 1980s, he got into local government, and worked through to 1992 as head of the Farkhor district executive committee.  In the mid-1990s, he made his first big career leap into the Foreign Ministry.  For three years at the end of the decade, Yatimov occupied a senior position in the Tajik Embassy in Iran, according to Eurasianet.

The 2000s marked another upward shift.  Over a five-year period until 2005, he was deputy head of the Security Ministry. Then he returned to diplomatic duties for another five years.

But 2010 was the decisive turning point.  In September that year, Yatimov was appointed as chairman of the SCNS, the job he holds to this day.

Eurasianet says Yatimov’s new-look biography, which is featured on the same page where his re-appointment was announced, departs significantly from the earlier version about what he did in the 1980s.

In 1980, he is said to have completed studies at a KGB academy in Minsk, then the capital of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic.  From 1981 through to 1989, he was a KGB operative in Khorog, the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO).

In the final two years of the Soviet Union, he acted as deputy head of the KGB in Dushanbe.  And then, when independence arrived, he continued to occupy important roles in the security services apparatus.

The revised autobiography merges back to its former version in the late 1990s, when he is seen taking up jobs in the Foreign Ministry.  In this narrative of Yatimov as a now-seasoned KGB operative, this stage of his career takes on a whole different hue, according to Eurasianet.

A description of Yatimov in a leaked 2005 U.S. State Department cable, for example, reportedly makes it clear that the Americans knew more about his background than the Tajik government was openly letting on. Yatimov, who had just been appointed first deputy foreign minister at the time, is characterized as a “career KGB officer.”