An article by a freelance journalist Chris Rickleton says that even in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, it doesn't take long to realize how much the country and its roughly 10 million people rely on labor migration to Russia.

As a trend, mass migration divides Tajik families, sometimes across the seasons -- and sometimes for years at a time.

But for Tajikistan's system: authoritarian, corrupt, and not very good at creating jobs -- the money that the foreign-based labor force of some 1 million people sends home every month is a lifesaver, the author says.

Every so often, however, business as usual is interrupted, as the mostly male migrants come streaming back to the country that they help keep afloat, with few jobs waiting for them and no social net to catch them.

The latest shock is reportedly the xenophobic aftermath of the worst attack inside Russia since 2004, which left 145 people dead after gunmen stormed the Crocus City Hall concert venue outside Moscow on March 22.

Ten Tajiks have thus far been arrested in Russia in connection with the attack claimed by the Islamic State group, including four accused of being the gunmen, who appeared in court bearing clear signs of beating and torture.

The weeks since have seen a spike in Russia in intimidation, discrimination, detentions, and migration bureaucracy that has worsened life for all Central Asians, Tajiks in particular.

The author notes that another side effect of Crocus, coupled with other recent reports of Tajiks being recruited by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, may be that the world as a whole becomes more closed to citizens of Tajikistan, leaving them ever more dependent on Russia.

That new reality was reportedly made clear earlier this month when Turkiye enacted what its embassy in Tajikistan described as a “temporary” reversal of a 90-day, visa-free term for Tajik citizens that was begun in 2018.

Tajik Deputy Labor Minister Shahnoza Nodiri acknowledged on March 30 that her ministry had received “a lot of calls” from Tajiks looking to leave Russia due to the fear of discrimination and worse.

“We are now monitoring the situation; more people are coming [back to Tajikistan] than leaving [for Russia],” she said in an interview with Russia's TASS news agency.

Recall, the Russian Interior Ministry says Russia is home to an estimated 1 million Tajik migrant workers and others who are dual citizens.  Working in Russia provides a lifeline for them as there are not many jobs or other opportunities in impoverished Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, some sources say 652,014 Tajik nationals, including 554,804 men and 97,210 women, traveled abroad last year seeking better employment opportunities, which is 123,564 people less than 2022 (in 2022, 775,578 Tajik labor migrants traveled abroad, primarily to Russia, but also to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan).