Tajik businessmen in Bishkek threatened with violence, being forced to close their businesses

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Tajik entrepreneur Subhoniddin Rahmatov, working in Bishkek, told Asia-Plus in a phone interview on March 5 that Kyrgyz merchants from Dordoy Bazaar have been threatening them for already 20 days, demanding that Tajik entrepreneurs stop their activities in Bishkek.

“We, about 100 Tajik entrepreneurs running shops at Madina Bazaar in Bishkek, are engaged in trade, buying clothes with subsequent sending to Russia. We closely cooperate with domestic producers,” Rahmatov said.

According to him, Kyrgyz merchants running shops at Dordoy Bazaar make them close their shops at Madina Bazaar and buy fabrics for clothes from Kyrgyz merchants at Lyublino Mall in Moscow.

“After receiving the threat, we on the same day turned to the market security service and police, but without success. In the following days, threats began to come every day,” Rahmatov noted.

After that, entrepreneurs reportedly applied for help to the Tajik Embassy in Bishkek. Several days have passed, but the Embassy has not yet given an answer to the appeal of entrepreneurs.

The Tajik MFA information department says the Tajik Embassy in Bishkek in a permanent contact with Tajik entrepreneurs working there. “Following the appeal of Tajik nationals, the Tajik Embassy Bishkek has sent a note to the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry. The Embassy has also sent a note to the Bishkek Police Directorate and is in permanent contact with our entrepreneurs,” the Tajik MFA information department notes.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz female entrepreneurs told Nastoyashcheye Vremya that local merchants running shops at Dordoy Bazaar do not allow Tajiks to work.

According to them, Tajik businesspeople had previously bought clothes from local sewer through dealers from Dordoi Bazaar and sold them in Moscow. But several years ago, Tajik businessmen contacted Kyrgyz sewers directly and began to order clothes directly, bypassing Kyrgyz dealers.

Dordoy Bazaar is a large wholesale and retail market in the Kyrgyz capital. It is one of Asia's greatest public market places, comparable to Bangkok's Chatuchak weekend market or Tehran's Grand Bazaar. The market has been described by a Western journalist as “a modern monument to the power of raw commerce.”

Dordoy Bazaar is a major shopping and employment center for the Bishkek metropolitan area and entire Chuy River Valley region. It is also one of the main entrepots through which consumer goods from China arrive at shops and markets in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. According to some economists, this re-export (the other center for which, targeting Uzbekistan, is the Karasuu Bazar at Kara-Suu, Osh Province) is one of two largest economic activities of Kyrgyzstan.

The Dordoy market stretches for more than a kilometer on the north-eastern outskirts of Bishkek, near the bypass highway that skirts the city in the north. Legally, it is an agglomeration of several independent markets adjacent to each other. Since there are no fences, the borders between the markets are not particularly noticeable.

Source: Asia-Plus