Exclusion, Enmity, and the Normalization of the Exception: The September 2015 Incidents and the Development of Sovereign Dictatorship in Tajikistan

In: Central Asian Affairs
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  • 1 Research Assistant Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, Washington DC, USA edward.lemon@tamu.edu
  • | 2 Fellow, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran Omid.Rahimi@atu.ac.ir

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The armed rebellion of Deputy Defense Minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda in September 2015 was a critical moment in the post-war history of Tajikistan. The rebellion, which the government blamed on the Islamic Renaissance Party, formed the justification for the Supreme Court to classify the party as a terrorist organization and arrest its leadership. While the government framed the events as a coup attempt, supported by the IRPT, the narrative had inconsistencies and Nazarzoda had been loyal to the state since the end of the civil war. Using the ideas of Carl Schmitt, who argued that sovereignty lies in the ability of a strong executive to monopolize decision-making, define when there is an emergency, and how to resolve it. In this case, president Rahmon used the the sense of emergency and threat created by the “coup” attempt to dismantle the IRPT and then have himself legally declared “Leader of the Nation.”