Avesta.tj | 02/19/2023 | The well-known Tajik scientist, doctor of economic sciences, professor of the Russian-Tajik Slavic University Ulmasov Rahmon Ulmasovich turns 70 on February 20. Rahmon Ulmasov is known for his research in the field of migration and a number of scientific papers on this and other topics.
On the eve of his 70th birthday, a Russian political commentator and journalist Andrei Zakhvatov spoke with the professor.
Dear Rahmon Ulmasovich! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your anniversary and wish you long life and happiness! You and I published two long interviews in the central press, which are still being read today. This interview is the third. I would like to start with the question, in which family were you born?
Thank you very much for your interest in my person. Indeed, our interviews with you have collected a sufficient number of readers.
My childhood differs from the childhood of my peers in two ways. When I was born, my father was gone. I was seven months old with my mother. There were four of us in the family, an older brother and two sisters. So I grew up as an orphan. And the second point. I went to school from the age of five. For a year I went as a “volunteer”, at the end of the school year the teachers understood, felt my persistence that there was an interest in learning, and they accepted me into the first grade. And my grandfather was a very religious person. During the repression, a large library, in all likelihood, valuable books were dug up in the Russian cemetery. From the library of my ancestors, there are several valuable books that I guard like the apple of my eye.
I wonder what are your earliest childhood memories?
Everywhere was the youngest. All my peers at school, university, district committee, regional committee, Komsomol Central Committee, study in Moscow celebrated their anniversary, I am the last one.
Sometimes comparing my studies at school, university, I think why black was the prevailing color everywhere – board, desks, clothes. As if there were no other colors. Discipline and respect for teachers are the foundation of Soviet education. And today the topics of migration and education seem to me topical. The Civil War is “a time of lack of humanity,” said Chingiz Aitmatov. And now I am most concerned about the issue of kindness, humanity towards labor migrants. How to protect a person, how to preserve what nature gives? How not to lose touch with it and what our ancestors have instilled in us, how to remain human, protect, not let it be destroyed and pass on to the descendants the wonderful world of our insanely beautiful planet…
What about school memories? Where did you start your studies and what school did you finish? Which teacher left the most important mark in your life and why?
I finished school in the city of Ura-Tube (now Istaravshan). My teachers of history and literature left a deep imprint on my memory. I still remember what they said in class. For some of their studies, stories and poems, they took material not only from their life observations, but also from personal experiences. Experienced teachers then and now had and still have a keen, trained look. In a few minutes they can draw a verbal portrait of a person.
Did you choose your own university and profession?
He wanted to become a lawyer, but became a historian. Then, to enter the law faculty, one had to have two years of work experience or after serving in the army. I didn’t have one or the other. But I don’t regret it.
Was it difficult to enter and study?
Very, I would say too difficult.
Tell us about the turning point, the most fateful moment in your life.
In 1975 I was invited to work in the Komsomol. This is a kind of beginning of labor activity and Komsomol universities.
What is the biggest pride in your life?
This is my family and children. The daughter teaches at the university, the eldest son works in the media, the youngest in the States works in one of the most prestigious companies in the world.
How did you start teaching? Where was the defense of the dissertation and when were you awarded academic titles and degrees?
He began his teaching career at a construction college. Then a break while working in the Komsomol. The first rector Abdujabbor Satorov was invited to work in Slavyansky. He defended his PhD and doctorate in Moscow in 1987 and 2010.
You are the first figure on the problems of labor migrants and the author of a highly demanded book about them. How did the idea to write this book come about? Why are you interested in migration?
Я этими проблемами занимаюсь более 35 – лет. Мне думается, очень важна сознательная миссия трудовых мигрантов. Мигранты в наши дни являются мостом между Россией и Таджикистаном. Надо учиться любить и страдать. Подобное относится и к трудовым мигрантам. Надо чтобы российское общество осознало: мигрант — часть бывшего, да и нынешнего российского общества. И мигрант не разрушает его, а наоборот — украшает. К этому надо стремиться. Самое главное — доверие, доброжелательность, доброта к труженикам.
Remember, in the Komsomol, they were the first in the Union to be sent to study at vocational schools in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. I’ll give you an example. 23,540 people were sent to these republics. To obtain in-demand specialties. Of this number of students, 1964 were girls. Of these, 2,123 people entered higher and secondary specialized educational institutions, 165 people received sports categories, 29 people from among the envoys of Tajikistan received the sports title “Master of Sports of the USSR.” In the regional centers of Kaluga, Ryazan, Tula, Leningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, cities of the Moscow region in 1983-1984, not a single sports competition was held without the participation of our youth. And one more fact – from among the young people sent to vocational schools in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, 614 people created international families. This is the difference between Tajik migrants and other migrants in the region. That is, these envoys prepared a serious ground for the current migrants.
And what about the Tajik migrants?
Russian émigré writer G.V. Adamovich once expressed the following judgment: “Emigration is loneliness and freedom.” You can add here: and hellish work. They write and show about the problems of migration sharply, frighteningly, nervously, painfully. Negative information about Tajik migrants, and not only, and the low level of the image of Tajiks walks around the world, but especially in the CIS. Everything that concerns migrants will come out into the public plane. For Tajikistan, migration on such a scale is a new phenomenon. 30 years is both a lot and a little. Many, because during this period a large number of people left the country unpredictably (primarily for objective reasons), but few, because we are only at the beginning of the journey, migration is only gaining its niche. Too many of our documents in the field of migration, the opinions and positions of our officials and their ideas are stuck in the twentieth century. So we have a fundamentally black and white turns into no less fundamental white and black. After all, it is time to designate the vector of migration development. There is an element of misunderstanding of the situation, and sometimes an element of a frank political game. It seems to me that this is a very unpleasant and dangerous trend, someone sometimes promotes these things. Each migrant has his own problems, everyday, pressing. They require decision, attention, effort. There are people who feel this very deeply. They require decision, attention, effort. There are people who feel this very deeply. They require decision, attention, effort. There are people who feel this very deeply.
What do you think is the future of labor migration?
Migration requires fresh ideas, and it is not effective to offer only chewed old methods in a global migration world. We must breathe in unison with migrants and their problems. If you don’t breathe in unison with the migrant, then you’re just going to hell. See how our neighbors, the Uzbeks and the Kyrgyz, have gone ahead in the migration field.
In this confusion, splits, watersheds, internal cracks begin to be seen. But in fact, just as there was no stable work with migrants, there still isn’t. Instead, we have the following. Migration money (conferences, round tables, business trips, and so on) does not go to poor migrants. And at the same time they do not reach the goal for which they are begging and discharged. They do not work for migration and migrants.
By the way. As I know, there are many projects and grants from international organizations in Tajikistan. What is the effectiveness of these projects?
This is a sore subject. For 30 years, we have a whole galaxy of “grant-eaters”. For example, we won a grant for migration. Everywhere they perform, hold meetings, round tables, coffee breaks, release collections and so on. The grant was “eaten” and all the stormy work dries up. Since they know and master the project writing tool, they win the next grant, for example, on the subject of gynecology. In a short time they become experts in this industry. Large and solid offices, salaries, business trips. Here are your projects. It’s been that way for 30 years. Somewhere we typed “modules” and come on, you understand, you don’t understand, it suits our mentality or not, it doesn’t matter. If only the “gentlemen” were satisfied.
What do you consider to be the most urgent problem of migration today?
Before, the nobles, going out into the street, took off their hats in front of the janitors and talked. And now? What worries me most is where the intelligence, decency, humanity of the inhabitants of big cities have gone. A young man from a remote village with great hope who came to Russia faces cruelty unprepared? When a person is not prepared to resist this, all this rather takes on the opposite results – it stimulates and refines cruelty. And we know many examples when the viewer, after watching such films, repeats the actions of the characters. Together with the Russians, we need to think very seriously and comprehensively about the culture of Russian and Tajik society. If we do not do this, the migrant turns into a tool of opposition for our enemies.
What can be done?
Paraphrasing the statement of one politician, I will say: “If they spit in the face of migrants, it will end up with the whole world spitting on us.” I think that there are normal people who understand that it is necessary to stop doing such a disgrace. And another question. The attitude of law enforcement agencies towards migrants. They are not harsh, but cruel. We need to take concrete measures.
In migration, it is important to take into account the mood, that is, public opinion, develop tactics and instantly respond to changes in the migration field. In addition, it is important to do all this more than once every two months or quarterly. And always, if necessary. Sorry for the vernacular, but picking up another verb does not work. And after all, all this happens not in the real, but in the virtual plane, purely in the information field. The situation with our migrants is swelling like a boil! That is, the spread of this cancerous tumor is already a medical fact. The migrant is depressed and crushed. The life of a Tajik migrant is complex, difficult and long, and he walks on thin ice, because failures tend to stick to failures. The difficult life of our migrants throws them from hot to cold, and we have not been able to normalize the “temperature”. The more the boat sways, the more problematic it is to level it and direct it on the right course. Everything that has been popping up around our migrants lately is words, not deeds. All this affects the life of a migrant, but does not determine.
Do you mean the media?
The main trouble is that we lose to our opponents, especially in the media, not only in aggression, but also in thought. “Trolling” is used against labor migrants. In migration, the one who is outside the migratory field always notices more than the one who is in the migratory field. The degree of intolerance in society is so high that sometimes it seems that hatred needs only a pretext that the Russian media are ready to plant. Politicians in the host countries of migrants act against migrants not by market, but by political methods. Migrants arrive in an area of increased turbulence.
But still go to Russia?
“My address is not a house or a street – my address is the Soviet Union,” was sung in a once popular song. I think the future address of our migrants is changing in the other direction. Now Europe, the USA, Great Britain, South Korea, Arab countries, even China are calling to Tajikistan and other Central Asian republics to recruit workers to their countries. The war in Ukraine is ending anyway. Do you know how many workers are required? Millions. Yes, yes millions. And Russia, as always, is late in this case too. Today in Russia, albeit with a great delay, not without problems, a system of channels for legal employment of migrants is gradually being built. Migration from the countries of Central Asia is necessary for both Russia and the countries that supply migrants.
Are there such options?
Today, all Central Asian states are looking for other directions for the employment of their citizens, concluding interstate agreements on organized labor recruitment or through recruitment, providing their citizens with work in the states of the Arab East – Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Poland and others. Here is an example from the realm of fantasy. The Kyrgyz parliament wants to send its citizens who have become labor migrants to the United States instead of Russia. As the parliamentarian stated, “migrants in Russia earn an average of $500 a month,” while in the United States, working as taxi drivers and drivers, they could earn $10,000-30,000, “even the laziest migrant in America earns $10,000 “. “Of course, we respect Russia, but work in the US is more beneficial for our migrants,” the deputy said. But this is a small wake-up call.
Why do people in Russia see migrants as a threat and not a boon?
Recently, sober thoughts and approaches have appeared among the expert community. How can one not love migrants when they provide 10 to 12% of Russia’s GDP. I think that we need to develop laws that reflect reality. It can be seen with the naked eye that additional labor must be imported. The demographics of the Russian Federation indicate that in order to maintain existing economic standards or develop the economy and meet the demand in the labor market, they need to host well-trained foreigners. Feeding the atmosphere of alienation in relation to migrants in this case is completely unproductive. Migration is one of the solutions to the needs of the Russian labor market.
I follow your blog carefully. Tell me, please?
Yes, for the fourth year I have been blogging on the RIAC (Russian International Affairs Council – Russian Foreign Ministry) website. I am very glad that the number of visitors is increasing every year. The administrators told me that more than half a million people visited. In some articles from 500 to over 21.000. This is very good for the expert community.
What are the forecasts?
In the field of migration, one must have a fine critical flair, so we must be extremely responsible and attentive. Responsible because migration is at the same time an arrow on the clock of the Tajik government, it is the formation and strengthening of our independence, this will affect the future. The main task is to plant world experience in the field of migration regulation on Tajik soil.
But is education a key component for labor migrants?
My research suggests that education plays a key role. Now the third generation of Tajik migrants lives in Russia. They are different from their parents, they are purposefully preparing to enter prestigious Russian universities, but there are also many who want to study in Europe and the USA, and education is the most important for them. This is why developing an education system that allows society to integrate migrants is so important. It is necessary to diversify the flow of migrants through education. There is no doubt that education and access to education are necessary for migrants in Russia. And it completely depends on the host country.
Tell us about your plans for the near future.
I want to publish a monograph soon. And most importantly, I want my students to receive decent knowledge and become good specialists for the benefit of our country.