NEWS + ANALYSIS
WILLIAM EASTERLY

NEWS + ANALYSIS

HOW ABOUT AIDING FREEDOM INSTEAD OF AUTOCRATS?

April 24, 2014 | by William Easterly

Western sympathizers with Ukraine might be surprised to learn that the U.S. government is supporting Russian-backed autocrats against the opposition in other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. An example is Tajikistan, the fief of long-standing dictator Emomali Rahmon. U.S. economic aid to Tajikistan has totaled more than $1 billion since President Rahmon took power in 1992. Aid from all Western donors accounts for nearly 10% of Tajikistan's economy and covers most government spending by Mr. Rahmon—whose brutal repression of the opposition was condemned by the State Department, not for the first time, in its annual rights report earlier this month.

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