The U.S ambassador to Tajikistan said his country's efforts to promote democracy in this ex-Soviet republic were not aimed at fomenting a democratic revolution. Governments in ex-Soviet republics have become suspicious of Western support of civil society and pro-democracy groups, following color-coded revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan that brought opposition leaders to power. It was speculated that Western backing played a key role in those upheavals, and was aimed at weakening Russia's influence in its former Soviet satellites. Tajikistan is one of the poorest post-Soviet countries, and Russia has maintained a military presence here after the 1991 Soviet breakup. President Emomali Rakhmonov, who came to power in 1994, tolerates no dissent and is expected to seek re-election in a presidential race expected next year.
"Let me say plainly and clearly that we are not seeking to drag countries away from one sphere of influence into another one," Hoagland said, according to the transcript of the speech issued by the U.S. Embassy on Thursday. "It is a discredited ideology." "This is now the 21st century, and times have changed. To divide modern international relations into different spheres of influence is to live in a supposed paradise lost and is historically doomed to failure," he said.
Hoagland also urged pluralism, and said that democratic change was not a threat to stability. "Not everyone who has an opinion different from the official opinion is an enemy," he said. "Young leaders need to build their experience and gain confidence. They need access to a broad range of ideas. They need independent media, including independent television and radio stations, where they can debate each other and test their ideas." "I assure you, this will not endanger the stability of the state. On the contrary, it will strengthen it", reports the AP. N.U.