Post-Soviet power hierarchies in the making: postcolonialism in Tajikistan’s relations with Russia

Karolina Kluczewska*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores post-Soviet power hierarchies which constitute a unique system of vertical stratification in world politics. It does so by analysing relations between two former Soviet states, Tajikistan and Russia, in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. The article investigates the underlying reasons for power asymmetries between the two countries, the ways hierarchies are sustained and enforced, as well as perceived and navigated at political and social levels. It is argued that Tajikistan’s relations with Russia are explicitly postcolonial without clear-cut colonial precedents in Soviet times. Postcolonialism did not automatically result from the Soviet breakdown. Rather, it has gradually emerged because of the two countries’ very different paths of integration into the global capitalist economy, which subordinated Tajikistan to Russia. In this way, new economic asymmetries exacerbated Soviet-era legacies and reinvented them in a new, hierarchical manner. Overall, the article contributes to the debate on the nature of post-Soviet legacies and what it means to be post-Soviet.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalReview of International Studies
Early online date22 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2024


  • Hierarchies
  • Postcolonialism
  • Post-Soviet
  • Russia
  • Soviet Union
  • Tajikistan


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