Safarali Kenjayev

Safarali Kenjayev (18 February 1942[1] – 30 March 1999) was a Tajik politician who served as the Speaker of the Supreme Soviet in Tajikistan 1991–1992, Chairman of the Tajik Parliament's committee on human rights and legislation, and as head of the Socialist Party of Tajikistan, which he founded.[2][3]

Early lifeEdit

Kenjayev was born in 1942 in the Panjakent District.[4] He was a member of the Yaghnobi community.[5]



In 1965, Kenjayev graduated from Tajik State University with a degree in law. He started his career as a detective at the Public Prosecutor's Office. During his stint, Kenjayev was promoted to multiple positions, ranging from chief detective to deputy prosecutor of the Central Asian Railway.[4]


After the 1991 presidential election, Rahmon Nabiyev elected Kenjayev as the chair of the Supreme Soviet and removed Qadriddin Aslonov from the position.[6]

In 1992, the CIS placed restrictions on demonstrations and freedom of the press.[7] The CIS arrested the mayor of Dushabne, Maksud Ikromov on March 6, 1992.

In a televised Supreme Soviet meeting in March 1992, Kenjayev discredited Mamadayaz Navjavanov, the Minister of Internal Affairs, by attacking Navajavanov's ability of breaking up protests. Navajavanov was accused by Kenjayev of discriminating against the Uzbek people in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). Kenjayev also questioned Navjavanov's Tajik ethnicity and insulted the Badakhshan population. After the meeting, the Supreme Soviet dismissed Navjayanov of his duties.[8]

The arrest of Ikromov and the dismissal of Navjayanov initiated the creation of the National Salvation Front alliance. The NSF sought for the ending of the Supreme Soviet and Kenjayev's resignation.[7] On April 22, 1992, Kenjayev resigned from the Supreme Soviet, and was appointed in charge of the Committee of National Security (CNS). Kenjayev was then reinstated into the Supreme Soviet on May 3, 1992.[6]

Tajikistani Civil WarEdit

Dushanbe protestsEdit

In protest of Kenjayev's reinstatement, protesters demonstrated outside the legislature building in Dushanbe on May 7, 1992. They called for Kenjayev's dismissal for his alleged corruption and mismanagement.[2] As the civil war broke out, Kenjayev and other leaders formed the Popular Front of Tajikistan.[9]

Attempted coupEdit

On 24 October 1992, Kenjayev led his army into Dushanbe, attacking the capital's presidential palace and parliament building.[10] More than 150 people died.[2] His forces, in control of the local radio station, proclaimed him the new president.[11] After the coup, Kenjavey addressed the Tajik people, and said he would replace the leadership with a religious free government.[12] Kenjavey also promised he would stop the civil war and restore the Nabiyev government.[10]

After two days of negotiations with the President of Tajikistan Akbarsho Iskandrov, Kenjayev and his troops withdrew from Dushanbe.[13]


On March 30, 1999, three assassins killed Kenjayev, his bodyguard, and his driver in front of an apartment building in Dushanbe.[2]


  1. ^ "КЕНДЖАЕВ Сафарали - Биография - БД "Лабиринт"".
  2. ^ a b c d Tajikistan: Controversial figure killed RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
  3. ^ Tajikistan Votes 2005 Archived 2007-03-16 at the Wayback Machine RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
  4. ^ a b Abdullaev, Kamoludin; Akbarzaheh, Shahram (27 April 2010). Historical Dictionary of Tajikistan. Scarecrow Press. pp. 197–198. ISBN 978-0-8108-6061-2.
  5. ^ Nourzhanov, Krill; Bleuer, Christian (8 October 2013). Tajikistan: A Political and Social History. ANU E Press. p. 332. ISBN 978-1-925021-16-5.
  6. ^ a b Tunçer-Kılavuz, Idil (27 June 2014). Power, Networks and Violent Conflict in Central Asia: A Comparison of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Routledge. pp. 93–95. ISBN 978-1-317-80511-3.
  7. ^ a b Hiro, Dilip. Inside Central Asia: A Political and Cultural History of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Iran, p. 276, at Google Books
  8. ^ Akbarzadeh, Shaharam (November 1996). "Why Did Nationalism Fail in Tajikistan". Europe-Asia Studies. 48 (7): 1111. doi:10.1080/09668139608412402. JSTOR 153100. – via JSTOR (subscription required)
  9. ^ Lansford, Tom. Political Handbook of the World 2015, p. 1429, at Google Books
  10. ^ a b Schmemann, Serge (25 October 1992). "Coup by Ex-Communists Is Reported in Tajikistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  11. ^ Land Beyond the River: The Untold Story of Central Asia, page 174
  12. ^ Goldberg, Carey. "Ousted Leader's Supporters Seize Control in Tajikistan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  13. ^ Kaban, Elif. "Taijikistan Rebels Fail in Coup Attempt". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 7 November 2015.