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Elena Dorokhova,
Economical polygamy ...
Rana Bobodzhanova, Svetlana Gafarova

Despite the fact that polygamy in Tajikistan is prohibited by law, the number of women becoming second and third wives is steadily increasing.

According to Article 170 of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan, arrogance or polygamy is punishable by a fine of two hundred to five hundred minimum wages or correctional labor for two years. Since the entry into force of the Criminal Code since 1998, according to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the country, 268 criminal cases have been initiated under the article “polygamy”. According to this article, only a man is responsible, although quite often women voluntarily go to second and third wives. The subjects of the crime, although they are both male and female, the law discriminates only men. This fact proves once again that in a traditional society, a man is the head of the family and the man who determines the status of a woman. A man makes a proposal to marry and decides whether to marry him or not. At the same time, it is possible to bring a man to responsibility for polygamy only if one of the wives turns to law enforcement agencies with a written statement to her spouse. Over the past three months, only three women have applied to the League of Women Lawyers of the Sughd region with a complaint about the fact of polygamy, and all three are second wives. According to the lawyer of this organization, Fatima Kudbiddinova, women refuse to write a complaint against her husband to the prosecutor’s office, because they are afraid of losing their breadwinner: “We have no reason to put men off. If we decided to get a second wife, let her provide her and children. It is quite another thing when it comes to beating and forcing women. Under civil law, second wives do not have property rights, and we often conduct explanatory conversations with husbands. There are real results on the complaints, the husband of one of the women, for example, bought her an apartment. ”

Munira, 32, has been his second wife for five years now. She divorced her first husband when she was 22 years old: “It so happened that I didn’t have a life in my first marriage. After the divorce, I tried to find my second half for a long time, but in our country it is difficult for a divorced woman to get married a second time, as these are treated as defective goods. Years passed, and I wanted to give birth to a child, I soon met my current husband. He offered me to become a second wife. I agreed, and we made him “nikokh” (marriage for the religion of Islam). He bought me an apartment, I gave birth to a child, he completely provides me, well, what else does a woman need to be happy? ”

The spread of polygamy in Tajikistan is attributed to the consequences of the civil war, which killed 150 thousand people, the bulk of which were men of marriageable age. After civil confrontation in Tajikistan, 1992-1997 there are many widows with children and without means of livelihood. On the other hand, in order to preserve the honor of the family in the field of hostilities, parents gave early marriage to underage girls aged 13-15. The post-war years, due to the economic difficulties in the country, many young men of marriageable age began to travel outside the republic in search of work and got families there. At present, according to unofficial data, about 1 million citizens of Tajikistan work for wages, most of whom, again, are men. In Tajikistan, such a phenomenon as polygamy has become so natural that only a few people can be surprised with arrogance. Polygamy is also common among high-ranking officials who are trying in vain to hide it. At the same time, second and third wives have many social problems. Difficulties arise during the processing of documents for children in the registry offices associated with the registration of paternity. In addition, there are problems with inheritance, since children born in such a marriage have practically no rights.

Habib, a young woman of 35 years old, after the death of her husband, married her second wife. The future husband took a long time courting, begged her to become the second wife, went to her parents to marry. Some time later, after the birth of the second child, the husband disappeared, and Habib was left with two children and without any support. The position of Habiba is aggravated by the fact that she has no rights, because she was the second wife.

“In Soviet times, people more obeyed the laws, there were other moral foundations,” says the former chairman of the Committee on Women’s Affairs and the Family of the Khukumat (administration) of Sogd oblast, a well-known politician and female leader Bihodzhal Rakhimov. - Today, the problem of polygamy has economic, legislative, and moral aspects. The first wife endures all the antics of her husband, because she is economically unprotected. In the event of a complaint, she will lose a piece of bread, which her husband gives her and her children. Although the law punishes polygamy, the mechanisms are not fully developed and many avoid punishment, ”she says.

Informally, polygamy existed during the Soviet era, but this fact was not particularly advertised. But on the other hand, the institute of single mother was encouraged by the state, and various benefits were taken in relation to them. Single mothers were mostly from the non-indigenous population, and traditional society always had a negative attitude towards them. The attitude of modern Tajik society to the second and third wives at the present stage is more loyal. A resident of Dushanbe, a 29-year-old Marhabo who has a higher education, says: “For many Tajik women, this is the only way out, and many women go for it consciously. What should she do if for some reason she could not get an education and could not find a highly paid job. Is she to blame for the fact that, for example, her husband was killed during the war, or did she not have a life in her first marriage? Of course not. After all, this can happen to every woman, and no one is immune from this today. So let it be better to be the second wife of a normal man, instead of engaging in prostitution. Every person has the right to happiness, except that the concepts of happiness are different for everyone. ”

A government official who wishes to remain anonymous, sees polygamy as a solution to many social problems, including the moral well-being of society. Polygamy, in his opinion, prevents debauchery and prostitution, gives education to children and improves family welfare.


Polygamy for present-day Kyrgyzstan, especially for its south, has become an officially unrecognized reality. Although the statistics are modestly silent about the number of Kyrgyz families where the husband has more than one wife, but reality shows, society is experiencing the heyday of polygamy.

The phrase belongs to my acquaintance, already three times this year, who walked at parties at friends who took a second wife. Older lawful spouses responded to the same love almost the same: they should not be deprived of financially and all real estate acquired in common life belongs to them.

“You can't keep a husband with scandals,” one of them philosophically remarked. - It's a shame that I was preferred young and beautiful, but I have to think about the bottom of tomorrow. We have four children, whom the father is obliged to see daily and raise them. My grandfather had three wives, and they got along fine. We, Muslims, treat polygamy calmly.

The custom of the Kyrgyz people is polygamy, under which it is allowed to have several wives, has ancient roots. During the years of Soviet power, it flourished during the war period and after World War II, when many young widows remained. The relatives of the deceased husbands betrayed their daughters-in-law to the relatives of the deceased, so that the children did not grow up without fatherly care, and the household was not left without men's hands. Another argument was put forward in defense of the subsequent marriage: the husband brought a new wife into the house if the previous one was barren or did not give birth to a boy, since in Eastern countries it was believed from time immemorial that a heir must grow in the family.

In modern times, in the era of the religious renaissance in the Central Asian republics, all explanations are reduced to sharia, a law based on the Koran. According to him, a man must have sufficient wealth so that each subsequent wife would not experience housing, household, financial and other difficulties. An important factor is the consent of the first, that is, the eldest wife to the subsequent marriages of her husband. According to Islam, it is allowed to have up to 4 wives, to which the spouse should relate equally and equally to love everyone.

“However, in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other countries of Islamic fundamentalism, where I happened to be, I have not met a single man with more than one wife,” shared Shamshibek Zakirov, advisor to the chairman of the State Commission for Religious Affairs under the government of the republic. - They are very serious about these issues and in accordance with the canons of Islam.

In Iran, according to state statistics, only two and more wives have just over 3% of men. Although our official figures do not reflect the true state of affairs, everyone knows that polygamous unions are developed, especially in our south, where patriarchal foundations are strong. This is explained by the low level of education, including religious, and, paradoxically, the standard of living. Without a sufficient opportunity, men decide to conclude several marriages, thinking only about their rights, but not about obligations, which is contrary to the laws of Sharia.

The list of arguments defending polygamy today includes the increase in unemployment - among the representatives of the weaker sex, it is 52%, and labor migration.

The meeting of the Zhogorku Kenesh, the parliament of the republic in one of the convocations, is still fresh in memory, at which the deputies discussed a problem on a quite serious note: to recognize official polygamy or not to recognize it.

“I would not be surprised if our deputies return to this issue again, because some of them have wives on the side,” said Kanyshai Nurdinova, head of the Center for Gender Studies at Osh State University. - Everyone knows about it, but they prefer to keep silent about this fact of our life. By the way, with the students, we held a discussion on this topic, during which positions were divided - a group of guys who spoke out for polygamy clearly stood out.

The spiritual abbot of one of the mosques of the city of Osh Abdullah-azhi does not hide: there is a need for a law on polygamy.

“Sharia marriages are today found both among believers and among representatives of the authorities,” he says. - Centuries of experience shows that alliances are strong. The adoption of the law will allow, to some extent, to reduce the growth of prostitution, which involves girls who earn their daily bread and reduce the number of sexually transmitted diseases.

A well-known political figure in the republic, Tursunbai Bakir uulu, whom many consider to be the initiator of the draft law on polygamy, admitted:

- I am not the author of such a document. And I hold the opinion that our society does not need such laws. We don’t have even 1% of men who can afford the luxury of having two or more wives. However, one should not go away from the topic discussed by society, and it should be solved.

Deputy Chairman of the Osh Regional Court Zhanysh Zheenbekov categorical:

- In the Criminal Code of the Republic there is Article 153, which provides for a sentence of up to two years in prison for bigamy and polygamy. In my many years of practice there has not been a single case on this article. If there are no appeals to the judicial authorities, then the problem is not so great.

And yet, there is a problem in society. Karamat Abdullaeva, chairwoman of the Osh regional branch of the Republican Women’s Congress, director of the center for legal information on the protection of citizens' rights, said that at least eight to ten women turn to her for help. Every third complains about the appearance of a new friend with her husband. Upon learning of this, many experience pain and resentment, and psychological problems arise.

“There is not only a violation of the law of the republic, but also a violation of women's rights,” said the interlocutor. “I know men who dream of a harem, but what feelings would they have if their wives also expressed a desire to have a“ collection ”of their husbands? In no civilized country there is no law on polygamy.

A brief survey revealed an interesting tendency: sharing her spouse with someone else, even legally, is not what the middle and older generation wants.

- I grew up in a village where a man with two wives lived in the neighborhood. The first was much older than him and did nothing about the house due to illness, all the worries about the household and the children lay on the shoulders of the younger wife, who lived in this house until the end of her days. But I would never have agreed to such a family triangle, which, I think, would degrade my dignity, ”said Erkeayym Zhorobekova, head of the UNESCO Department of the Osh Kyrgyz-Uzbek University.

On the contrary, some of the young contemporaries agree on a dual union, provided that the husband will provide them financially, like the other legal spouse.

Separate and opinions of men about polygamy. The logic of supporters of polygamy is iron. Men are born much less than women, they say. According to the World Health Organization and the UN, the number of women is 4 times more than men. The 1999 census showed that in Osh, there were 876 men per thousand women aged 16–29 years, and among those older than working age, only 514 were men.

The following arguments were made in defense of the legal formalization of polygamous unions: the courts today have to consider many property and other disputes between men and women living in civil marriages. Children are deprived of the rights to inheritance, and this step would contribute to a greater responsibility of the strong half for the family.

The issue of polygamy in the republic will be discussed for more than one year, causing some to understand and irritate others. The number of polygamous unions can be reduced by improving the economic situation and adopting a comprehensive program at the government level to help single and poor women. In the meantime, in this situation, it remains to observe and ironically about the "collecting" of the mother-in-law by men.
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Statya sovsem sumburnaya poluchilas, vse ne obo vsem chtoli?
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it was intimate to learn about the state of affairs in Kyrgyzstan. Especially impressed by the statistics of the numerical ratio of men and women in Osh.
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