Although unsanitary train conditions are the least of Russia’s Tajik concerns, which include drug smuggling and migrant workers, a cleaner efficient transit infrastructure would produce jobs and support tourism in the poor country.
Russian officials threatened to ban trains entering Russia from Tajikistan on Monday, complaining that sleeper trains heading to Moscow from the Central Asian country were unacceptably dirty and posed a health risk.
The border service also expressed concerns over rampant drug smuggling.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, after inspecting a train, said that “this train in principle must not be allowed into Russia,” at a meeting of the government border commission, cited by the ITAR-TASS news agency.
“You feel like it is a serious threat to the sanitary health of the whole nation, the technical state of the train just does not stand up to any criticism, it is dismal.”
“Such transport cannot be let into decent countries.”
He called for another meeting in a month’s time to discuss a ban.
“The Tajik side cannot provide even the minimal conditions for passenger transport. That results in risks for Russia,” said Onishchenko, cited by the Interfax news agency.
He complained of old crockery, outdated carriages and train staff sleeping in the dining car.
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