“If It Happens Again”: Everyday Responses of the Ruszabon to Existential Dangers in Dushanbe
This article discusses how Russian and Russian-speaking (Ruszabon) inhabitants of Dushanbe, the capital city of Tajikistan, shape and maintain their securityscapes through languages, identities, memories, networks and physical structures of the urban space. Securityscapes are physically built and mentally imagined spaces securing individual or collective life from what people perceive as existential dangers. These dangers reflect both objective and imagined conditions threatening individual and collective extinction. Depending on different existential contexts, securityscapes serve either as distinct or as merged and intertwined spatial categories of individuals and collectives. When the Ruszabon face violence in public due to their ethnic and religious origins, they hide their identities or adapt their lifestyle to the hegemonic demands of the Muslim society. Social networks and the physical structures of urban neighbourhoods shape inner securityscapes, as reflected in the physical isolation of individuals and segregation of families,
family friends and religious communities from the public. In particular, the memories of the interethnic clashes in the 1990s in Dushanbe, which are substantially influenced by political interpretations, condition and diminish the everyday practices and future expectations of the Ruszabon.