Emomali (Sharipovich) Rahmon(ov) was born on October 5, 1952, in Dangara (Kulyab Province) Tajikistan. From 1971 to 1974, Rahmon served in the Soviet Armed Forces, and his first position of power was as director of the state farms (sovkhozes) in Dangara. In 1976, he became chairman of the Union Committee for Collective Farms (kolkhozes) in Dangara—a position he held until 1988. During this time, he also studied economics at Tajik State University, graduating in 1982.
In 1990, he became a deputy of the Supreme Council of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, serving in parliament during a time of great political turmoil. First, Rahmon Nabiyev was forced to resign as president during the early stages of the country’s civil war, which began in 1992. Then speaker of parliament, Akbarsho Iskandarov, who served as acting president for just three months before he too was forced out. Rahmon, who had succeeded Iskandarov as speaker, then became the head of government in 1992 (the Supreme Soviet, meeting in Khujand, had abolished the presidency).
On November 6, 1994, Rahmon was elected to the newly created position of president. But the early years of his presidency were no less complicated than those of his predecessors’. The civil war continued into June 1997, when an armistice was reached between the government and the United Tajik Opposition; over 50,000 people died during the conflict. Rahmon himself survived assassination attempts in April 1997 and November 2001 and an attempted coup d’état in late 1997.
Rahmon was elected to his second term as president in November 1999. In accordance with constitutional changes, his term would now last seven years. In June 2003, a referendum was passed that made it possible for Rahmon to serve two more consecutive terms after his second term expired in 2006. The election on November 6, 2006, granted Rahmon his third term, but the vote was widely criticized for being neither free nor fair. If reelected in late 2013, he could serve until 2021.
On March 22, 2007, he dropped the Russian “-ov” ending on his name and officially became known as Rahmon.