Dushanbe - Post Report Question and Answers
How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
It would be really difficult to get by without some Russian or Tajik. Some people at restaurants/hotels speak English but generally at a pretty low level. Post Language Program can easily set you up with language classes, or it is quite easy to find tutors on the local economy. Tajik is easier to learn than Russian, and certainly more useful in Tajikistan. Russian is better if you want to get around the former Soviet countries. - Aug 2021
Some Russian or Tajik will help you get by, but you can also just use Google Translate as required. Language classes at the embassy are well-attended and the instructors are fairly good. - Apr 2021
The majority of people do not speak English, so having basic Russian or Tajiki would be very useful. Tutors are affordable. - Jun 2020
You really want at least basic Russian or Tajik. You can live here without them -- I managed for my first year -- but simple stuff like giving directions to a taxi driver or ordering a pizza delivery becomes difficult or impossible. This is not an English-speaking country. Even among younger Tajiks, the number of English speakers is not high, and once you get outside of Dushanbe it drops to near zero. But everyone has at least some Russian, and in Dushanbe everyone is bilingual in Russian and Tajik.
On the plus side, tutors are cheap, and once you get the basic vocabulary down people are really friendly and helpful. - Dec 2016
A lot if you want to interact with anyone. - Dec 2015
Some Tajiki helps. I spoke Russian but that got me nowhere because of my non-Central Asian accent. - Jun 2014
The Embassy offers language instruction from day one. We hired a Russian tutor for our kids and my wife became best friends with her tutor. They went to the market almost daily. It's pretty easy to learn the basics in Russian and get by. - Mar 2014
Having some Russian would really help. - Oct 2013
You need to know basic Russian or Tajik to get around and shop. I am still learning and it helps a lot. - Jan 2012
A lot! I'm not sure I've ever been somewhere where fewer people speak English. If you have a choice, learn Tajik, which is much more endearing than Russian. Also, the younger generation increasingly does not speak Russian. Government meetings are still in Russian, but probably not for much longer. - Jun 2009
Depends...if you live in a house and don't plan to go out, you don't need any. BUT if you plan to go out, or communicate with your housekeeper, you will need some Russian or Tajik. The more, the better, of course! - Jul 2008