Category Archives: Nation Building

“Real Patriots Choose Patriotic Names” in Tajikistan

2005_Tajikistan_Passport-200x200In Tajikistan, a person’s name is no longer a private matter. Officials insist that a name is an indication of the degree of patriotism of its bearer.

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Also, read these shorter pieces on the subject:

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Filed under Internet, Nation Building, Nationalism, Politics, Social media, Tajikistan

Time to Change Tajikistan’s Flag?

Tajikistan’s flag shows three horizontal stripes of red (top), a wider stripe of white (middle), and green (bottom). A gold crown surmounted by seven gold stars is located in the center of the white stripe.

tj_longflagThe country has had the flag since November 1992. Now some bloggers suggest that that it might be time to change the country’s flag. Read on Global Voices Online >>

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Filed under History, Nation Building, Social media, Tajikistan

Lenin in Tajikistan: ‘Better Hitler’ or ‘Real Hero’?

Since independence, Tajikistan’s authorities have taken down almost all Soviet-erected statues of Vladimir Lenin across the country.

The removal of these monuments is quite controversial in Tajikistan, where some bloggers call Lenin a ‘better Hitler’ while others consider him a ‘real hero’. Read on Global Voices Online >>

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Filed under Education, Nation Building, Social media, Tajikistan

Tajikistan: ‘Halloween is not for Patriots’

In Tajikistan, celebration of Halloween (or other ‘alien’ holidays) borders on national treason.

There are not many people in Tajikistan who know anything about Halloween. Yet even rare celebrations of the holiday in the country make some people uneasy. Is Halloween an ‘alien’ tradition endangering Tajik culture? Or is it just an ‘innocent prank’? Read on Global Voices Online >>

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Filed under Nation Building, Social media, Tajikistan

The Rogun Dam Controversy: Is Compromise Possible?

Heated disputes over the allocation of energy and water have been the defining feature of relations between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan over much of the last decade. Although the distrust between the two countries has deep historical roots, the present tensions revolve primarily around the Rogun Dam project. So far, both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been unwilling to discuss solutions that would be acceptable to both countries. Yet, without a compromise over Rogun, it is highly unlikely that the strained relations between the two neighboring states will go back to normal. Is compromise over the dam project possible?

BACKGROUND: The most contentious feature of the Rogun Dam that Tajikistan has been building since 2006 is its height. The 335-meter giant was designed by Soviet engineers in the 1970s to overtake Norak – also on the Vakhsh River in Tajikistan – as the world’s highest dam. In addition to reflecting the overall Soviet obsession with larger-than-needed engineering projects, the massive dam made sense from a purely utilitarian perspective. It was designed to create a huge reservoir that would irrigate over three million hectares of land in downstream countries, particularly in Uzbekistan, and enable multi-year water storage and regulation for regional irrigation purposes. It was also designed to increase hydroelectricity generation and enable the construction of major industrial enterprises in Tajikistan. Although the construction began in 1982, the break-up of the Soviet Union prevented the project from completion.

Emerging from a devastating civil war and facing recurrent power shortages in the 2000s, Tajikistan has sought to utilize its primary resource – an enormous potential for hydropower production – to develop into a prosperous state. The Rogun Dam scheme became the cornerstone of the Tajik government’s ambitious economic development program. The dam has been promoted as a shortcut to energy independence and economic growth. If the dam is completed, it will enable Tajikistan to generate about 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This will not only help the country meet all of its domestic needs but will also make Tajikistan a net exporter of electricity. What experts in Dushanbe prefer not to mention is that the generation of this amount of electricity does not require a 335-meter high dam. By building the dam based on the original Soviet blueprint, Tajikistan seeks to be able to control the flow of the Vakhsh River, including for political purposes.
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Filed under Authoritarianism, Energy, Nation Building, Tajik-Uzbek relations, Tajikistan