Tajikistan’s Forgotten Anniversary

Ninety years ago, in October 1924, the Bolsheviks created a new political entity, the Tajik Republic. The republic initially had a status of an autonomous republic within the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). Five years later, in October 1929, a modified Tajikistan was promoted to the status of a Soviet Socialist Republic.

So, this October, Tajikistan could choose between celebrating the 90th anniversary of the creation of a political entity called Tajikistan or the 85th anniversary of the creation of the Tajik SSR. Given the country’s passion for anniversaries and celebrations, it would have been logical to assume that the country would celebrate the both anniversaries. Instead, none was celebrated.

I would not have realized that Tajikistan “forgot” its own anniversary without this story on Radio Ozodi (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s local reincarnation).

So, why did we choose to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the capital, Dushanbe, and ignored the bigger – and more important – anniversary? The only suggestion made in Ozodi’s article is that the government does not want to celebrate the creation of a Tajik Republic within Uzbekistan, our neighbour that has become our major “enemy” over the recent decade.

On Facebook, Ozodi’s editor Salim Aioubzod proposed that the country marks so many anniversaries that the one that really matters has been simply forgotten:

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It is a pity that we are not celebrating the anniversary of Tajikistan’s statehood. We have invested so much resources and energy into celebrating the 1100th anniversary of the Samanid empire, which most historians outside the country do not even consider a “Tajik” state, that ignoring the real anniversary of the first genuine Tajik state is simply stupid. How can we promote patriotism if instead of marking 90 years since the founding of Tajikistan, we celebrate weird holidays such as the Melon and Honey Festival and much less important anniversaries such as the 20th anniversary of the constitution?

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