A building boom in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe — one that has given rise to Central Asia’s largest library, tallest flagpole and the soon-to-be most spacious teahouse – is prompting some residents to joke that the city is becoming a showcase for a new-ish architectural style, “dictator chic.”
While a few may laugh, the government’s apparent preoccupation with building has plenty of other Dushanbe residents grumbling. At a time when the majority of Tajiks are fighting a desperate battle againstpoverty, critics contend that vast state layouts for showpiece construction projects cannot be justified.
The pace of new construction was at its fastest during the months leading up to the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence last fall. To celebrate the occasion, authorities commissioned several hundred so-called “jubilee objects.” Officially, the state spent $212 million on anniversary preparations, an amount equaling 10 percent of the national budget, and six times the annual assistance the United States Agency for International Development gives Tajikistan.
Although the independence anniversary has come and gone, the penchant for urban renewal remains strong. In February, Dushanbe authorities published a list of several dozen buildings located along the so-called “protocol highway” – on which President Imomali Rahmon and other senior officials drive to work – that have been designated for demolition. Many of these buildings are solid apartment blocks that are home to several thousand people. Officials are mum on kind of compensation owners can anticipate, and residents expect to be moved to the distant suburbs: they’ve seen the relentless development approaching for years, including high-rise, “elite” apartments in their neighborhood.
Tajikistan: Dushanbe Building Boom Blocks Out Economic Concerns | EurasiaNet.orgPosted: May 3, 2012 in Tajikistan
Tags: Afghanistan, Asia, Central Asia, Dushanbe, Emomalii Rahmon, Iran, Russia, Tajikistan