THE NEW PLASTIC ROAD a documentary film by Angelos Tsaousis and Myrto Papadopoulo

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Art, Environment, Geography, Health


Tajikistan has been the poorest of the former Soviet States but it also has the poorest state of roads with limited external transportation links and with infrastructure weaknesses, which hinder development. Tajikistan shares land borders with Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Afghanistan and China.

A connection to China has been the hope and expectation for a prosperous development for Tajikistan, notably for the people of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, for close to a decade. Unlike the rest of Tajikistan, Badakhshan remains in geographical isolation from the capital Dushanbe, almost throughout the year due to snowfalls, landslides and flooding.This is one of the landscapes where our two main characters meet and interact within their everyday life.

Davlat is the Tajik merchandiser, a father of three children, who since the opening of the border between China and Tajikistan has made a fortune out of the exchange of goods.

Liu is the single Chinese truck driver who transports the goods from China to Tajikistan and the opening of the borders has opened a new door to his daily life.

In 2004 China opened her doors to Tajikistan by reconstructing the road between Murghab and the Qulma pass on the borders, with the intention of expanding her relations but also to promote commerce between the two countries. This exchange of goods and cultures is the subject of our story.

Badakhshan’s future development depends very much on a broader connection with Central Asian. In Murghab for example, a district of Badakhshan, lying on an altitude of more than 3500 meters on the border between China and Tajikistan, this dependence is even stronger. Murgab is not suitable for agricultural development; nothing really grows there and life becomes very difficult for the locals. Furthermore the rationing of electricity in winter receives no more than four hours (or less) of electricity a day- and this has serious implications in the industry.

Today, many countries have started to invest in the Pamir region due to this ‘new opening’ with the intention of expanding their developments aiming to enter the global market. This sudden change can be seen today as a great way for bilateral relations between the two countries Tajikistan and China, a political and economical cooperation, allowing the Chinese economy to attract resources from Tajikistan and also Chinese goods to flow into the Central Asian market’s. But it can also be seen as a ‘door’ that has been opened to new social issues and cultural instability.

Our story takes place at the Pamir region in Badakhshan in Southern Tajikistan, next to Afghanistan. Khorog is our starting point, a town where socioeconomic development today is highly promoted.

via The Story.


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