06/29/2021, 10.41
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Tajikistan celebrates national unity (even under Covid)

by Vladimir Rozanskij

In 1997 the country emerged from a bloody civil war. The celebrations mark the enduring power of Emomali Rakhmon, the "eternal president". The current challenges of globalization and the pandemic. The Tajik government still denies the spread of the coronavirus.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Celebrations for National Unity Day were held in Tajikistan, limited last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On June 27, 1997, the country emerged from a bloody civil war when the then head of the Tajik state Emomali Rakhmon (still in office) and opposition leaders Said Abdullo Nuri and Khodži Akbar Turadžonsod signed the agreement "for the restoration of peace and national harmony". The signing took place in Moscow, in the presence of former Russian President Boris Yeltsyn.

The "eternal president" Rakhmon was thus able to congratulate the inhabitants of Tajikistan, 24 years after the agreement which also marks his perennial power. He had already been in command since 1992, immediately after the end of the USSR, being one of the leaders of the Soviet Communist Party who later disappeared. At 68 years of age (he was born two days before Vladimir Putin), Rakhmon can aspire to breaking many records of longevity in power, also given the absence of any form of opposition.

Rakhmon's message was posted on the presidential website. The Tajik leader recalled the dramatic moments of the civil war, fought in the early years of the country’s independence from the Soviet Union, in which between 30,000 and 60,000 people died.

He underscored how "tens of thousands of mothers have lost their children, many wives their husbands. More than a million of our fellow citizens have become refugees, inside and outside our borders ".

Rakhmon explained that “the most terrible threat of those dark days came from the fact that we risked destroying the Tajik nation; our young state could disappear and our history could end in nothing”. The president said emphatically that "the main merit and decisive role in guaranteeing peace and security, mutual understanding and national unity belongs only to the people of Tajikistan".

The message warned of the dangers associated with the "unpredictable conditions" of today's international society. He also noted that throughout the planet there is an "ever increasing complexity of the economic and political situation", with the spread of pandemic infections and the ungovernable process of globalization. Faced with such challenges, the task of the Tajik people cannot be considered complete.

Moreover, the negotiations that led to peace in 1997 were very long and tiring, with eight rounds of meetings that lasted for four years. Rakhmon instituted the National Unity Day with a decree of May 22, 1998. Since then it has been celebrated with great solemnity, except last year, when the authorities organized small celebrations due to the pandemic (although denied by the leadership).

Yet Covid-19 has begun to make itself felt in Tajikistan and throughout Central Asia, already hit by peaks of extreme heat and widespread drought. The Tajik government is trying to contain the, but as in all the previous months the trend remains the denial of the spread of the virus, downgrading most of the cases to "abnormal forms" of pneumonia or other diseases.

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