Another Crazy Dictator

What is it about Central Asia that makes the dictators completely goofy? There was the late Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan who banned ballet, opera, beards, and video games. Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan transfers the country’s oil revenues into his own accounts. Islom Karimov of Uzbekistan boils people to death. Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan was the only one to fall victim to a revolution. He’s now a maths professor at Moscow State University.

That just leaves Emomali Rahmonov of Tajikistan. Last month he changed his surname of Rahmon to drop the Russian -ov bit at the end. He has banned Slavic names. He wants all Tajiks to read his six-volume biography.

Rohmon now wants the British Museum to return the Oxus treasure, 170 pieces of gold craftsmanship from the Achaemenid era. The only problem is that they never came from Tajikistan. They were bought in markets in what is now Pakistan and they are Persian in origin, thus being something British to which the Iranians might actually have a tenuous claim. Even then, you’d have to say that after well over a hundred years, it’s finders keepers. The purchases were perfectly legal at the time.

I don’t think Rahmon can expect much of a response from the British Museum. He’ll have to go do crazy somewhere else.


4 Responses to Another Crazy Dictator

  1. Pingback: Kyrgyzstan » Blog Archive » New Zealand: A far-away paradise (Poughkeepsie Journal)

  2. Pingback: Turkmenistan » Blog Archive » Another Crazy Dictator

  3. Pingback: Turkmenistan » Blog Archive » TM_Forum with Ambassador

  4. gcw says:

    Maybe it’s in the water, what with all the nuclear power plants in the area that seem to have fallen into disrepair.

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