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Tajikistan Gives Thumbs-Down To 'Dictator'

Sacha Baron Cohen promotes "The Dictator" at the Cannes film festival.

Sacha Baron Cohen promotes "The Dictator" at the Cannes film festival.

The head of Tajikistan's leading film-distribution company says "The Dictator," the new satire from comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen, won't be shown in Tajik cinemas.

Not because the film, which depicts a Middle East-style tyrant, might be mistaken for a documentary rather than a comic spoof -- Tajikistan has been ruled by strongman President Emomali Rahmon since 1992 -- but because it probably wouldn't make much money.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon

Tantana distribution company chief Daler Davlatov told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that the Hollywood space-alien comedy "Men In Black III" will be screened instead of "The Dictator," because it has a better profit potential.

Another Tantana official, who wished to remain anonymous, said the R-rated film contains scenes that are inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18 and therefore it would be better not to show it at all.

Tajiks who really want to see "The Dictator," however, likely won't have any trouble downloading it illegally or finding pirated versions on the black market.

"The Dictator" was released worldwide last week, including in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, and in Russia.

Citizens of Turkmenistan, led by authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, are also unable to watch "The Dictator." Cinemas in Turkmenistan show no Hollywood films.

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at