Sunday, August 28, 2016

Don't Love Your Neighbor

Emomali Rahmon (left) and Islom KarimovEmomali Rahmon (left) and Islom Karimov
Emomali Rahmon (left) and Islom Karimov
Emomali Rahmon (left) and Islom Karimov
Many Tajiks and Uzbeks believe there is no love lost between their respective presidents, Emomali Rahmon and Islom Karimov.

This week, Karimov took it one step further. He called Tajikistan's national scheme -- the Roghun hydropower plants -- a "stupid project."

If Tajikistan goes on to complete Roghun as planned, it would leave Uzbekistan facing water shortages for eight years until Roghun dam filled with water, Karimov said during his trip to Karakalpakstan autonomous republic.

Karimov likened Roghun to Russia's Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric station, where an accident caused the deaths of 75 people in 2009. Both Soviet-era giant projects were drafted by the same people some 40 years ago with disregard to safety issues, Karimov said.

Over the past two decades, the two long-serving Central Asian leaders have had a strained relationship and frequent disagreements over almost all major bilateral and regional issues, ranging from security and common borders to transport, energy, and regional cooperation.

Roghun, however, has proved an even bigger disagreement.

Tajikistan depends on Uzbekistan for gas, transport routes, and electricity power lines. For years, Dushanbe has blamed Tashkent for leaving it in an economic blockade by frequently blocking Tajik transit trains and vehicles, cutting off gas supplies and preventing Tajikistan from importing Turkmen electricity through its territory.

Water seems to be the only thing makes Uzbekistan dependant on its impoverished, upstream neighbor.

Dushanbe's only hope is Roghun, which Tajikistan hopes will make the country a major electricity exporter and puts an end to its energy reliance on neighbors.

Tashkent, however, has asked Russia and the United Nations to pressure Dushanbe to stop the project.

I've been fighting against this stupid project for five years, Karimov told Karakalpakstan farmers.

He promised not to let Tajikistan to reduce the amount of water flowing to Uzbekistan and the shrinking Aral Sea even by "one gram."

Karimov's speech was greeted with lengthy applause by farmers.

In private, however, some might be wondering the two neighboring nations would have been far better off if their leaders instead opted for cooperation and rapprochement.

-- Farangis Najibullah
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Comment Sorting
by: Tojik
October 08, 2010 18:28
Tajikistan needs this, firstly it's Tajikistan's water, they can do whatever they want with their water. Secondly half of Uzbekistan's land is rightly belonged to Tajikistan. Uzbekistan has been putting Tajikistan down in every way possible e.g. blockades. Uzbekistan has NO say in this, and if they are so great they should get their own water or pay for their water as Tajikistan pays for gas. That's life.

by: Uzbek
October 12, 2010 03:33
Brother, why so much hate and frustration on you? Is this a dispute between you and me? No, it is disagreement of our leaders and administration. Why we should blame each other? You remember Adolf Hitler or Stalin? We do not hate all Germans or Russians for whatever did their former leaders, right? If you think of the dispute over Rogun, I really hope that Tajikistan will have own electricity, own gas and roads, I hope my neighbor will grow and prosper. But, if your leader puts Uzbeks as a cause of every trouble in your country do you think it is logical or rational? I don't blame Tajik people my brothers for difficult life and poverty in Uzbekistan, I blame leaders of my country. We brother are people, we stay long but leaders come and go away one after another, so we should stay together and demand our leaders to think rational not to put two nations against each other !
In Response

by: shuhrat from: khujand, tajikistan
October 25, 2010 10:50
bro, u sound like u're live outside tjk or uz. U know with hatred its all not that simple. We used to do business with toshkent. It was good at the beginning but got worse when the border issues have started. I have seen so much hatred from border soldiers, policeman in the cities and even regular people when was going to Toshkent. The leaders hatred transfers to people, u should know that. We stopped doing business with your country. Of course it dont matter to you or wont make any difference to ya'll, but u it makes to me. We found new ways of our business and we live without Uzbek Gas for many years, and will find new routes for our trains and cargo. Insho Olloh we will finish Rogun and not depend on Karimovs mood of whether to give electricity or cut down.
Uzbeks cant blame us for the poverty, u should blame the unequal distribution of ur countries rich natural resources. And Aral sea was killed by the Uzbekistan lands, its already dead. We in turn will not waste the water putting it through an ineficcient irrigation system that needed to be repaired for the last 50 years, we will store it and let it flow. Ur pipes and canals waste up to 50 percent of the water that goes through them. Do you know that?

But hey, lets stop pointing fingers and stop hating. Wait for it to finish, and u will see it will be good for all of us. Rogun will store water during winter and let it go to Uzbekistan when u will need it most.

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