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Tajiks Debate Status Of Legendary Anti-Bolshevik Fighter

KULOB, Tajikistan -- Some local officials in Tajikistan say they want to renovate the grave of famed anti-Bolshevik fighter Davlatmand Bey to make it a tourist attraction, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Foteh Aminov, who heads the district of Baljuvon near the capital, Dushanbe, told RFE/RL about the district's plans.

But the notion of honoring Davlatmand Bey is still being debated by Baljuvon officials and has led Tajikistan's Culture Ministry to begin a study of Davlatmand's life to determine if he should be considered a hero, RFE/RL reports.

Shamsulloh Ahadov, director of Baljuvon's tourism office, said Davlatmand Bey was a resident of Baljuvon. Many of his belongings are already on display at a museum in Baljuvon. His grave is in the village of Namozgah.

Davlatmand Bey joined Basmachi leader Enver Pasha's forces and fought against Bolsheviks before the two men were killed in Tajikistan in August 1922 during the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday.

Historian Zafar Mirzoiyon told RFE/RL he thinks Davlatmand Bey should be remembered as a hero by Tajikistan because he fought against the "Bolsheviks occupiers" and the country's youth need such people as role models.

But several media reports point to Davlatmand Bey's strong ties to Enver Pasha and his pan-Turkist ideas in arguing that he should not be considered a hero by Tajiks.

Enver Pasha, who was born in Istanbul in 1881, was the leader of the Young Turk revolution in the Ottoman Empire.

He later joined Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks to fight against the Basmachi revolt in Central Asia. But he quickly joined the Basmachi and led them in their fight against the Bolsheviks.

Enver Pasha's remains were exhumed in Baljuvon and reburied in Turkey 1996.