Even after thirty years, Lenin monuments and Soviet symbols still evoke nostalgia not only among Tajik communists, but also among ordinary residents of Tajikistan. The followers of communist ideology preserve some of the monuments, while others decay in abandoned places, where they were stored after dismantling.
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Lenin monuments and busts, which were located in the center of every city, village or district of Tajikistan, are long replaced by other monuments of the Independence era.
Tajik authorities got rid of almost all the symbols of the Soviet period.
The south of Tajikistan, where a large number of communists lived earlier, is now colored according with the symbols of the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan.
The Lenin monuments in the centers of cities and districts throughout the country were replaced by the monuments of Ismoili Somoni, the founder of the first centralized Tajik state, Samanid Empire.
Nevertheless, several Lenin monuments in the Vakhsh valley still exist decorating the streets in remote districts. In some districts, the monuments were moved from the centers to parks or placed in museums. Some monuments stand at the entrance to organisations and enterprises reminding of the Soviet past.
The Communist Party of Tajikistan considers these monuments as historical. Its leaders repeatedly stated that the dismantling of Lenin monuments in cities and regions is illegal, and they all need the state protection.
A spokeswoman for the Communist Party Zaragul Mirasanova said they are responsible for the monuments’ maintenance. According to her, 47 Lenin monuments are still standing in Sughd region; in Khatlon region, monuments are installed in 17 cities and districts. However, they do not have accurate statistics on the number of remaining monuments.
Earlier, the local media reported that the Communist Party addressed the government with a request to hand over a number of dismantled monuments to them. However, the authorities advised to negotiate with the Art Fund, where the former Soviet Union symbols are stored.
The Department of Culture of Khatlon region stated to CABAR.asia that the exact number of Lenin monuments erected during Soviet times is unknown; there are approximately only 48 of them now.
The Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On Protection and Use of Objects of Historical and Cultural Heritage” protects monuments and busts in Tajikistan. The Ministry of Culture and its local Departments are responsible for their safety. However, the monuments of the Soviet era do not seem to be always protected.
The residents say they witnessed the destruction of several abandoned monuments removed from city and regional centers.
“To be honest, it is upsetting to see how some monuments, which cost a lot of money in the past, are now destroyed, and no one cares about it. It is obvious that the time is different, but they represent our history. I would like our children not to forget about it,” said Ahmad Mirzoev, Bohtar city resident.