LEADER IDEOLOGY IN POST-SOVIET TAJIKISTAN
Slavomir Horak, Researcher at the Institute of International Studies of Karlov University in Prague (Prague, the Czech Republic)
Ideology is one of the foundations of authoritative regimes and forms the image of their leaders. Using Uzbekistan as an example, A. March comes to the conclusion that the ideological system imposed by the state has a tangible impact on society, even one that has already lived at one time under the communist ideology. Based on an analysis of several special features of the development of the post-Communist countries (and several others), the conclusion is drawn that during a political regime change, the population can be ideologically “reset.” After a new ideology has been repeatedly fed to the people over the span of several years, it becomes a conscious or subconscious element of society’s mindset. Thus ideology plays a significant role in state- and nation-building, particular after the formation of new states or territorial units.
The new system forms in several interdependent dimensions. The first, chronologically, is historical ideology. The existence of a historical past that goes back into antiquity sets a nation or nationality above others (usually its neighbors). Research studies in this area are leading to the rapid development of archeology and myth creation about antiquity. Another goal of historical ideology is searching for the most significant periods in history of a certain territory (or nation) which are frequently associated with certain outstanding personalities: “great” nations are regarded as the predecessors of present-day territorial units, and heroes are associated with the leaders of the most recent times (presidents or monarchs), which largely determines the ideology of modern states.
As early as Soviet times, studies of the ancient historical past turned into a “struggle over the oldest settlement” in this or another Central Asian republic, whereby the number of celebrations in honor of “the founding of a City” has only increased in the post-Soviet era. In this way, based on the “latest studies,” the history of several towns proved older that people thought.
Building a modern nation is the second dimension of the ideological system (based on its national and territorial past), which frequently leads to denial of the previous regime. In this way, such “modernization” in post-Soviet countries is turning into denial of the Soviet regime and is manifested differently in each of them. Attempts are being made to introduce modern power institutions and advanced technology (often at any cost), rebuild cities (mainly capitals), democratize society (keeping in mind local national traits), and incorporate other innovations; the regime strives to become “modern.”
These ways of forming a new system lead to the people identifying the presidents of the new states with historical heroes and sometimes idolizing them (as in the case of the first Turkmen president). Presidents become the guarantors of contemporary development and stability, which in the conditions of the authoritarian regimes of Central Asia (CA) promotes the emergence of personality cults.
This article will take a look at these phenomena (the personality cult and its development) based on the example of Tajikistan. An analysis will be conducted of the political portrait of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov (Rakhmon) drawn by his ideologists and................