Tajikistan: State media specify Emomali Rahmon’s title fully
According to the journalist, before the adoption of the ‘The founder of peace and national unity - the Nation Leader’ law Emomali Rahmon was supposed to be represented as: "Mukhtar Djanobi Oli" (the respected supreme lord), but now this title is not so common. In official media, the once popular ‘Djanobi Oli’ preceding the name of the president is now used infrequently, but ‘mukhtaram’ (respected) is preserved.
Farrukh Ziyoyev, director of Tajikistan's state radio, notes that the mentioning of Emomali Rahmon's ‘Founder of Peace and National Unity – the Nation Leader’ title in official reports is a requirement of law and journalists must comply with it. ‘However, there are cases when journalists can use synonyms –“head of state” or simply “the nation leader”. And in official messages it is necessary to specify all the titles fully. Journalists are required to comply with the law only, not more,’ he said.
However, the lawyer Shokirjon Khakimov notes that listing of titles of the president in the news takes a lot of time now, and news is ‘lost’ against this background.
In December 2015, Tajikistan adopted the ‘the Founder of Peace and National Unity – the Nation Leader’ law which granted Emomali Rahmon special life status and privileges. According to the law, which has the status of constitutional, the leader of the nation is guaranteed immunity: it is forbidden to detain, arrest and search him. The property and real estate belonging to the Nation Leader and his relatives are also immune. Emomali Rahmon and all members of his family will be permanently guarded by the state security service. After the presidency the leader of the nation will be provided with an official car and driver, free medical care. The leader of the nation will receive a pension in the amount of 80 percent of the official salary of the president.
On 26 October 2016, deputies of the lower house of the Tajik parliament voted unanimously for giving Emomali Rahmon the status of the founder of independent Tajikistan. Henceforth, a special place will be constructed for the Nation Leader which will be equipped with modern means of communication and technology at all ceremonial and festive events of the republican level, at the meetings of the government and parliament of the country. A special fund of the Nation Leader will be created, the Order of the Nation Leader and the Prize of Nation Leader will be established. Moreover, in November 2016 a new article was incorporated into the Criminal Code of the republic providing punishment for insulting the Nation Leader.
In May 2016, a nationwide referendum was held in Tajikistan to amend the country's constitution which consolidated a lifelong rule for Rahmon and ensured his son the opportunity to run for presidency in the upcoming elections.
It should be noted that Tajikistan is not the only country in the region where a flattering address to the first persons is a rule. Kyrgyzstan is an exception. For example, it is customary to address the head of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev with a mandatory ‘Elbasy’ prefix (Leader of the Nation). In this country there is a museum of Nazarbayev, a university and a library named after Nazarbayev, dozens of films and books about the president have been issued. Recently, there was a proposal to rename the capital of Kazakhstan Astana thus perpetuating the name of the president.
Ex-President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov often heard from his subordinates ‘Otamiz’ (‘our father’). His successor Shavkat Mirziyoyev has not yet become ‘titled’. It is customary to appeal the head of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov as ‘Arkadag’ (‘head, support, hope of Turkmen’).