Tajik Teacher Fired For Missing Rahmon's Speech Is Reinstated

DUSHANBE -- A dance teacher in Dushanbe who was fired for not watching President Emomali Rahmon's address to the nation on television has been rehired after reports about her ordeal.

The Federation of Unions of Tajikistan told RFE/RL on February 16 that Saida Rustamova had been reinstated at its request by the choreography school that had fired her a few days earlier.

On February 14, Rustamova told RFE/RL that she was fired and official documents stated that she lost her job because she was not present in the school auditorium where students and teachers were gathered to watch Rahmon's annual address.

Rustamova said she had left the auditorium because there were no available seats left.

The school's principal, Kenja Ibrohimov, said that Rustamova was dismissed because of what he said was poor professional performance and her failure to follow her supervisors’ recommendations.

In August, authorities in the southwestern Huroson district fired Ziyoda Salomova, the head of the district's Department for Women and Family, after a group of women played Tajik folk music on out-of-tune traditional instruments during a visit by Rahmon.

Rahmon reinstated Salomova days later after her story was picked up by the media.

Much of the media in tightly controlled Tajikistan frequently showers Soviet-style praise on Rahmon, portraying him as a savior who brought peace to Tajikistan following a five-year civil war in the 1990s.

Rahmon, 65, holds titles including Founder of Peace and National Unity of Tajikistan and Leader of the Nation and enjoys lifelong immunity from prosecution, according to a law he endorsed in December 2015.

Rahmon, a former collective farm chief, has been in power in Tajikistan since 1992 -- a year after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Critics accuse his government of systematic rights abuses.