Gulchehra Halimova, her husband Savriddin, and her extended family have lived on Suvorov Street in Dushanbe's center for 40 years. Over time, the family has added a yard and gardens, while expanding their traditional Central Asian home to accommodate 10 people.
The domestic quiet was shattered one day last December, when city officials informed Savriddin Halimov, a lawyer and businessman, and 12 neighboring homeowners that they would have to leave their properties by January 16. The homes were to be demolished to expand the nearby residence of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. According to Halimov, a parking lot for visiting dignitaries is slated to occupy the area where his home now stands.
In exchange for almost 300 square meters of total space, he said, officials offered his family a 40-square meter apartment on the edge of the city. They explained that the compensation procedure only took into account the size of living quarters, and not additional territory such as kitchens, courtyards, verandas, and storage buildings.
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Daniel Sershen is a freelance journalist based in Central Asia.