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Tajikistan Spending $100m on a Theater, but Where Are the Theatergoers?

Once the world’s tallest flagpole, this prestige project – that officials say was designed to please the president – was recently surpassed by one erected in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: David Trilling)

Tajikistan is a donor-dependent state, but that does not stop President Emomali Rahmon’s administration from undertaking extravagant building projects. The latest case of grandiosity involves the construction of what the president’s website boasts will be Central Asia’s largest theater.
 
The tab for the theater project is expected to run $100 million. Once completed, it will expand an already lengthy list of outsized projects that are apparently intended to burnish the reputation of the former Soviet Union’s poorest country. Earlier projects include what was briefly the world’s tallest flagpole, completed in 2011. Tajikistan also claims to have Central Asia’s largest library (completed in 2012), biggest museum (2013) and most capacious teahouse (2014).
 

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David Trilling contributed reporting.

Tajikistan Spending $100m on a Theater, but Where Are the Theatergoers?

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