TAJIKISTAN - In October 2016, the authoritarian president of Tajikistan, Emomali Rachmon, pushed a pile of stones into the river Vachsh with a bulldozer. With this symbolic gesture he gave a new start to the construction of the Rogun dam which started in 1976. With 335 meters, Rogun has to become the highest dam in the world and the largest hydroelectric power plant in Central Asia. Quite a strong achievement for the poorest country in the region.

How is that possible? How does such an immense project affects the mountainous country? Will ordinary Tajik profit from cheaper electricity from hydropower? With those questions began the research that ultimately gives a glimpse into the operation of the country.

For Rachmon, who has been firmly in the saddle for almost a quarter of a century, Rogun is the flagship of his policy. At the same time, the dam symbolizes what goes wrong in the neighboring country of China and Afghanistan: corruption, nepotism and an oppressed population.

Brecht Castel

Brecht Castel is a Belgian freelance journalist.
Brecht Castel
€ 3.700 allocated on 17/12/2017.
Fonds Pascal Decroos

De schaduw van de grootste dam ter wereld, dS Weekblad, 24/11/2018. (in Dutch)

Een dam te ver, standaard.be, 24/11/2018. (in Dutch)