The Adventures of Latvians in Tajikistan. Part II.
My last post was devoted to Latvian music band “Baraka” that arrived to Tajikistan in August 2013. This post is a continuation of the first one.
After a heated debate in the social media, arrival to Tajikistan, one concert in Dushanbe and one in Khorog, the band went to leave the country through the only international airport located in Dushanbe. Next, I quote the band’s leader, Dmitry Evsikov who posted his appeal to Tajik people in Facebook:
… We arrived at the airport at 2 a.m. and went directly to CIP area – as I understand it , it’s something between a regular registration and VIP zone . We sat down on a sofa , while our concerts organizers Akhmadali Tojiddin and Azorabek Azorabekov went to speak with a worker of this very cozy place – to find out how much it would cost to register through the CIP registration. We decided to go through CIP only because we had a lot of music instruments …Then I see that our good friends are puzzled – as it turned out , an employee of the CIP area – required twice the regular fee from us . I proposed to leave the CIP area and go through the general registration zone with a big line. The worker of this CIP ” oasis ” followed me and said – ” you should have agreed , we would negotiate on a lower amount,” and then I realized that the situation will not turn to anything good. Our ” benefactor ” (the CIP area worker) who was not able to get some good amount of money from us, decided to take revenge . He went to the airport staff at the general registration terminal and said something to them. We proceeded to registration terminal. There were no signs of any trouble . We weighed our luggage , got the tickets and went to boarding pass control . And then the most interesting began. We had two guitars and two setors with us – one setor is a gift from the apartment – museum of Nargis Bandishoevoy – presented by Nargis’s mother . The other airport worker said that he would not let us go to the airplane with the music instruments. I said that we could not give the fragile things as the luggage. He took our passports and called the manager. A short man came and began pushing on me saying that he will not let us into the plane with the music instruments. Together with the manager we had to go back to the registration area – where the cause of our troubles – CIP area worker – was waiting for us. They called a representative of the UtAir air company. The manager, who was pushing on me before said to me “ I’ll go together with you to the airplane salon, and If even one flight attendant will say something about your music instruments – I will take you off the flight – are you ready for this?”. I said “ Please , do not spoil our impression of the trip to Tajikistan , we play your music and also deliver it to the western audience. The worker of the CIP or VIP area – actively involved in the conversation – said “We cannot let you go there with the music instruments”. I went back to my band.
Then I go back again to talk to those in whose hands our destiny was and they realized it very well . Then UtArt representative came and allowed us to carry the instruments on board . But the airport worker standed his ground to go with us to the airplane and to see the flight attendants reaction. In the end – they returned our passports and the flight was announced. We went to the plane. The UtAir crew was very friendly – they said that there is a lot of free room in the plane and that each of us would have three seats during the flight. The music instruments easily found their place on the upper shelves. We flew to Moscow – and there the second wave of revenge of the CIP area worker found us. The boarding passes for the connection flight Moscow – Riga was not given to us in Dushanbe airport .
We were not able to move from the terminal to the terminal and had to leave the airport and re-register …
The post by the band’s leader has caused a storm of emotions and discussions in Dushanbe Tajik-Facebook-activists community. Mass media reaction was also immediate. Both mass media and social media users have fallen with criticism upon Dushanbe International Airport.
An internal investigation and the investigation by the anti-corruption agency were initiated in the Dushanbe Airport. There was no violations have been identified. The Dushanbe airport denied all allegations against the airport staff. The press Secretary of the airport stated that the music band “Baraka” was treated in accordance with the airport rules and law of Tajikistan. He has also mentioned:
In accordance of the CIP area usage, those passengers who arrive to the country through the CIP has to pay $30 and those who leave the country has to pay twice more – $60…
Meanwhile, thanks to a further aspect, the story has take a new turn. One of the social media users offered to picket the Dushanbe Airport as the manifestation of disagreement on what had happened to “Baraka” music band. Mr. Shodiev (aka press secretary of Dushanbe airport) commented the offer to conduct the picket:
… It would be better to organize a picket in front of the Embassy of Russia, as almost every day there are two or three coffins come from Russia. Again “a Tajik poor guy” is to be blamed. Moscow concentration camps which were constructed for Tajik labor migrants do not make you angry. One complaint of a foreign artist you put higher than the dignity of the all Tajik people…
In his text the press secretary of the Dushanbe airport have not mentioned about the link between the Latvian music band and Russian embassy. Russian Embassy in Dushanbe in its turn responded to this statement on its official Facebook page:
… As it turned out, there are forces in Tajikistan that are ready to endanger the safety of the Embassy of Russia. This is the conclusion we make after the revelations of the Press Secretary of Dushanbe International Airport M.Shodieva in social media «Facebook». He calls to picket the Russian diplomatic mission. Such cases usually are regarded as a provocation.
We have already stated that there are one and a half million Tajik citizen in Russia and it is natural that some of them pass away and this is not obviously that it happen because of skinheads….
Here I finish the story and will inform you if it will have any developments
As a postposition I will tell that one week after the accident with “Baraka” music band I went to Dushanbe International Airport to see off a friend of mine. At the luggage check-in I have noticed that one of the passengers had a luggage overweight. The next think I have notice is that the passenger pulls money out of his pocket and privately gives it to a airport worker …