Tajik leader bemused by royal wedding fuss
The global joy at Friday's British royal wedding did not spread to distant Tajikistan, where the president remarked that the ceremony carried all the hallmarks of a totalitarian regime.
Emomali Rakhmon, who presides over the poorest of the 15 former Soviet republics, told a government meeting in the Central Asian state that he was bewildered at the global media attention being lavished on the royal event.
"Just take a look at Euronews and the BBC," the Central Asian republic's leader said in reference to the international broadcasters.
"What, is there no economic crisis in the European countries -- say, in Portugal, for example?" he demanded.
"Is there no drought, problems at the nuclear power plant in Japan, or other global problems," the Tajik president said in an extended detour from prepared remarks on security issues.
"All they ever talk about is the wedding -- the wedding of the century," he scoffed.
"If something like this happened in one of the former Soviet countries, people would be immediately say this was a totalitarian regime."
Rakhmon has headed Tajikistan since 1992, when the country erupted into a five-year civil war that killed 150,000 people and left the republic susceptible to sporadic spells of violence and overrun with drugs.
© 2011 AFP