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The Ministry of Defence of Tajikistan Refuses to Translate Military Ranks into Persian

Wednesday 2 January 2019

DUSHANBE (Radio Ozodi) — The Ministry of Defence of Tajikistan has rejected a proposal by officials of the State Committee on Language and Terminology to translate military ranks assigned to officers and sergeants of the national army from Russian into Persian.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Defence, the Tajik army does not have the necessary funds to carry out this language reform.

Two months ago, the Government of Tajikistan’s Language and Terminology Committee proposed to the Department of Defence that the military ranks assigned to officers and sergeants, now in Russian, be translated into the national language. A group of scientists, historians and military personnel had been involved in translating military ranks into the language of the State.

The specialists suggested the following variations of Tajik military titles: corporal -> radabon, junior sergeant -> dastavar, sergeant -> dastair, sergeant -> dastabon, foreman -> sardasta, captain -> sadavar, lieutenant colonel -> lashkarer, colonel -> sarlashkar. It was reported that the committee’s experts, working on alternatives to the current military ranks, had carefully studied the ancient manuscripts of the Achaemenid, Sassanid and Samanid periods.

The proposal to translate military titles into the official language caused a dispute in the Tajik segment of the Internet. There is no consensus on this issue and on the Tajik generals.

The former Secretary of the Security Council of Tajikistan, Amirkul Azimov, believes that it is not necessary to translate military titles into Persian. However, retired General Nuralisho Nazarov insists that in the Tajik army, ranks must be in the mother tongue.

Previously, the Tajik authorities also officially banned the use of Russian surnames and surnames in documents. The head of state, Emomali Rahmon himself withdrew in 2007, the suffix “ov” from his family name. Subsequently, many other officials followed his example.

In April 2016, Tajiks of ethnic origin were officially prohibited from using the Russian family name. Thus, the civil registry authorities of Tajikistan have been warned not to register names with Russian endings -ov, -ovich and -ovna.

However, after a few months, thousands of people in Tajikistan, mainly labour migrants, took over the Russian version of writing family names and first names. They said that the Russification of family names would allow them to avoid problems with the Russian police and employers who complain that they cannot distinguish between Tajik first names and family names. Many Tajiks have been expelled from the territory of Russia who decide to change their passports and revert to the Russian version of the spelling of their names.

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