DUSHANBE, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – State media bosses in Tajikistan say they will keep Ded Moroz, a figure roughly equivalent to Father Christmas, off the nation’s television screens this year as he is not in keeping with local traditions.
Saidali Siddikov, deputy head of the state broadcaster in the mainly Muslim nation, said neither Ded Moroz nor his granddaughter Snegurochka will feature in upcoming festive New Year’s programming.
“These fairytale characters and festive attributes have no direct relations to our national traditions, not that there is anything bad about them,” Siddikov said.
Programs to be shown on New Year’s Eve will feature music, singing, dancing and countdown festivities before the yearend, although no alcohol is to be shown, Siddikov said.
Ded Moroz and other associated traditions, which are a legacy of Tajikistan’s history as a former Soviet republic, have come under fire from conservative Muslims in recent years.
Siddikov denied the ruling on Ded Moroz – Russian for “Father Frost” – had been taken on instruction from the government and said the state broadcaster had come to the decision of its own accord.
In January last year, a man dressed as Ded Moroz was stabbed to death in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, in an attack that police initially suspected was inspired by religious hatred.