Turkmenistan declares war on Russian citizens

The State Duma committee on international affairs has included Turkmenistan in the list of countries not recommended for Russian citizens to visit. This was announced today by Head of the Committee Dmitry Rogozin after a joint meeting of State Duma committees on security, CIS issues and international affairs. The meeting was devoted to the protection of human rights in Turkmenistan.

'The situation has got worse in this country after Turkmenistan announced it had abolished joint citizenship,' Mr Rogozin stressed. 'It is no longer safe for Russians to live in Turkmenistan.' He pointed out that Russians living in Turkmenistan had been given until June 22 to decide what nationality they want. 'Many deputies in the State Duma regard this step by Turkmenistan as a declaration of war on those Russians living in Turkmenistan,' Mr Rogozin added.

Chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Issues Andrei Kokoshin told journalists that the three committees intend to compile a detailed assessment of the situation in Turkmenistan, which they will present to parliament on June 20. 'This document will include harsh criticism of the Turkmen leadership and we will recommend that the Foreign Ministry and the Russian president take the necessary retaliatory steps and impose sanctions,' said Mr Kokoshin. However, the deputy did not specify which specific sanctions he had in mind.

Head of the Security Committee Alexander Gurov reminded journalists that about 240 thousand Russians live in Turkmenistan where they are often victims of persecution. Other minorities including Azerbaijanis, Cossacks and Uzbeks also suffer racial attacks. 'We can not allow such dictatorial regimes to exist in the 21st century,' he said.

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