Author`s name Olga Savka

Turkmenistan To Become Closed State

Turkmen authorities oust Russians from Turkmenistan
Turkmen citizens who also have Russian citizenship have very little time to think about their future, for a deadline is coming: June 22nd will be the last day to worry about such things. Russian diplomats acknowledge that Turkmen citizens with dual citizenship are gripped with panic. Thousands of people are rushing to the Russian Consulate to ask for immigrant status. It seems that more than 100,000 people will have to leave the republic of Turkmenistan by the end of June.

Vladimir Kotenev, the director of the consulate service department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that Russia will never acknowledge Turkmenistan's single-handed pullout from the dual citizenship agreement. The Russian diplomat added that the Turkmen foreign ministry had been informed about Russia's concern about the issue. Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov suggested a committee should be set up to settle any concrete problems.

As experience shows, the best way not to do anything is to set up a committee that will be stuck dealing with various issues and then stop working at all. One should have started helping Russians from the very beginning, when Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov issued a decree banning dual citizenship in the republic.

Turkmenistan-based Russians have already become second-class citizens. Practically all Russian schools have been closed, and many Russian-speaking people have employment problems. Pensioners or those who do not have any relatives in Russia have no way out, so they have to stay in Turkmenistan. Such people are most in need of Russia's support. Russians have already been ousted from other Asian republics in the same way, so it is hard to believe that the Russian government thought the situation would be different in Turkmenistan. If Russian media outlets had not caused a commotion, it cannot be ruled out that the authorities might have turned a blind eye to the issue.

Nevertheless, it is still not known how the Russian government is going to help Turkmenistan-based Russians. It seems that the Turkmen president is not going to give up his intentions, because the whole campaign was meant to make Turkmenistan a closed state. It is impossible to say what is happening in the republic at present. Yet, it is clear that President Saparmurat Niyazov has been trying to quarrel with all the neighboring states of late, the ruling regimes of which could in no way be called examples of liberalism. Apparently, Turkmenistan is a unique state of the former USSR in this respect.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported that the Turkmen foreign ministry published a statement in the beginning of June, in which it was said: "If competent authorities of the Russian Federation are incapable of executing their own laws, how can they guarantee the government's functioning? Turkmenistan expresses its protest against scathing attacks that have been organized with the use of certain Russian media outlets." One shall assume that Turkmenistan is an example for Russia in this respect.

In photo: Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov

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