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Central Asia news

Perestroika in Turkmenistan is postponed

02.04.2007 20:50 msk

Vremya Novostei

Politics Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan celebrated "Drop of Water Like a Nugget", a holiday established by the late Turkmenbashi. Saparmurat Niyazov had ordered it celebrated on the first Sunday of April (this year, it took place simultaneously with the All Fool's Day).

The Kara Kum occupies a major part of the territory of Turkmenistan, and that makes water a priceless commodity in this country. Recalling that he had once majored in medicine, Gurbankuly Berdymuhammedov reminded the population of it in his address. "Pure water is of paramount importance for health. A physically sound person is a good and inspired worker," he said. Turkmen official media outlets reported "mass festivities on the banks and shores of rivers and bodies of water from dawn till dusk" where "workers and veterans of water supply organizations were honored." "That the celebration this year follows the Halk Maslahaty (People's Council) meeting in Mary is not a coincidence," Berdymuhammedov emphasized. Halk Maslahaty deputies urged the population to rally around the new president for the purposes of reorganization of national agriculture. "We have the honor of announcing that the teaching left us by Saparmurat the Great Turkmenbashi is alive," Halk Maslahaty's statement proclaimed with pomp.

Needless to say, something hailed in this manner could not - and did not - have anything to do with the long-expected post-Niyazov perestroika. Any such expectations are bound to end in bitter disappointment, as Vremya Novostei was quite correct to assume. Whoever expected an amnesty to political prisoners sentenced by the Turkmenbashi's regime or even to the imprisoned statesmen are certainly disappointed. According to Die Deutsche Welle, some respectable lawmakers had intended to suggest an amnesty at the Halk Maslahaty meeting but the decision-makers clearly thought different. Sources in Ashkhabad say that the decisions were postponed.

The order to up salaries of teachers and scholarships by 40% as of September 1 is all to be shown for the Halk Maslahaty meeting. The new president kept at least one promise to voters given on the eve of presidential election on February 11.

Arkady Dubnov

Vremya Novostei, April 2, 2007, p. 5

© Translated by Ferghana.Ru