Turkmenistan: Akmurad Rejepov falls victim of the regime he himself helped establish
Lieutenant General Amkurat Rejepov, former chief of the presidential security service, and his son Nurmurad Rejepov, ex-officer of the National Security Service, were sentenced to imprisonment in Turkmenistan.
Akmurad Rejepov was known as one of the most powerful men close to the late President Saparmurat Niyazov. He played an instrumental role in Operation Successor that culminated in election of Gurbankuly Berdymuhammedov the president.
Arrest of the once omnipotent Rejepov was never officially announced. On May 15, Turkmen TV only reported that Rejepov was relieved of his duties and would be offered another assignment. Neither did official Ashkhabad denounce Rejepov's arrest reports in foreign media outlets.
According to what information is available to Vremya Novostei, Rejepov was arrested the day following the meeting of the presidents of Turkmenistan, Russia, and Kazakhstan in Turkmenbashi (former Krasnovodsk). It took the arrestee himself absolutely by surprise.
One Murad Agayev, former head of Oriental (a major Turkmen company) and a prominent businessman, was arrested and sentenced together with the Rejepovs. All three defendants were convicted for corruption and criminal abuse of power. Interim reports indicate that Rejepov himself was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, his son to 13, and Agayev to 17.
Member of the Ferghana.Ru Export Council Artyom Ulunyan (Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences) calls Rejepov's lot actually typical in the post-Soviet territory.
Ulunyan: - Rejepov is one of the so called "attached", men of the State Security Committee (the feared KGB) who were supposed to see to security of CPSU functionaries - first secretaries and so on. When Turkmenistan regained sovereignty, Rejepov became grey eminence or power behind the throne merely because he had known Niyazov in person. It was Rejepov who handpicked practically all top nomenclature, who monitored all or almost all major economic deals, and who was involved in other major operations Niyazov had running both in the country and abroad...
Rejepov's downfall was to be expected because it was logical. On December 21, 2006, the day Niyazov died, everyone assumed that Rejepov was about to become the decision-maker regardless of the figurehead of the new President Berdymuhammedov. Rejepov aspired for winning a special position in the country and abroad (in the gas market - in the capacity of the man in the Turkmen leadership who made all decisions). He challenged both Berdymuhammedov and the men who had backed the latter in the election. It certainly seems that the new Turkmen leadership is has completed the process of formation. It is poised and ready for anything.
Niyazov and company give way to others. The so called advisers are all that remains of the former team. For instance, the former team is still represented by one Alexander Zhadan. Few men in Kazakhstan have heard this name of one of the most powerful confidants of both Niyazov and Berdymuhammedov. Berdymuhammedov has concentrated practically all powers in his hands, and the nomenclature swallowed it because it does not want another Niyazov's era when the fate of every state official depended on the Turkmenbashi alone and could actually land one in jail. Rejepov fell victim of the regime he himself helped establish.
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One of the independent experts with broad and lengthy experience in Turkmenistan also fails to perceive Rejepov's arrest as something bizarre.
The expert: - Rejepov and Agayev belonged to Niyazov's inner circle and were actively involved in business deals with the president's son Murad. Rejepov did help Berdymuhammedov in his climb to the pinnacle of political power. Berdymuhammedov is now getting rid of the people who helped him, and going about it through pretty traditional ways and means.