Roland Breton breton-roland at wanadoo.fr
Tue Jul 13 16:43:22 UTC 2004

Turmenistan ruling people seem to have perfectly learned the lesson taught
by their former Russian masters and their present Russian interlocutors.
Democracy for all of them is just a play covering corruption and power
monopoly. And any minority has no right. The new reality is that, in
Turkmenistan, now the Russian are the minority instead of the ruling elite
above the oppressed majority.

Best regards

Roland Breton

Roland J.-L. Breton
Professor Emeritus of Geography
University of Paris 8
(Vincennes-St Denis)
<breton-roland at wanadoo.fr>

le 13/07/04 15:16, Harold F. Schiffman à haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu a
écrit :

> Eurasia Insight:
> Igor Torbakov: 6/04/03
> http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav060403.shtml
> Rancorous rhetoric between Russia and Turkmenistan is escalating over
> Ashgabats swift action to eliminate dual citizenship, a move that could
> have devastating consequences for potentially tens of thousands of
> Russians and Russian-speakers. The Turkmen Foreign Ministry fired the
> latest salvo in the dispute, accusing Russian leaders of engineering a
> mass media campaign designed to discredit Turkmenistan.
> In late May, Dmitry Rogozin, the chairman of the Russian parliaments
> Foreign Relations Committee, condemned Turkmen strongman Saparmurat
> Niyazov for planning the mass deportation of Turkmenistans Russian
> population a reference to an April 22 decree that unilaterally rescinded a
> Turkmen-Russian agreement on dual citizenship. Rogozin also alleged during
> an interview broadcast on the Russian NTV television channel that Turkmen
> officials were involved in drug trafficking and had supported Afghanistans
> former rulers, the radical Islamic Taliban movement.
> If intelligence that Ashgabat has supported international terrorism proved
> to be accurate, Rogozin told NTV that Niyazovs regime should be isolated
> by the international community. Later reports by NTV provided additional
> information on alleged misdeed committed by Turkmen officials.
> Rogozins comments and the subsequent NTV reports provoked a fierce
> response from the Turkmen Foreign Ministry. A May 30 statement said some
> Russian mass media outlets were attempting to delude public opinion by
> disseminating false inventions about the situation in Turkmenistan.
> Some representatives of state organs of Russia have also turned out to be
> involved in this unseemly act, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry statement
> continued. The statement demanded that Moscow bring to book those
> responsible for the NTV reports on Turkmenistan. If the competent
> authorities are not able to ensure the execution of laws within their
> state [Russia], then a question arises about their ability to ensure state
> authority in the country at all, the statement said.
> The seeds for the existing row were sown just under two months ago, when
> Niyazov and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow to seal a gas
> deal, which at the time was hailed as a breakthrough in bilateral
> commercial relations. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
> During their April summit, Niyazov reportedly obtained Putins consent to
> rescind a dual-citizenship agreement.
> Putins concurrence provoked a political storm in Russia that has yet to
> subside. It appears Russian leaders were caught off guard by the speed
> with which Niyazov moved to eliminate dual citizenship  a move that
> affects mostly Russians and Russian-speakers, who must choose their single
> citizenship by June 22. The Kremlin simply didnt expect such swiftness
> from its Turkmen partner, political analyst Vitaly Portnikov said in a
> commentary published in the Vremya MN daily.
> With the deadline looming, those in Turkmenistan who opt for a Russian
> passport could end up forfeiting their homes and other property, as, under
> Turkmen law, only Turkmen citizens have the right to own real estate.
> According to Russian press reports, prices for apartments in Ashgabat have
> already dropped threefold. At the same time, those who decide to retain
> Turkmen passports will not be able to travel to Russia freely since
> Turkmen nationals now need to obtain an exit visa to leave the country.
> The way Russians are being treated [in Turkmenistan] is a real tragedy,
> said Sergei Kamenev, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies
> in Moscow.
> Popular outrage in Russia has Putins administration on the defensive. Some
> have accused Putin of swapping 150,000 co-nationals for gas. Others say
> Putins actions are perceived across the former Soviet Union as a betrayal
> on Moscows part. With the parliamentary and presidential elections coming
> soon, both the president [Putin] and the party of power may pay dearly for
> this [betrayal], regional analyst Arkady Dubnov wrote in the Vremya
> Novostei newspaper.
> Shortly after Niyazov issued the dual-citizenship revocation decree in
> April, Russia tried quiet diplomacy in order to get the Turkmen leader to
> soften the measures impact. Turkmen officials rebuffed the Russian
> diplomatic feelers.
> In the days following Rogozins late May demarche, few Russian observers
> believed the Kremlin was prepared to harden its stance on Turkmen human
> rights violations. Instead, most analysts believed that Rogozin, who has
> close ties to the Kremlin, was acting on behalf of Putin in an attempt to
> restore the presidents tarnished domestic image.
> At this point, analysts contend, the dispute over the dual citizenship
> issue likely does not pose a long-term threat to bilateral relations. They
> note that Niyazov attended the CIS summit in St. Petersburg, which
> occurred the same day that the Turkmen Foreign Ministry statement was
> issued. If Niyazov had truly been angered by the Russian media reports, he
> probably would have canceled his visit to Russia.
> At the same time, some observers say that given Niyazovs mercurial nature,
> bilateral relations could take serious and unpredictable twists at any
> point. In addition, the dual citizenship issue appears to retain its
> ability to politically damage Putin. Turkmenistans prickly response to
> Russias human rights criticism could bring pressure to bear on Putin to
> get tougher with Turkmenistan.
> Some influential members of Moscows policy-making elite have long argued
> that Russia should adopt a more hardline position towards Niyazovs
> repressive regime. Authoritarianism in Central Asia poses no less a
> strategic threat to Russias security than militant Islamism, political
> analyst Aleksander Arkhangelsky argued recently in the Izvestiya daily.
> The tyrannical regimes are fluid and poisonous like mercury, Archangelsky
> wrote. If we dont arrest their contagious expansion today, we might
> seriously regret this failure tomorrow.
> Editors Note: Igor Torbakov is a freelance journalist and researcher who
> specializes in CIS political affairs. He holds an MA in History from
> Moscow State University and a PhD from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.
> He was Research Scholar at the Institute of Russian History, Russian
> Academy of Sciences, Moscow; a Visiting Scholar at the Kennan Institute,
> Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC; a
> Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University, New York; and a Visiting Fellow
> at Harvard University. He is now based in Istanbul, Turkey.

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