Time To Topple the ‘Bashi?

by Nathan Hamm on 7/15/2004 · 3 comments

Via Brian’s Study Breaks comes word of some rare signs of discontent in Turkmenistan.

Police and security forces in Turkmenistan are still looking for the people responsible for distributing leaflets in bazaars in Ashgabat last week that called for the overthrow of President Saparmurat Niyazov’s government. Acts of protest are rare in the country, where order is strictly maintained and dissidents are quickly jailed or forced into exile.

An Ashgabat resident was willing to confirm that the leaflets did indeed appear but he indicated in his comments that the topic is dangerous: “It happened, but people are afraid to speak about it. You ask people ‘Were you there? did you see?’ They say it’s better not to bring it up. Many are afraid to talk about it; even in private conversations the subject is avoided. The people cannot say openly what they know.”

The leaflets say that Turkmen people were born free, that they are a proud people who deserve to be liberated from tyranny. They say that the time has come to take responsibility for the future of the country’s children, that the time has come to overthrow Niyazov and bring him to trial.

In an appeal to the country’s Muslims, the leaflets call for the faithful to avoid worshipping at the new mosque Niyazov is building in his former hometown outside Ashgabat.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 3 comments }

upyernoz July 16, 2004 at 9:15 am

overthrow bashi?

but then we’ll never know how the rukhnama trilogy turns out!

Alisher July 19, 2004 at 10:13 am

Recently, I have heard a short joke about Niyazov.

Turkmenbashi wrote a new book: ” My advice to God”

Alisher July 19, 2004 at 10:22 am

Another Turkmenbashi joke (actually you can interchange the characters of this joke, etc)

Akaev and Nazarbaev are in a plane.
Akaev asks: “Nursultan, what do you think, if, God forbid, but there’ll be an explosion in the plane and we all die, who will regret more the kazakhs or the Kyrgyz?”
Nazarbaev :” The Turkmen”
Akaev: “Hm..the Turkmen?..why the Turkmen?”
Nazarbaev: ” The Turkmen will shout and cry and tear their hairs saying “why Turkmenbashi wasnt there, why he wast there?….”

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