by Nathan Hamm on 3/1/2005 · 2 comments

You know how I am always making fun of Turkmenbashi? Well, try as I might, I can’t find any humor in his latest policy move:

President Niyazov apparently took the decision to close the hospitals at a meeting with local officials on Monday.

“Why do we need such hospitals?” he said. “If people are ill, they can come to Ashgabat.”

For the Turkmens, it means the end of a nationwide health service already on its knees.

There are few able doctors and little medicine in rural Turkmen hospitals, and last year President Niyazov sacked 15,000 medical workers, replacing them with army conscripts. However the local hospital was the only place for sick people to go – especially those without the funds to travel to Ashgabat for treatment.

The foreign community will be horrified by the decision.

President Niyazov is well known for his idiosyncratic orders, but it is extraordinary for a head of state to take such a step.

To say the least…

So, at exactly what point does life in North Korea become better than life in Turkmensitan? If we haven’t crossed that line yet, well, we’re nearly there.


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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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{ 1 comment }

student March 1, 2005 at 11:35 pm

“Why do we need such hospitals?” he said. “If people are ill, they can come to Ashgabat.”
You can expect such weird words only from Turkmenbashi.

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