Breaking Sacred Turkmen Traditions

by Nathan Hamm on 1/4/2007

Interim President Berdimuhammedov may be pledging to keep some of Turkmenbashi’s policies going, but RFE/RL reports today that he plans to make some changes if (or, more likely, when) he wins February’s presidential election. And if he follows through, these actually appear to be some positive changes.

“We will create the right conditions for developing the transportation and communications network,” Berdymukhammedov said, according to RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service. “I will pay a great deal of attention to this sphere. The latest technology, [like] the Internet, should be available to every person in the country.”

He has also vowed to reverse his predecessor’s school reform, which reduced 10 years of studies to nine.

Berdymukhammedov also vowed to review the cases of those who had their pensions cut off in 2006, and said the state would continue to make bread, gasoline, and other staples available at low prices.

RFE/RL interpreted the pledge regarding the internet as a promise to “lift tight restrictions.” That can be interpreted a few ways, and from what they have quoted, his promise looks only to be about increasing access to the internet and not necessarily about reducing government control over the access.

I’m wondering if the following will be changed…


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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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