Turkmenistan: Now Safe for Clowns

by Nathan Hamm on 1/21/2008 · 3 comments

clown.jpgThere has been a shift in policy in Turkmenistan.

Late on Sunday, state television announced his plans to reopen an opera house, resume circus shows and build a cinema in the capital Ashgabat.

“Today a new period is starting in our country which we have called an era of great renaissance,” Berdymukhamedov said in televised remarks, his speech interrupted by applause.

Turkmenbashi, of course, banned ballet, opera, and circuses because they were alien to Turkmen culture. Many consider this choice to have been further evidence of Niazov’s eccentricity. But in my book, anything that keeps the clowns (apparently universally reviled and alien to any culture except perhaps France’s) at bay counts as sound policy-making.

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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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Davíd January 21, 2008 at 6:34 pm

You should have made some lame joke about how americans are used to clowns because of bush, or something…

Nathan January 21, 2008 at 6:40 pm

I’ll leave that to you, thanks.

Joshua Foust January 22, 2008 at 11:52 am

I want to know when lip synching will be permitted again. I mean, I’m sure Ashley Simpson is dying to do her fabled 15-city “Oil Towns of the Desert” tour.

Also, this story got some interesting comments over at Steve LeVine’s blog. Hahaha, Bush.

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