Staunton, June 29 – Turkmenistan,
far and away the most brutally repressive of any of the post-Soviet states and
one whose rulers behave much as the Kims do in North Korea, seldom gets much attention
except as being a frontline state facing the Islamist radicals in Afghanistan or
as a source of natural gas for the West.
But no one should forget in their
rush to cooperate with Ashgabat on either of these things just how horribly
repressive that country now is. The last few days alone have featured five
stories that highlight this reality. They deserve mention as part of the continuing
tragedy that has been visited on the people of Turkmenistan by its rulers.
Turkmenistan government is currently going after and seizing satellite dishes
in the villages so that people there cannot get television from abroad (fergananews.com/news/30882).
Ashgabat has denied, many people find credible reports that the Turkmenistan
government is doing all it can to keep young men from fleeing the country by
raising prices on transportation and calling them in for “conversations” with the
secret police (fergananews.com/news/30870).
situation in the Turkmenistan army is so dire that parents of young men serving
there now have to take food to their sons lest they starve (fergananews.com/news/30887).
studying abroad are complaining that agents of the Ashgabat government are not
only monitoring them but engaging them in conversations designed to ensure that
they will return home unradicalized (fergananews.com/news/30825).