It is unlikely that anyone would be surprised to pose the question of national problems in the countries of the post-Soviet space. Almost everywhere, this issue is not resolved in favor of national minorities. However, another is interesting. Proclaiming the Soviet (and earlier) time as a “prison” of peoples, in each state the titular nation raised the theme of national discrimination in the USSR on the banners. But that “discrimination” cannot be compared with what is happening now with national minorities, especially in the countries of Central Asia.
The situation of the rights of national minorities in Turkmenistan is most indicative. Even in the very first Constitution of independent Turkmenistan, a norm was introduced that only Turkmen could be elected president (Article 53rd). And another constitutional law “On Independence and the Foundations of the State System of 1991” proclaims unequivocally: “Independence of Turkmenistan is proclaimed in the name of the highest goals - the achievement of authentic national statehood by the Turkmen people ...”. It is said in this law, as well as in the Constitution and about other peoples living in the territory of Turkmenistan. But in the subordinate sense, preferences of the titular nation were always in the first place. At the same time, by the 91st year, the share of the non-Turkmen population reached 25-27 percent. Thus, the authorities initially laid the basis for the state-building of Turkmenistan on the principle of building an ethnic state, thereby dividing citizens of Turkmenistan along national lines, initiating discrimination and segregation. And in 2003, in his book “Ruhnama”, President Niyazov summed up: “For the first time in the history of the nation, the Turkmen state appeared, relying on national values in its policy” ...
Oddly enough, the Slavs turned out to be the best in comparison with other nations. After going through all the difficulties and humiliation of both the Turkmen and Russian authorities, they had the opportunity to move to Russia, getting rid of the status of second-class citizens.
The big Uzbek diaspora was simply nowhere to go. The Uzbeks lived in this territory for a long time, historically comparable to the time of the Turkmens, and found themselves within the present-day Turkmenistan only in the 20s of the last century, while delimiting as part of the USSR.
Overcrowding in the adjacent areas of Uzbekistan, lack of work and historical attachment to places of residence in the north and east of Turkmenistan, left the Uzbek population hostage to the national policy of the Turkmen authorities. Since the 1990s, the authorities have consistently deprived the Uzbek population of all opportunities to preserve their cultural identity. All national-cultural institutions were closed, with how many significant positions the Uzbek officials were removed, the closure of schools with instruction in the Uzbek language began, and by 2003 all such schools were closed. In the early 2000s, the requirement to appear at work and classes in national Turkmen clothes began to be introduced in state institutions, including schools.
The tightening of the border regime with Uzbekistan has caused the emergence of the next difficulties and problems among the Uzbek population. Trips for funerals, weddings, visits to places of ritual worship, just trips to relatives began to be governed by new rules for crossing the border, and the introduction of official fees for passage to the other side (about $ 9) made visits to relatives, and just trips on business. , almost impossible. Until recently, the existing law of Turkmenistan restricting the rights of citizens of Turkmenistan to enter into marriages with foreigners hit the Uzbek community the hardest. According to this law, a potential spouse had to live for at least a year and have real estate (housing) in Turkmenistan, as well as pay $ 50,000 to the state account as insurance in case of divorce. Certainly, in modern conditions, none of these requirements turned out to be impracticable, which led to numerous violations of the border crossing, passport and other regimes, which turned out to be administrative, and then criminal cases.
But that was not the end of all the problems. The authorities declared the inhabitants of other regions of Turkmenistan closed to visit two regions in the north and east of the country, where the Uzbeks live compactly. Other residents of Turkmenistan and foreigners visiting these areas without a special permit is simply prohibited.
The actual situation of the hostages, to which the Turkmen authorities doomed their citizens of Uzbek nationality, began to manifest itself in the event of any complications in interstate relations between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In such cases, border control was sharply tightened, cases of the use of firearms by border guards began to appear, the first victims appeared. The cross-border trade, which constituted the main income for many families, almost completely ceased. All smuggling began to be punished in the most severe way, up to the eviction of entire families in remote areas of Turkmenistan (there is a special law that replaces imprisonment with a settlement in remote regions of the country). According to the information of the Helsinki Initiative of Turkmenistan, from 15 to 18 April 2005, about 40 families were evicted from border villages of the border villages “Gulistan”, “Dovletli” and the village council of Meidigengel Niyazovsky etrap of the Dashoguz velayat. All families, including children, with the use of police forces and the Ministry of National Security, were relocated to the Bereket community of the Gazandzhik district of the Balkan velayat. There they were placed in dilapidated houses of the Kazakhs left over from Kazakhstan.
The transfer of education in schools to the Turkmen language, a 9-year education, which differs from the standards adopted in Uzbekistan, creates insurmountable barriers to the continuation of the education of Uzbek youth in higher educational institutions of Uzbekistan. Previously, only in the regional center in the north of Turkmenistan - Dashaguz, 9 secondary schools were functioning with instruction in the Uzbek language. However, at present, there are no such schools in all of Turkmenistan; so-called Turkmen-Uzbek schools are functioning, where only a part of the subjects are taught in Uzbek and only in the senior grades. Junior classes are fully translated to training in Turkmen. The continuation of studies in Turkmenistan is limited by the ethnic qualification, which is secretly established by the Turkmen authorities.